Cultural Differences in Times of Globalization. An Overview of Hofstede's Theory and Two New Theories

Term Paper, 2016

22 Pages


Table of content

Table of Illustration

1. Abstract

2. Introduction

3. Theoretical Bases
3.1. Hofstede’s culture model
3.2. Trompenaars idea
3.3. Project Globe

4. Best Practice

5. Porter’s Diamond

6. Conclusion


Table of Illustration

Illustration 1: Hofstede's model of national culture

Illustration 2. Corporate Images

Illustration 3. Country Clusters According to Globe

Illustration 4. Societal clusters and leader styles

Illustration 5. Leadership Attributes

Illustration 6. The interaction ruler

Illustration 7. Porter's Diamond

1. Abstract

In this essay the importance of the cultural differences especially the national culture should be clarified because in times of globalization it’s unalterable to consider such different characteristics in the daily business. For the topic of national culture the culture model of Hofstede is still representative but this theory is meanwhile out of date and there exist newer models which give new insights in this specific topic. This paper gives an overview about the model of Hofstede and two newer theories with regard to a created thesis. The models exhibit several differences which enable to survey the topic national culture under a variety of aspects. The conclusion makes clear that other aspects should be also considered beside the cultural differences especially in business relationships.

2. Introduction

In the late 1960s and the early 1970s a Dutch social researcher named Geert Hofstede conducted about the influences of national culture in the workplace. Until this point of time his study was the most extensive one in this specific field of research. In the following decades additional surveys carried out and were more and more popular. They built on Hofstede’s culture model and modify it. For example the culture dimensions of Alfons Trompenaars or the globe study.

In the following essay Hofstede’s model should be examined with the help of prevailing research results, transpire comparisons and differences. This subject of national culture should be considered consistently with leadership.

Finally this essay serves the aim to confirm or refute the following central thesis:

“The culture of leadership is fundamentally influenced by the national culture of the executive and less of further aspects.

In chapter three the theoretical basics should be elaborated. At First the Hofstede model, next the additions of his competitor Alfons Trompenaars and finally the results of the globe study, which is running since the early 1990s. Chapter four contains best practice to use the consolidated research results of Hofstede at the workplace (Tetra Pak).

To concluding all recommodations for treatment will be given and finally the research results summarized.

3. Theoretical Bases

3.1. Hofstede’s culture model

Hofstede defined culture as a kind of mental programming of a human. In early childhood the feelings, paradigms and the actions build the mental software which is being influenced by the environment (family, wife, friends and so forth) and personal experiences (Baldauf, Lang, 2016).

Hofstede collected and analyzed survey data about 88,000 employees within the IBM Corporation. He needed two data assessments. The first one starts in 1967 and was been finished in 1970. The second survey needed two years from 1971 ‘til 1973. Hofstede called his model as a frame to evaluate cultures better and not as an allocation of individual characteristics to given culture (Geert Hofstede und die Kulturdimensionen-Theorie—Übersicht, 2016).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Illustration 1: Hofstede's model of national culture


He splitted up national culture into four (in later years five) dimensions. One is uncertainty avoidance (UAI) that expressed the degree to which the members of a society feel uncomfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity. So a society with a high UAI needs more strong rules and no ambiguity, meanwhile a society with low UAI is more flexible and tasks more risks (Hofstede, 2001, p. 145-146). In a cultural group with low UAI a leader should affect strong rules und clear guidelines to his subsidiaries to give them more safety and no ambiguity in declarations. In other case it less much rules are required.

One other aspect is power distance (PDI). It is the degree to which the less powerful members of society accept that power is distributed unequally. In Cultures with a high PDI it’s easier to gain acceptance and they are more centralized. In opposite to this a society with low PDI it’s difficult to gain acceptance, because the people don’t accept so much power-differences (Hofstede, 2001, p. 79-80).

Another dimension is individualism vs. collectivism (IDV). Basically this means a society is more characterized by a collective or individual. Symptoms of more individual is for example the employer delegate more responsibility his subsidiaries. A cultural group with low individualism is more group-oriented. As consequence a leader is more a coach who motivates the team to reach their goals and associate with the team (Hofstede, 2001, 209-210).

The next aspect deals with the issue to clarify that a Society is more masculine or feminine (short: MAS). That means in masculine culture the gender roles differ obviously whereas in feminine cultures the roles are nearly identical or they overlap (Hofstede, 2001, p. 279-280). Furthermore in masculine societies is more competition and men have to be more hard and material-orientated meanwhile women have to be more self-deprecating, sensible and give more attention to quality of life (Hofstede et. al., 2011, p. 156). In more feminine cultures both genders shares the feminine attributes (self-deprecating, sensibility etc.). During his study Hofstede found out that some professions within the IBM corporation are more masculine or feminine. Typically masculine are the salesmen, there is much competition in the meantime managers are more feminine (they got jobs with welfare for their subsidiaries (Hofstede et. al., 2011, p.156). That’s an argument against the thesis. Maybe there’re also influences from the leader’s profession and the organization he or she work for.

In consequence to some critic from other researchers in the following years / decades he added to his model of national culture with a fifth and a sixth dimension. The fifth is called Short Term vs. Long Term Orientation. This dimension describes the time horizon of a society. A cultural group with this characteristic attaches importance to traditions and needs more time to build relationships. The opposite is a long-termed society, which sees time as a linear thing with goals and if they are reached, also with rewards (Geert Hofstede und die Kulturdimensionen-Theorie—Übersicht, 2016).

The sixth dimension is named Indulgence vs. Restraint (IND). It means a society is allowing free gratification of basic requirements and drives the people to have fun and enjoy their life. Restraint stands for a culture which is suppressed the gratification of needs and regulates it through the use of very strict laws or norms (Hofstede, 2016).

Regarding to the thesis it’s possible to see the model just as a basic and universal appreciation of culture, but not like an instrument to confirm or refute the thesis. It haven’t regard to leadership, instead of it’s too universal. Moreover there are some critical points. On the one hand Hofstede’s model is definitely out of date; there are several other prevailed surveys. On the other hand the model is a very unidirectional data collection, because it was just data of IBM-employees. But does that not distort the representativeness? To make matters worse the model needs homogenous groups of people, that’s not possible, because everyone has individual abilities and characteristics. Finally culture is hard to measure, especially with four or five aspects, because it is a qualitative characteristic and very complicated.

3.2. Trompenaars idea

In 1993 the Dutch-French organizational theorist Fons Trompenaars built on Hofstede`s culture model and expanded this theory. Trompenaars focused more on the management consequences of cultural differences. His research involved nearly 15,000 employees in 50 countries. (Rugman & Collinson, 2009, p. 138) The result of his study reveals in 7 dimensions of culture. The first dimension is called universalism versus particularism or which is to say rules versus relationships. In cultures with a high value of universalism the people place a high importance on laws, rules, values and obligations. In particularist cultures people pay more attention to the obligation of relationships and unique circumstances. (“The Seven dimensions of culture”, 2016)

The second dimension is called individualism versus communitarianism which deals with the question whether the people regard themselves as individuals or primarily as part of a group. In cultures which are focused on communitarianism the groups come always before the individual whereas individualists prefer topics like personal freedom and achievement. (Trompenaars, 2012, p. 11)

Another dimension is named neutral versus affective. This means how emotions are expressed during the normal business. For example in North America and northwest Europe are business relationships typically instrumental. These are only focused on achievement. With regard to this aim the people try to control their emotions because they don´t want to share their feelings with others. On the other hand people of affective cultures express their emotions e.g. loud laughter or banging their fist on the table. Such emotions are welcome in countries farther south, but also in many other countries. (Trompenaars, 2012, p. 11-12)

The fourth dimension of Trompenaars is specific versus diffuse. The point of interest in this dimension is the relationship between the people. In countries where a specific relationship is preferred, the relationships between the employees of a company just exist in the workplace. In such countries the people hold the opinion that they can work together without having a good relationship. The people from cultures who favor a diffuse relationship extend the social contacts to their colleagues also outside the company e.g. they help each other to paint the house at the weekend. (Rugman & Collinson, 2009, p. 138-139)


Excerpt out of 22 pages


Cultural Differences in Times of Globalization. An Overview of Hofstede's Theory and Two New Theories
University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
cultural, differences, times, globalization, overview, hofstede, theory, theories
Quote paper
Julian Kraft (Author), 2016, Cultural Differences in Times of Globalization. An Overview of Hofstede's Theory and Two New Theories, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Cultural Differences in Times of Globalization. An Overview of Hofstede's Theory and Two New Theories

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free