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Product details

  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc; Second Edition edition (25 Mar. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803973241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803973244
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 17.1 x 24.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 344,592 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"An important, sophisticated and complex monograph. . . . Both the theoretical analysis and the empirical findings constitute major contributions to cross-cultural value analysis and the cross-cultural study of work motivations and organizational dynamics. This book is also a valuable resource for anyone interested in a historical or anthropological approach to cross-cultural comparisons." 


About the Author

Geert Hofstede received a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Technical University at Delft and a doctorate in Social Psychology from the University of Groningen, both in his native Netherlands. His professional career includes experience as a worker, foreman, plant manager, chief psychologist on the international staff of a multinational corporation, academic researcher, director of human resources of another multinational, and university professor. He has been affiliated with IMD (Lausanne, Switzerland), INSEAD (Fontainebleau, France), the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management (Brussels, Belguim), IIASA (Laxenburg Castle, Austria), and the University of Hong Kong. He is Professor Emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management of Maastricht University, the Netherlands. He is currently a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation (of which he was a founder) and of the Center for Economic Research, both at Tilburg University, the Netherlands. He has lectured at universities and consulted for institutions and companies around the world. Dr. Hofstede’s books have appeared in seventeen languages, and his articles have been published in social science journals around the world. He is among the top 100 most cited authors in the Social Science Citation Index.


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This introductory chapter deals with the definition and measurement of mental programs in people in general, and values and culture in particular. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "gd@paris-institute.com" on 15 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
I used the book as a textbook on change management for undergraduate (junior) management students. The book provides a thorough, complete practical and readable source of information that is practical for both students as well as managers.
This book is potentially amongst the most important reads for the 'dislocated' International families; we often refer to as Expatriates. It is, however, equally important to International HR managers, teams and possibly even to, for instance, exchange students and other open minded individuals.
The book covers one of the best longitudinal, global research studies that have ever been conducted. This brilliant and most valuable extensive research is presented in such a way that is that it resembles a 600 page manual, or even worse; a resemblance of a phone book.
I have, however, both as a professor, as well as a coach or consultant directed people towards research finding, and observation, of issues they were struggling with. Reading the findings and observations of large groups of people in similar situations has often times brought enormous understanding and resolve. I have had client's tell me that they learned a more valuable lesson concerning their expatriate situation from reading a few pages than they learned from their multiple management training courses.
That is way I still rate the book with a 5 start review.
Drs. Govert Doedijns MSc. Adjunct Professor in the Behavioural and Social Sciences and Senior Partner and M.D. of The Paris Institute
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By mckmid on 9 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am reading Hofstede's Culture's Consequences (2001) 2nd edition as part of my literary review for my Masters dissertation.
The book is a rewrite of the ground-breaking 1980 first edition and includes data from many additional sources and countries. It is a heavyweight volume and I strongly suggest that you tackle it in sections and summarise or categorise after each one. The general theme of the book rests on the vast volume of data assembled from its original IBM study but now includes data from over 50 countries. Whilst the data collection is impressive, there are errors of omission in reporting his statistical methods in detail and how much evidence is garnered through statistics and how much through pure induction is unclear. Its sheer scale means it remains a paradigm but cross-cultural studies in the late 1990s and noughties (2000s) have overtaken it in scale and statistical approach. The first edition (1980) received accolades and heavy criticism and unfortunately this edition seems to be written as a rebuff against that criticism. There is little new in terms of research although Hofstede does lead the way out of academia into application with the addition of three chapters aimed at supporting further research and use of cultural dimensions. For a book of this length, I would have preferred to see far more detail on the choice of method versus the data but there is almost an embarrassed hiatus as we move from data collection to the dimensions themselves. This book is a must-read for anyone even remotely connected with cross-cultural study but do not accept it at face value.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Faisal A. Al Kadi on 11 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback
Decades' work and fine-tuning of a true classic in social sciences are invested here. Hofstede's book is a must read for any of you concerned about the antecedents and consequences of culture on almost all facets of life. One of the most celebrated and cited books in all time. Just one warning; it is a heavily academic book with all the academia jargon and reasoning. If you are looking for a joyful read, go for his other book "The Programming of the Mind" (not very sure about the title).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Very valueable, if taken as Hofstede has meant it 11 May 2005
By R. Beise-Zee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although many comments have already been accumulated let me add something, since some of the reviews tend to get out of focus. Hofstede never claimed to have studied cultures in general, he studied effects of culture on work-related values. For this topic his work is still the standard. The starting point is like this: a large company like IBM tries to establish a strong corporate identity shared among all of its worldwide employees ("We are IBM" kind of thing). However, if you ask them a couple of questions about their work-related values, they answer differently. Turns out, the differences can be explained to some degree by the employee's country-of-origin, that is his or her culture. Hofstede then goes on and tries to find dimensions in order to describe the differences between cultures, - and it has to be said again and again - dimensions for "work-related values" and not for culture in general! This observation was and is tremendously important for multinational companies. It means that we are still influenced even when we work at a multinational firm by our cultural traditions and that this cannot easily be exchanged by the company's culture. Of course if you are more interested in other aspects of culture, than Hofstede's books might not the prime choice for you to study.
Hofstede's work is scientifically sound. The choice of IBM as a case is reasonable given his prime motivation. Sample sizes are impressive for all who have tried similar studies (besides, representativity is not a function of sample size but given by the radomness of the sample draw. Sample size has an effect on standard error but this can be taken into account with a test of significance). Quackery is how other people have used Hofstede's data in contexts other than work-related.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
An essential reference. . . . 19 Jun. 2002
By Vieuxblue - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publication of the original edition of Hofstede's Culture's Consequences was, within the field of cross-cultural research, comparable to the work of Darwin in evolutionary theory. Now, with a second edition, practitioners and theorists alike have a rich quarry to mine for many years to come.
The second addition notably adds references to a number of corroborating studies that have been collected over the more or less twenty years since the first edition. As an example, Appendix 6 contains references to well over 50 statistically linked research papers from other authors. The result is the collection in a single volume of a growing body of literature in the field, work that continues to define a kind of mental geography of culture.
When I first come upon Hofstede's research in the 1980's I was immediately taken with the extraordinary relationship between his mental geographies (charted by developing ratios between his four, now five, dimensions) and the physical proximity of real countries. In other words, the countries in his dimensions tended to cluster in similar ways to how countries cluster geographically. Of course there are counter-intuitive examples (e.g., Germany), but in many of those cases, the data helps break cultural stereotypes widely held about those countries.
Hofstede's original research focused on over 115,000 questionnaires provided to the worldwide employees of IBM. The premise behind using one company worldwide is that because the company is held constant, the data that can be examined for differences that can be attributed to country cultures. If IBM employees had been compared to, for example, government workers in different countries, organizational culture would have been implicated.
More recent studies (for example Michael Hoppe's dissertation work) tend to revalidate the country positions on the dimensions, showing only slow shifts in the data over time.
Over the years that I have used Hofstede's research in my practice, I have found it to be a touchstone by which people of all backgrounds can understand how culture influences business and other fields. I know that many, many other practitioners rely on his research approach as well.
The book is a compendium of much of the substantive cross-cultural research of the past half-century; it is an essential reference for students, teachers, researchers, and practitioners alike.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Excellent for academic inquiry, not for bedside reading 3 May 2004
By M. Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In reference to the previous reviews, there is considerable critique of Hofstede's work throughout the academic community and Amazon.com is not the ideal place to get a feel for the value of this book. Also, the survey was not given in English around the world; it was translated into the appropriate languages and retranslated back into English just to ensure that the translation from English was accurate. However, this does not mean that other problems with the survey do not exist.
If you are seeking an understanding of what is currently known about culture and how to compare cultures, this book is essential. I don't mean that I think it is good. I mean that no reputable research on cultural values will fail to include Hofstede's work because it has been so influential, even for those who despise it. Those who agree use this to reinforce their perspectives. Those who disagree use this to frame counter-argument. It is essential.
It should be understood that this is academic literature. Only those committed to understanding the deep and complex issues associated with differences among cultures should even attempt to read thus. It is more like a reference book. I have only read probably half of it, myself. However, I learned more in that half than I have in many whole books.
For experienced readers and thinkers only.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Culture traits in broad strokes 25 Nov. 2008
By James Moore - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I grew up speaking a minority language of a rural culture in the Netherlands. In my teenage years I became part of the hippie counterculture. Later I met my Malaysian wife (with an Iban-Tamil-Chinese cultural mix) in England, where we lived for a while. We lived or spent considerable time in a number of other countries, including the US and (mostly) Canada. In Canada we worked with First Nations people and lived for a while in a small fly-in community in the subarctic north. We studied the culture and wrote papers on aspects of the culture (qualitative research). (Perfect it was not, but it was immensely helpful.) We speak or studied a combined total of 15 languages. This is all to say, I do not have a simplistic view of culture -- I am fully aware how quickly cultural norms can change (as it did in the sixties and seventies in the West).
At every level--whether at clan level within a small Native group such as the one we worked with in Canada, whether it is at a village level in the rural setting I grew up, whether it is at urban level, whether it is at regional or provincial level, whether it is at ethnic or subcultural level, or whether it is at national or other macro-geographic regional level--we can generalize certain culture traits. This is not an exact science, but helpful nevertheless. Hofstede's research infers such generalities through the aggregate of responses from individuals (quantitative research) who all work in the same multinational company. It is just a way to analyze a glimpse of reality. (Perfect it is not, but it is immensely helpful.)
I read Hofstede's material after I had read Brendan McSweeney's full rejection of Hofstede's research, methodology and conclusion. McSweeney's article, which appeared in Human Relations Vol. 55(1), goes well beyond constructive academic critique, but I bought into his reasoning and consequently was thoroughly prejudiced against Hofstede's approach... until I actually started to read his material and discovered that McSweeney, though scoring some points, made Hofstede into a caricature. It is easy to shoot heavy artillery at hugely inflated monsters -- monsters McSweeney unjustifiably pumped up out of Hofstede's material. Did he hit the target? Absolutely. How can one miss inflated distortions? As for me, I find Hofstede's approach helpful as giving another view of the hugely complex reality of people and their behavior.
Does Hofstede's approach give a complete picture? No, nor does it claim to be--it gives culture traits in broad strokes, and that within a context of work. The massive project of House, Hanges, Javidan, Dorfman, and Gupta (2004) with the involvement of numerous peers builds and improves on Hofstede in Culture, Leadership, and Organizations: The GLOBE Study of 62 Societies. At the very least one can say that Hofstede's research has been broadly accepted and validated by peers. True, this does not make a theory and methodology infallible, but at the very least one has to give it considerable more respect than Nemesis can muster.
28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
A Nemisis of Knowledge 30 Sept. 2004
By Dr. R. Littrell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Hofstede's book is essential reading for anyone interested in cross-cultural studies. The reviewer, Nemesis (Washington D.C.), demonstrates a rather appalling lack of knowledge of the current state of cross-cultural research. The original studies of Geert Hofstede were in fact carried out in English within the IBM Corporation, as Hofstede was an IBM employee at the time. However, since then a considerable number of studies have been completed, with the survey administered in English and in local languages, demonstrating the usefulness and consistency of Hofstede's cultural value constructs. Most responsible cross-cultural research today that uses surveys is carried out with data collection in local languages. The reader is referred, for example, to the extensive body of work on values across cultures based upon the Shalom Schwartz value survey. You can look it up.

In the social sciences, of which business is one, a theory is a model or framework for understanding phenomena. The term generally is taken to mean a framework derived from a set of basic principles capable of producing experimental predictions for a given category in a system. Humans construct theories in order to explain, predict and master phenomena (e.g. inanimate things, events, or the behaviour of animals). In many instances, it is seen to be a model of reality. A theory makes generalizations about observations and consists of an interrelated, coherent set of ideas. A theory has to be something that is in some way testable; for example, one can theorize that businesses progress from local to international markets by always implementing a certain set of processes in a fixed order. Then the process of internationalization of businesses is studied, and the theory is confirmed or revised in a continuous feedback system.

According to Stephen Hawking, a physicist, in A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIME, "a theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model that contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations." He goes on to state..."Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory." This also applies to business theories, including Hofstede's, from which one can make definite predictions that have been verified. Theories are not facts, but tools.
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