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Cultures and Organizations: Software for the Mind [Paperback]

Geert Hofstede , Gert Jan Hofstede
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Oct 2004
The revolutionary study of how the place where we grew up constrains the way we think, feel, and act, updated for today's new realities. The world is a more dangerously divided place today than it was at the end of the Cold War. This despite the spread of free trade and the advent of digital technologies that afford a degree of global connectivity undreamed of by science fiction writers fifty years ago. What is it that continues to drive people apart when cooperation is so clearly in everyone's interest? Are we as a species doomed to perpetual misunderstanding and conflict? Find out in "Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind". A veritable atlas of cultural values, it is based on cross-cultural research conducted in seventy countries for more than thirty years. At the same time, it describes a revolutionary theory of cultural relativism and its applications in a range of professions. Fully updated and rewritten for the twenty-first century, this edition: reveals the unexamined rules by which people in different cultures think, feel, and act in business, family, schools, and political organizations; explores how national cultures differ in the key areas of inequality, collectivism versus individualism, assertiveness versus modesty, tolerance for ambiguity, and deferment of gratification; explains how organizational cultures differ from national cultures, and how they can sometimes be managed; explains culture shock, ethnocentrism, stereotyping, differences in language and humor, and other aspects of intercultural dynamics; provides powerful insights for business people, civil servants, physicians, mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals, and others. Geert Hofstede, PhD, is professor emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Gert Jan Hofstede, PhD, is a professor of Information Systems at Wageningen University and the son of Geert Hofstede.


Product details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional; 2 edition (1 Oct 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071439595
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071439596
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.3 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 504,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'An understanding of other cultures is essential if we are to develop a more stable world and at the same time create national wealth.'Brian Burrows, Futures Information Associates --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

The revolutionary study of how the place where we grew up constrains the way we think, feel, and act, updated for today's new realities

The world is a more dangerously divided place today than it was at the end of the Cold War. This despite the spread of free trade and the advent of digital technologies that afford a degree of global connectivity undreamed of by science fiction writers fifty years ago. What is it that continues to drive people apart when cooperation is so clearly in everyone's interest? Are we as a species doomed to perpetual misunderstanding and conflict? Find out in Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind.

A veritable atlas of cultural values, it is based on cross-cultural research conducted in seventy countries for more than thirty years. At the same time, it describes a revolutionary theory of cultural relativism and its applications in a range of professions. Fully updated and rewritten for the twenty-first century, this edition:

  • Reveals the unexamined rules by which people in different cultures think, feel, and act in business, family, schools, and political organizations
  • Explores how national cultures differ in the key areas of inequality, collectivism versus individualism, assertiveness versus modesty, tolerance for ambiguity, and deferment of gratification
  • Explains how organizational cultures differ from national cultures, and how they can--sometimes--be managed
  • Explains culture shock, ethnocentrism, stereotyping, differences in language and humor, and other aspects of intercultural dynamics
  • Provides powerful insights for businesspeople, civil servants, physicians, mental health professionals, law enforcement professionals, and others

Geert Hofstede, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. Gert Jan Hofstede, Ph.D., is a professor of Information Systems at Wageningen University and the son of Geert Hofstede.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 20 Dec 2005
Format:Paperback
Hofstede is, of course, the pioneer of culture studies in business and organizations. This book is a simpler and more accessible version of the more comprehensive - but also more difficult, 'Culture's Consequences'.
He begins with an excellent overview of culture and its levels and explains the concept of cultural `dimensions' - aspects of culture that can differentiate and measure differences among different cultural groups. The book then proceeds to present the four dimensions of culture that he identified as a result of a massive survey he conducted on IBM employees in 72 countries in 1968 and again in 1972. Additional data was later collected from other countries and populations, outside IBM, and used to verify and enhance the original results.
However, in this book, Hofstede discusses his four original dimensions of culture: Power Distance; Uncertainty Avoidance; Individualism & Collectivism; and finally Masculinity & Femininity. The fifth dimension which was later added based on results from the Far East and Asia - Long- versus Short-Term Orientation - is not discussed in this book. Despite that, it remains a very valuable and highly readable introduction to the topic from the man who pioneered the field and popularized it among business people, multinationals and business researchers alike.
Hofstede also uses these dimensions of culture to 'classify' organizations to different types according to where they fall on the Power Distance vs. Uncertainty Avoidance grid. The discussion is highly informative and touches on Mintzberg's theories as well typical models of organization in different cultures. In Part Four, he discusses how intercultural encounters are affected by these dimensions and how awareness and acceptance of these differences can yield more effective results.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unrepresentative and generalised views 5 Jan 2012
By Joolz
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was mandatory reading for a degree I was doing. It is very interesting and proposes many views on cultural norms, which somehow feel intuitively correct. Unfortunately, there is very limited scientific basis to the observations made by Hofstede.

The surveys underpinning his views were of the middle managers of one blue-chip company. In many cases the numbers were so low that it compared unfavourably even to those hair product adverts (83% or 160 people said they prefer our hair product). In any of the countries mentioned, how can Hofstede say that he can form a view of the whole cultural situation based on a handful of IBM middle managers? Add to this the corporate culture, and the fact that the vast majority of people in any one nation do not actually work for that company and you have to question the validity of the findings.

When I repeated some of these assumptions made by Hofstede to some of my colleagues from other parts of the world, they were very surprised, and all of them (yes, all of them) disagreed with the generalisations of themselves, and how they perceived others.

I suggest to google some critical assessments of Hofstede so you rank this book where it really belongs. IMHO this book and Hofstede do a good job of marketing some misguided views on cultural difference. For those scientists that previously supported Hofstede's work are unlikely to publicly change their view, which creates a problem for later readers.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great source of information 13 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback
Hofstede's works stands as one of the most interesting ones I've come across in years.
For the first time in a very long time, cultural legacies, behaviours and beliefs are taken into due account in order to explain the difficulties and problems some important firms and multinational, as well as individuals, may face when dealing with people belonging to different systems and cultures.
The equivalence between culture and software of the mind clearly explains why people "function" in a different way, and how the balance between different "operative systems" is always a delicate matter.
Backed by very important researchers and reports, the Hoftstedes brilliantly describe the difficulties when entering such pathway and offer a brilliant guide, as well as hints, tips and examples to concentrate our attention on.
A must read for managers, counselors, coaches and those who either work or want to facilitate international business and deals.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First step in culture studies 12 July 2010
By S.H.M
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is definitely the first step towards culture studies. It gives a detailed overview of Hoffstede's differences with good examples. The last section says more about Organizational cultures.
There are many other authors for culture studies but according to me this is the first step.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars useful book 6 Feb 2009
By Tia B.
Format:Paperback
I found this book very useful and it helped my understanding in managing change in organisations. i'm definitely pleased with it..goes to show that where two or more Hoftstedes gather together to write, culture is understood!
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