12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
Excellent, 20 Dec 2005
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.