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4.0 out of 5 stars Thorough but, being an empirical study, lacking in explanation (theory), 28 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, Third Edition (Paperback)
In the empirical tradition, this book describes dimensions elucidated through an empirical study - in this case the statistical analysis of items (from questionnaires or workshops, sorry I can't remember). The point being that the authors have used correlations of the degree of agreement between people of different nations to a set of statements, to "shake out" the dimensions they describe.

That is, they didn't start with theory, propose dimensions that they believe to exist, and then test those through the measurement of empirical data, they let the data throw out the dimensions. There's lots of Social Science research methodology literature that discusses this point (in general) in detail.

Back to this book, and to the dimensions: from my own cross-cultural experience (being a Brit living in France), showing a difference between our nations in the dimensions of Uncertainty Avoidance (colloquially "Fear of the Unknown") and Power Distance, gave my "Anglo-Saxon" mind some comfort that the frustrations I felt at the time were not all in my mind. The discussion around these points allow one to put those "lost" feelings into perspective.

I only stop short of giving the book 5 stars because for a book that's manifesto is to improve cultural understanding, I feel that more care should have been taken not to explain the dimensions from a northern-european (similar to "Anglo-Saxon" (how I detest that term!)) standpoint. For example, there's a statement that goes somewhere along the lines of saying that in certain cultures not losing time (in getting from A to B in a car, i.e. driving fast) is considered more important than human life. (Had the authors really evaluated the value of human life in the country in question?)

But certainly to be read by all those looking for answers when trying to put cross-cultural differences into perspective. This work is also a cornerstone to the cross-cultural literature used in multinational corporations.
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