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.
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
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).