The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede is an influential expert on the interactions between national culture s and organizational cultures, author of several books including Culture's Consequences (2nd, fully revised edition, 2001) and Software of the Mind.

Hofstede demostrated that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behaviour of organisations.

He has identified five dimensions of culture in his study of national influences including:

  • power distance - The degree to which a society expects there to be differences in the levels of power. A high score suggests that there is an expectation that some individuals wield larger amounts of power than others. Countries with high power distance rating are often characterised by a high rate of political violence. A low score reflects the view that all people should have equal rights. Latin American and Arab nations are rank the highest in this category, Scandinavian and German speaking countries the least.
  • individualism vs collectivism - individualism is contrasted with collectivism, and refers to the extent to which people are expected to stand up for themselves, or alternatively act predominantly as a member of the group or organisation. Latin American cultures rank the lowest in this category, while U.S.A. is the most individualistic culture.
  • masculinity vs femininity - refers to the value placed on traditionally male or famale values. Male values for example include competitiveness, assertiveness, ambition, and the accumulation of wealth and material possessions. In a masculine culture, most persons believe that only men should worry about lucrative careers and that women shouldn't have to work hard or study if they don't want to. In a feminine culture, there are more instances of women in traditionally male careers (i.e. engineering) than in a masculine culture. Japan is considered by Hofstede to be the most "masculine" culture, Sweden the most "feminine." The U.S. and U.K. are moderately masculine.
  • uncertainty avoidance - reflects the extent to which a society accepts uncertainty and risk. Said plainly, cultures that rank high in uncertainty avoidance dislike taking risks in business. Ironically, high uncertainty avoidance cultures appear to be more accident prone. Mediterranean cultures and Japan rank the highest in this category.
  • long vs short term orientation

See also

External links

  • His homepage:
  • Information on cultural dimensions:

Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55