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Geert Hofstede cultural dimensions Geert Hofstedes Cultural Dimensions National cultures can be described according to the analysis

of Geert Hofstede. These ideas were first based on a large research project into national culture differences across subsidiaries of a multinational corporation (IBM) in 64 countries. Subsequent studies by others covered students in 23 countries, elites in 19 countries, commercial airline pilots in 23 countries, up-market consumers in 15 countries, and civil service managers in 14 countries. Together these studies identified and validated four independent dimensions of national culture differences, with a fifth dimension added later. If you follow the links below you will find a map of the world for each cultural dimension, which enables you to quickly see how similar or different countries or regions are. Power Distance Individualism Masculinity Uncertainty Avoidance Long-Term Orientation The drawbacks of applying the Hofstede Model The Hofstede Model of Cultural Dimensions can be of great use when it comes to analyzing a countrys culture. There are however a few things one has to keep in mind. Firstly, the averages of a country do not relate to individuals of that country. Even though this model has proven to be quite often correct when applied to the general population, one must be aware that not all individuals or even regions with subcultures fit into the mould. It is to be used as a guide to understanding the difference in culture between countries, not as law set in stone. As always, there are exceptions to the rule. Secondly, how accurate is the data? The data has been collected through questionniares, which have their own limitations. Not only that, but in some cultures the context of the question asked is as important as its content. Especially in group-oriented cultures, individuals might tend to answer questions as if they were addressed to the group he/she belongs to. While on the other hand in the United States, which is an individualistic culture, the answers will most likely be answered and perceived through the eyes of that individual. Lastly, is the data up to date? How much does the culture of a country change over time, either by internal or external influences?

Applications of National Culture Some examples of cases where the Hofstede Model on national culture can be applied. Leadership Culture can provide us with many answers on how and why people behave differently around the globe. One explanation it surely provides is that people have very different views on "What is a good boss", or onhow teams should be led. A major challenge in developing intercultural management competence is the fact that there is no "one way" to lead. This is especially relevant as all "new" and growing markets have something in common, they can be characterized as hierarchical cultures. Many companies need to face the fact that the leadership styles/guidelines they have been practicing might not be suitable for these cultures. Change management The preparation and implementation of change is highly culturally sensitive. Even the simplest theories and models for change are often used in an incorrect way, thus ignoring behavioral issues such as resistance. Customer services Many companies fail to gain maximum value from the consolidation of customer service. High costs often offset the envisioned cost-savings and culture continues to constitute one of the most important reasons for failure when establishing customer service centers across geographical borders, both due to managing cultural differences, but also due to differences in customer cultures.

Marketing because all aspects of consumer behavior are culture-bound there is an increased need to identify and understand this integration and its impact on global marketing and advertising. Prof. Hofstede's work can be used to explain the differences in consumer behavior across countries and can be a guide to increase efficiency in global marketing.

Outsourcing Outsourcing is a very important strategic issue for most of the world's leading companies at this moment in time. But outsourcing is much more complex than just taking advantage of low wages in some emerging countries. Companies should not rush blindly into outsourcing, but need to

plan it carefully. Managers are concerned with the coordination of resources (material, financial, and human) for the effective and efficient achievement of business objectives. However, what may be an effective and efficient way of coordination in one country may prove to be ineffective, inefficient, or even counter-productive in another.

Recruitment For international organizations, recruiting the right people is of paramount importance. Coping in the complex international environment requires organizations to employ the people with the competences they need. HR and recruitment departments, therefore, develop profiles containing these desired competences. Such profiles usually contain a listing of skills and character traits. Interestingly, however, organizations rarely consider the fact that the degree to which skills and traits are desirable differs from one country to another. The impact of management skills is culture-specific. Management techniques or leadership styles that work in one national culture do not necessarily work elsewhere.

Virtual Teams Working virtually is increasingly the norm whatever sector you work in. National culture has a big impact on this because often a virtual team is also a cross cultural team. Cultural diversity ay manifest itself as differences in preference for and satisfaction with tasks, technology, outcomes, leadership style, decision making process, relative contributions and communication practices of team members.