Comparing Cultures: Dimensions of Culture in a Comparative Perspective

Comparing Cultures: Dimensions of Culture in a Comparative Perspective

Comparing Cultures: Dimensions of Culture in a Comparative Perspective

Comparing Cultures: Dimensions of Culture in a Comparative Perspective

Synopsis

Culture explains much of the behavioral and institutional differences around the globe. In social science there are many ways of framing cultural diversities. This book brings together authors with a classic status in the field of comparative cultural studies on one overarching theme: what are the relevant differences and similarities of contemporary cultural dimensions with which countries, organizations, and people can be compared? This book is the first publication available in which the cultural divisions of the world are compared and confronted. In the first part of the book classic authors reflect on each others key work and assess the main overlap and distinction. The book next provides insight in frontline academic work from a wide range of countries and social science disciplines dealing with the classic status cultural dimensions aimed at addressing contemporary key issues.

Excerpt

On April 27, 2001 an interesting conference took place at Tilburg University on the subject of recent developments in research on cross-cultural comparison of organizations and human behavior. Tilburg University is a pre-eminently suitable location for such a conference, being the domicile of IRIC, Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, as well as accommodating the “nerve center” of the European Value Study EVS, a large-scale, cross-national, and longitudinal survey research program on basic human values in Europe.

The immediate cause for the conference was a momentous event: the publication of the second, revised edition of Geert Hofstede's book “Culture's Consequences”. The first edition appeared in 1980 with the subtitle “international differences in work-related values”. The study was based on a survey among employees of a multinational corporation in 1968 and 1972, producing over 115.000 questionnaires. Hofstede processed and analyzed these data in a both scholarly and imaginative fashion, and published his findings and interpretations in a tome of almost 500 pages. His book became a classic and is one of the most cited sources in the entire Social Science Citation Index at present. The second edition carries the subtitle “comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations”, stressing the cross-disciplinary aspirations as well as the multi-level nature of his analyses. In the new edition the number of represented countries has raised from 40 to 50, a fifth dimension (long-term versus short- term orientation) has been added to the famous original four: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism-collectivism, and masculinity-femininity, and more recent literature since the first edition, including the many references and criticisms, has been incorporated as far as possible. The result is a second monument. Surely it will be widely read and quoted again. No future cross-cultural researcher or student will be able to get round this book. Geert Hofstede will continue to be the most frequently cited Dutch social scientist for quite some time.

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