Cross-culture management communication Essay Example

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Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory

Cultural interaction between different societies has numerously awarded an anthropologist and a social psychologist Geert Hofstede a Dutch. He has established cultural dimension theory that provides a well-designed framework on how to assess differences in cultures of different nations. It is based on the value that can be assessed from six cultural dimensions; power that is equality and inequality, collectivism and individualism, uncertainty tolerance and avoidance, femininity and masculinity, indulgence and restraint and temporal orientation.

Culture include the norms, beliefs, behavioral patterns and values of a group of people in a nation. He explains culture as a wholesome programming of individual minds of a group of people that differentiates it from the other. Cultural values of a group of people are the invisible aspects that influence cultural practices (Javidan, et al., 2006). They also influence choices made by a group of people pertaining a field of concern in a nation.

Theoretical reflection

The cultural dimensions theory by Hofstede is composed of cross-cultural exchange. It explains the impacts of cultures of a society on the values of the group of people involved and different effects of the values of the behavior of its members (Kirkman, Lowe and Gibson, 2006). Originally four dimensions analyzed culture; uncertainty avoidance, individualism and collectivism, power distance and femininity-masculinity with Hofstede adding orientation and self-restraint and indulgence as the fifth and the sixth dimensions respectively after research.

The cultural dimensions have proved to be useful in the management of diversity in organizations. Hofstede has come up with research traditions that have highly aided research in areas related to communication and international business. His theory is widely used as an example for research in fields like international management, cross-cultural psychology and communication too. The theory has also influenced the study of values and other cultural aspects like social beliefs (Ronen and Shenkar, 2013). From his research cultural difference fuels conflict among the parties involved. People are all the same despite evidence that all groups of individuals in a nation are different from one another. In an attempt to rationalize all values, norms, and beliefs of other nation’s misinterpretations and misunderstandings may arise.

The cross-cultural management in organizations has been made easy because of the understanding of the cultural dimensions. However cultural differences and diversity tend to grow larger caused by information technologies available. Once cultural differences among a group of people are settled conflicts among different cultures will be solved. Hofstede has tried to come up with ways to understand other and what is expected and how to conduct oneself in a group of people to settle cultural differences. The strength of the theory can include helping in understanding values and culture constructs entirely the culture of a group of people. He acknowledged that those tools of settling cultural differences are meant to be put into action practically (Kirkman, Lowe and Gibson, 2006). Understanding country’s culture it takes comprehending values, norms, and beliefs from the group level to national level. Cultural dimension helps in differentiating countries. However, the theory has some weaknesses that include failing to describe individual personalities of people in a country, unlike group level dimension.

Practical reflection

Hofstede identified six cultural dimensions that enable comprehend the social life of a human being and his interaction in business fields. These six dimensions include indulgence versus restraint, pragmatic versus normative, uncertainty avoidance index, masculinity versus femininity, individualism versus collectivism and power distance index. The understanding of the six cultural dimensions can help in understanding the practical application of the Hofstede’s cultural theory. Practical reflection of the theory is based on the aspects that bring people together to enhance interaction. In business field to advocate cultural sensitivity people work effectively, interact with others and putting some aspects from different countries that will help participate in transactions effectively;

International communication: Passing and understanding information is a primary concern in business. People who interact and work daily with different internationals in different companies or all working places their cultures are highly influenced. This model helps create an insight to understand other people’s cultures (Earley, 2006). What people in a country prefers may be effective in another country hence through communication these aspects are understood. Cultural dimensions; etiquette and verbal and nonverbal language have highly affected all levels of communication.

International negotiation: Style of communication, goals, issue ranking and expectations of parties involved in negotiation changes origin of negotiators as far as countries are concerned. Ability to understand cultural dimension of individuals helps do away with frustrations and conflicts that may arise and increase successful negotiations. A Cultural sign that brings a negotiation at an agreement is involved depending on a country (Ronen and Shenkar, 2013). Negotiations are meant to bring different ideas and ensure understanding of the parties involved.

International management: Decisions made in international forums aimed at good management are based on every country’s norms, customs, and values. In international working areas leaders may create a forum where cultural differences can be sensitized. Cultural dimensions give guidelines that help define acceptable cultural approaches in the management of organizations (Ronen and Shenkar, 1985). When this dimension is given a practical trial, it has aided in understanding employees different cultures which have finally helped to do away with conflicts brought by failure to understand cultural differences.

International Marketing: Defining national norms and values has been useful in marketing internationally. Fields of advertising strategy, consumer behavior and global branding of products has helped companies to understand preferences and local habits of their market (Minkov and Hofstede, 2011). Hofstede’s theory has helped in significant fields of marketing like web designing as a result of understanding different cultures.


According to Hofstede’s theory culture does not only apply or affect countries but also occupations, organizations, profession, gender, different age groups, different ethnic groups and religious groups (Minkov and Hofstede, 2011). The theory has explored how culture can influence a management of an organization, it’s highly vulnerable of influencing national culture. Values also affect all stakeholders involved in an organization; those led and their leaders. Hofstede explains how cultural relativity of all stakeholders involved in the management of organization makes operations more dynamic and interesting. The Hofstede’s cultural theory has explored how culture promotes willingness and ability to intercultural cooperation in organizations.


Earley, P. C. (2006). Leading cultural research in the future: A matter of paradigms and taste. Journal of International Business Studies37(6), 922-931.

Javidan, M., House, R. J., Dorfman, P. W., Hanges, P. J., & De Luque, M. S. (2006). Conceptualizing and measuring cultures and their consequences: a comparative review of GLOBE’s and Hofstede’s approaches. Journal of international business studies37(6), 897-914.

Kirkman, B. L., Lowe, K. B., & Gibson, C. B. (2006). A quarter century of culture’s consequences: A review of empirical research incorporating Hofstede’s cultural values framework. Journal of international business studies37(3), 285-320.

Minkov, M., & Hofstede, G. (2011). The evolution of Hofstede’s doctrine. Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal18(1), 10-20.

Ronen, S., & Shenkar, O. (1985). Clustering countries on attitudinal dimensions: A review and synthesis. Academy of management Review, 435-454.

Ronen, S., & Shenkar, O. (2013). Mapping world cultures: Cluster formation, sources and implications. Journal of International Business Studies44(9), 867-897.

Venaik, S., & Brewer, P. (2008, June). Contradictions in national culture: Hofstede vs GLOBE. In Academy of International Business 2008 Annual Meeting, Milan, Italy (Vol. 30).