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Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

by Geert Hofstede

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A detailed and fascinating review of Hofstede's dimensions, by the researcher himself, showing broad high-level insights into history and culture, although a bit tedious, as it often describes in detail relationships many of us implicitly understand. ( )
  James.Igoe | Jul 26, 2017 |
The author declares their political and worldview positions early in their book. There are loads of well-accomplished research and analysis presentations. The conclusions are where the book suffers, as the conclusions often do not match the analysis. ( )
  shdawson | Jan 4, 2016 |
"Cultures and Organizations" is a thoroughly worthwhile non-political and non-theoretical sociology text. The authors keep an open mind and allow social typologies to emerge statistically from international social surveys, such as the IBM survey of international employees, the World Values Survey and the Chinese Values Survey.

They had to find words and phrases that best described the "poles" that they found and usefully selected 1) power distance 2) masculinity 3) individualism 4) uncertainty avoidance 5) long term orientation and 6) indulgence. Each term deals with its opposite and can be mapped on a chart showing for instance a low power distance between managers and employees in Scandinavia (they're all together working on a project) or a high power distance in France (they are part of a table of ranks, giving and receiving orders).

The conclusions are very interesting, showing for example the historical tendency for individualism to grow in wealthy societies (a prediction for Asia?) and the clear link between long term orientation and economic development (most visible in the Chinese Value Survey).

The authors admit to having a harder job explaining the origins of cultural differences. In the last chapter they search for origins in the early history of mankind, particularly the appearance of high power distances in the first populous settled agricultural societies.

In the modern context, they see the dangers of a global marketplace that lacks a global village. They argue that it is essential to abandon tribalism and racism in favour a global village "all together in one world" and that this would be the next triumphant step in human cultural evolution. The new evolutionary path would benefit everyone in the long run and importantly protect the natural world. ( )
  Miro | Nov 28, 2010 |
Mandatory reading for global citizens

I learned about Mr. Hofstede's theories while working for a Dutch bank that had been recently "merged" with (i.e. taken over by) a Belgian colleague. Many of us joined an evening course in dealing with cross cultural contacts, with the trainer cheerfully proclaiming that mergers between Dutch and Belgian companies had never worked. Within a decade it turned out that this takeover had been no exception.

His course was based upon the work of Geert Hofstede, who spent many years working for IBM, researching the differences in values of people with the same job working for the same company in different countries. Mr. Hofstede related this to psychological research, and identified five parameters of human values that differ from culture to culture. You can find these values at Mr. Hofstede's website (http://www.geert-hofstede.com), but it is much better to read this book, where he also discusses combinations of these values and their consequences (albeit with examples that are sometimes a bit dated).

Having worked on various continents it helped me to understand what I saw happening around me. And more interestingly, when put under pressure by a foreign manager of dubious quality, I too defended myself with the typical values of my home culture.

Reading Mr. Hofstede is better than listening to expat pub chatter. ( )
1 vote mercure | Jan 20, 2010 |
This book attempts to understand how people from different cultures think and, therefore, act. While the book has some interesting points, to me it seems more like a tool for people to use to stereotype other countries rather than the tool to help cross-cultural encounters that the authors intend this to be. ( )
  sweetiegherkin | Sep 19, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0071439595, Paperback)

The landmark study of cultural differences across 70 nations, Cultures and Organizations helps readers look at how they think—and how they fail to think—as members of groups. Based on decades of painstaking field research, this new edition features the latest scientific results published in Geert Hofstede’s scholarly work Culture’s Consequences, Second Edition. Original in thought and profoundly important, Cultures and Organizations offers vital knowledge and insight on issues that will shape the future of cultures and nations in a globalized world.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

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"The world is a more dangerously divided place today than it was at the end of the Cold War. This despite the spread of free trade and the advent of digital technologies that afford a degree of global connectivity undreamed of by science fiction writers fifty years ago. What is it that continues to drive people apart when cooperation is so clearly in everyone's interest? Are we as a species doomed to perpetual misunderstanding and conflict? Find out in Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind." "A veritable atlas of cultural values, it is based on cross-cultural research conducted in seventy countries for more than thirty years. At the same time, it describes a revolutionary theory of cultural relativism and its applications in a range of professions. Fully updated and rewritten for the twenty-first century."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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