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What are the differences between national and organisational culture?

National cultures are distinguished from organisational cultures.

(Hofstede, 1994, p. 1)

Let’s look in detail at the dimensions of national and organisational culture to understand the differences.

As we have discussed in previous steps, Hofstede developed different dimensions of national culture: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term versus short-term orientation. His study (1994) categorised the dimensions of organisational culture as:

  • Process-oriented versus results-oriented cultures
  • Job-oriented versus employee-oriented cultures
  • Professional versus parochial cultures
  • Open system versus closed system cultures
  • Tightly versus loosely controlled cultures
  • Pragmatic versus normative cultures

Can you figure out the differences between national and organisational cultures?

In his fundamental studies, Hofstede claimed that national cultures are different at the level of ‘basic values’, while organisational cultures are different at the level of the most superficial practices: symbols, heroes and rituals.

Your task

In your opinion, what are the differences between these two levels of culture? Share your thoughts with your fellow learners in the comments area.


References

Hofstede, G. (1994). The business of international business is culture. International Business Review, 3(1), 1–14. https://doi.org/10.1016/0969-5931(94)90011-6

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This article is from the free online course:

Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures

Coventry University