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Hofstede’s national culture dimension

An introduction to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
The business of international business is culture.
(Hofstede, 1994)
Hofstede was one of the first researchers to analyse the influences of national culture on management practices. His empirical study (1984) explored the impact of national culture on a large multinational company (IBM) and included research of 66 national subsidiaries and the completion of 116,000 questionnaires.
In his early studies, Hofstede proposed four aspects of national culture that frame our thinking about organisations:
  • Power distance (large versus small): the extent to which the less powerful members in organisations accept and expect that power can be distributed equally.
  • Uncertainty avoidance (strong versus weak): the extent to which members in organisations feel stressed when facing uncertainty in the future.
  • Individualism versus collectivism: the degree of integration of individuals into groups.
  • Masculinity versus femininity: the distributions of emotional roles between women and men.
Later, in 2001, Hofstede added a fifth dimension, based on what he found when examining the Chinese Values Survey (CVS) that contained a Confucian dynamism scale:
  • Long-term versus short-term orientation: the choice of current focuses; the future or the present and past.
In their most recent study, after they examined differences between national and cultural values, Hofstede et al. (2010) added a sixth independent dimension:
  • Indulgence versus restraint: the extent of gratification of human desire for enjoying life.

Your task

Consider these six dimensions. Are there any that you think are missing and could be added to the list?
Share your ideas with your fellow learners.

Further information

In 2015, Hofstede recorded a series of 10-minute videos with accompanying PowerPoint slides that you may find interesting:
Hofstede, G. (2015). 10 Minutes with Geert Hofstede.


Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values (vol. 5). Sage.
Hofstede, G. (1994). The business of international business is culture. International Business Review, 3(1), 1-14.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Sage.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind: Intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill.
© Coventry University. CC BY-NC 4.0
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Business Management: National and Organisational Cultures

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