Cultural Dimensions 

Lesson 2: Topic 4 of 19

Geert Hofstede, a Dutch social psychologist working at IBM in the 1960s, recognized some important cultural factors that could create confusion. His 1984 book, Culture’s Consequences revolutionized cross-cultural research by identifying key “cultural dimensions” that indicate cultural differences in both thinking and practice. While national in scope, and so not focussed on true ethnic groups, the research nonetheless brought on a sea change. Eventually Hofstede and his co-researchers identified six Cultural Dimensions to assist in understanding national cultures. While rigorous statistical study resulted in numbers being assigned to the Cultural Dimensions, the usefulness of Hofstede’s traits can only be seen when national cultures are compared to one another. That fact demonstrates both the genius and the limitation of his system of study. Many researchers have built on his work.

These Cultural Attributes don’t create an “either-or” scenario. Instead, think of cultures as existing on a continuum. It may help to imagine a grade school number line, with countries stationed along the way between the stated attributes, as you read through the descriptions that follow. 

lukas on Pexels lpc lmft lnha lnfa md do rn lvn lpc lcp lmft nfa nha ceu ceu lpc lmft culture

“Culture is a way of coping with the world by defining it in detail.” 

Author Malcolm Bradbury