Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 40 reviews(5 star)show all reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2010
The third edition of Cultures and Organizations manages to significantly improve a great book. As a professor I have become deeply cynical of new editions -- I see shameless textbook producers make trivial changes every 18 months to kill off competition from used books. Fortunately this is not a text and the changes are real improvements from the previous edition.

If you are interested in globalization or comparative cultures you will want to buy and read this book even if you have already devoured the second edition. The most obvious changes: the expanded chapter (2) on studying cultural differences, the new proposed cultural dimension of indulgence (8), and the new chapter on evolution of cultures (12) are more than worth the time and effort of acquiring the new book.

This new edition resolves a dilemma for me: I was always torn between recommending Cultures and Consequences or Cultures and Organizations as an intro to Hofstede's ideas for someone who wanted a deep understanding of the research. I would now recommend that everyone, academic, business person, or curious reader, start with the third edition of Cultures and Organizations.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
This entire book is dedicated to the statistical analysis of huge international surveys of people's of people's values, and an interpretation of the results of that statistical analysis.

Statisticians as a group are disdainful of people who use statistical products, and this would be no exception. The authors list the weaknesses of their approach in the beginning of the book, but then speak authoritatively, as if those limitations have been put behind them and could be safely ignored. Let's re-examine what they did:
1. They used massive surveys which depend on subjective questions such as, "on a scale of 1 to 7, where one is "love it" and two is "hate it," how do you feel about the employee appraisal process? These five or seven point scales are called "Likert" scales. They are the best possible instrument, but as the authors point out, they have significant limitations. In particular, respondents may be culturally driven to provide answers they think the researchers want to hear, and they may be culturally driven to either select extremes or avoid extremes.
2. The authors used a process called factor analysis to determine what they find to be five different factors that define different cultures values. When you add up the effect of all the different factors, you can statistically explain a certain fraction of the pattern in which the survey findings varies systematically among different groups of respondents. There is always some "unexplained variance" that cannot be attributed to any factor. The relative importance of the factors depends on the order in which you consider them, but no matter how you slice it, the fourth and fifth factors are not likely to explain very much of the variance. In other words, even though they are statistically significant, their real-world significance may not be that vast. A researcher has to have humility.
Once they identify the questions which make up each factor, they were able to compare responses from all of the countries one factor at a time. In doing this they took some liberties, such as splitting the five or seven value Likert scale in two, for strong and weak. Where you make the split influences how strong and affect you find. Researchers have been known to pick the split that best supports their theories.

The five factors they find are:
1. Power distance
2. Individualism and collectivism
3. Masculinity and femininity
4. Uncertainty avoidance
5. Indulgence versus restraint

The authors have normalized the findings of all countries, putting them on a scale of roughly 1 to 100. This provides a convenient graphic for showing relative differences. This is well and good. They do not, however, ever discuss how statistically significant differences are. Some of them are certainly more significant than others, and some of the differences are quite probably trivial... but the authors never deviate from their tone of certainty about their findings.

The book discusses the attributes of the two poles for each of their factors. Just as an example, a small power distance culture will believe the following:
* Inequalities among people should be minimized
* Social relationship should be handled with care
* Less powerful people in more powerful people should be interdependent
* Less powerful people are emotionally comfortable with interdependence
* Parents treat children as equals
* Students treat teachers as equals
The list goes on -- there are 17 entries in all. The opposites are rather predictable:
* Inequalities among people are expected and desired.
* Status should be balanced with restraint.
* Less powerful people should be dependent.
The supporting text belies the authors' studiously non-judgmental tone. They predictably take Americans to task for being bellicose and despoiling the environment, and the Austrians for being too masculine and warlike. One would judge from the tone of the book that the ideal people were Dutch. And what is the nationality of the authors? You got it.

Supporting the discussion of the factors is a series of two-dimensional plots laying out the distributions of the countries under study by two dimensions at a time. With five factors, 10 such combinations are possible and I think they are all present. It makes for pretty good graphics. The graph of power distance versus individualism shows that these two factors, although sufficiently independent to be considered separately, do have a relationship. In general, countries with less power distance show more individualism.

At this point you may wonder what power distance is. The authors defined it as the way that power or authority operates in a culture. In the country with a great power distance, subordinates to show deference to the boss and pretty much do what he says. The boss is into status symbols. In a low power distance country like Denmark or Holland the boss rides a bicycle and eats in the cafeteria with everybody else.

The authors correlate the factors that they find with non-subjective, measurable variables such as the geographic size of a country and the latitude of that country. These two seem rather arbitrary. More to the point might be national intelligence and temperament. Interestingly, they cite three books on national personality differences by Richard Lynn, a leading figure in psychometrics. Lynn, however, is best known for other works such as the unambiguously titled "Race and Intelligence." This book would like to attribute the Chinese success in fields such as statistics entirely to cultural factors. Not so - they are also smart. They express surprise that Africans can be so happy with so little material wealth. Other researchers such as Philippe Rushton have looked fairly deeply into brain chemistry and other factors that may explain it. As a bottom line, the authors appear to attribute too much of national differences to culture alone. It should be clear that human populations evolve in several dimensions simultaneously -- temperament, language, physical distribution, and genetics. Their work in culture is extremely valuable, but it is not the whole picture.

The discussion of the practical business problems that cultural differences pose is quite valuable. What should a company consider before undertaking a merger with a foreign partner? What goes wrong with a merger such as DaimlerChrysler? What should an expatriate manager know before going overseas, first in order to ensure his own adjustment to a new culture, and secondly, to ensure that he makes a positive contribution to the business in that culture.
1111 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2010
The new edition--the third and expanded edition--is a significant improvement over his past editions. The material has always been monumental but the data was getting old. I stopped using the book in my classes several years ago. This new edition has added a lot of new data from recent follow-up studies and it introduces a sixth dimension to the analytical model. They have also added a third scholar who has made some important new additions to the text, including the chapter introducing the new dimension: Indulgence vs Restraint. I have adopted this book for my graduate class for next semester.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 28, 2012
I first read/studied this book when I did my MBA in Graduate school. Since then, I have read and re-read it and each time, it has uncovered and unleashed more wisdom upon me on this topic. Not only does the book teach me how to isolate and be conscious of cultural sensitivities, it, more importantly reveals how unconscious, most people (we interact with) are on this topic. Cultural dimensions are examined and topics such as the "Power Distance", "Authority", "Time" "Non-Verbal communication", "Uncertainty avoidance", "Collectivism versus individualism", and "Femininity versus masculinity" are studied and explained in deeper depth.

I find that reading this book together with another book titled "International Business Communication" by Dr. David A. Victor would greatly enhance your understanding of the theories and concepts expounded by Dr. Hofstede. Dr. Victor invented a model (LESCANT) that simplifies the understanding of "Software of the Mind". "LESCANT is an acronym that represents seven areas in which cultural issues arise when dealing with international business communication. The acronym stands for Language, Environment, Social Organization, Context, Authority, Non-Verbal, and Time. Dr. David A. Victor, who is a professor of management and the Director of International Business Programs at Eastern Michigan University, created the model." [....]

I strongly recommend both books.

Senior Security Architect
Microsoft Corporation
Seattle, WA
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2012
My company was expecting an off shore group to problem solve and go off script to fix problems. We provided much assistance for many months, but the group never became self sufficient.

After reading the book we know why. They are in a high power distance culture where it is very unlikely that someone will attempt to behave independently and think for themselves.

We will have to use them to do routine, repeatable work and then send more challenging problems to a group who can solve new problems effectively.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2013
Hofstede is really talented in making deep ideas seem easy. This book changed the way I travel, work, and vote. It helped me understand the human condition a little more, and enabled me to take a few steps back in the way I analice things and make decisions.

Buy it if you need to understand your own culture or compare it to others. If you read and liked this book I strongly suggest their iPhone app that quickly compares cultures in any 2 given countries.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2013
If you travel overseas or work with organizations outside the U.S., I recommend that you read this book. The concept that culture forms the software of the mind intrigues me. In my travels I find that people in other countries do not view many things in the same way that I do. This book provides a framework for analyzing different viewpoints through consideration of the cultures from which they grow. For example, the author considers the cultural values of individualism versus collectivism. He argues that individualism may be almost completely explained by the wealth of a society - the wealthier the society the more individualism one finds expressed. Collectivism tends to dominate as a cultural value where wealth is not pervasive; consequently, in much of the world, collectivism prevails as a cultural value over individualism.

The book reviews values from Western, Asian, and global perspectives. While many values overlap, the author delves into the areas where cultural values differ within each of these perspectives. This, too, adds value to the book.

Overall, I think that the book encourages one to consider the cultural lenses through which one views the world. It provides an analytical framework to undertake this process. The author recognizes that one cannot escape one's own culture when looking at others (the software of the mind concept). I had the impression that he prefers cultural responses more in keeping with his Dutch background.

The book encouraged me to consider the positive and negative aspects of different cultural features. The author would argue that the act of viewing a culture positively or negatively requires acceptance of a cultural viewpoint. I agree, but I think that this is part of the book's value; it encourages one to consider one's own mental landscape. I did not agree with all of the author's conclusions and believe that there are influences that lie outside the book's purview that affect people's behavior. Nevertheless, if you want to look at the software in your own mind, this is a good place to start.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2014
In these times of globalization, understanding and accepting cultural diversity and appreciating other people's views about life and how human beings should relate to one another is increasingly important. In the late sixties, Dr. Geert Hofstede became interested in the cultural diferences between countries and has researched this subject since then. This book presents his work for the non-academic reader. It is not an easy book, but the educated reader will be able to fully understand the ideas; reading an article about factor analysis in an encyclopeadia may help to grasp how the data was interpreted. The book itself does not use any mathematical approach. Dr. Hofstede has developed a model that tries to explain the cultural diferences between countries and organizations; this model has been refined and improved over decades. Based on statistical analysis of a large body of data, he suggests that culture may be understood according to a number of principal components, such as "power distance", "individualism x collectivism", "masculinity x femininity", etc; each concept is carefully defined and the measurement method is explained. A discussion of what to expect from the relative strength of each dimension is presented; in other words, the factors are, to some extent, predictors of the dominant values and behaviors, both individual and institutional, of a society. I was truly amazed by the accuracy of these predictions, at least for the few countries I have lived and worked in and recommend this book to anyone who deals often with people from other countries and cultures.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2013
Hofstede described the following cultural dimensions:

(1.) Power distance index (PDI)

(2.) Individualism versus collectivism (IDV)

(3.) Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

(4.) Masculinity versus Femininity (MAS)

(5.) Long term versus short term orientation (LTO)

(6.) Indulgence versus restraint (IVR)

Political effects of cultural dimensions:

[1.] Hofstede assumes that political ideologies are entirely created by cultures:

Hofstede says that politicians create policies based on preexisting value judgments. But I think that is idea is only half true. Societies in which large corporations or large businesses own the majority of the nations' media and can bribe politicians ted to create policies that reflect the needs of elite minority. The financial elite of the US own the media and use it to brainwash the American public into voting for the policies that benefit them, but not the majority of the citizens. Hofstede points out the fact that many American voters believe that the America's economic problems are caused by high taxes. The fiscal conservatism of the American populace is far more likely caused by the financial elite's control of the media than the masculine values of the nation. Scandinavian countries and a few other European countries not only have more feminine cultures, but also have more democratic political systems. Switzerland and Iceland are direct democracies in which their citizens directly vote on policies, but the Anglo Saxon nations; Britain, and the US are democratic republics in which the citizens elect politicians who then vote on policies. Does the greater amount of political democracy in Scandinavian countries create more feminine cultures or do more feminine cultures create more democratic governments? The interactive causality of culture and politics can be compared to the interactive causality of economics and politics. Did the income equality of Scandinavian countries create their feminine cultures or did their feminine cultures create income equality? He described how cultures create organizational structures in the chapter called Cultures and Organizations, but he did not explain how political structures change cultures.

[2.] Hofstede did not discuss how political structures and inequality affect cultures:

I was surprised to see that Hofstede did not include income inequality and political structure in analysis of the rates of imprisonment of countries around the world. The US has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, but Hofstede failed to mention why the US also has the highest level of income inequality in the developed world, and why the US's undemocratic political structure leads to the imprisonment of the poor who are most often arrested for possession of illegal drugs. Rich bankers in the US usually not prosecuted for shark loans and when they are prosecuted they never face imprisonment. Undemocratic countries also tend to have much larger internal imprisonment rates and external imprisonment rates. Hofstede's study did not subdivide imprisonment rates into external and internal rates. For example Guantanamo bay is America's external prison.

My father often describes to me how in Lebanese culture toughness is very important and how it's very hard to get a Lebanese to vote because they don't respect politicians. They think of politicians as people who think their better than everyone else. From anthropology and political science books I've read, American documentaries I've watched and the American news channels I've seen such as MSNBC and CNN I get the feeling that Americans deeply respect and trust religious and political leaders. Adam Curtis in his documentary called "Save Your Kisses for Me" hosted on his BBC blog showed why some Arab nations are very suspicious of political leaders, but still have great faith in the moral integrity of religious leaders. Disrespect for political and religious leaders and celebrities should reduce power distance. The Anglo Saxons are obsessed with celebrities and tend to turn their politicians into celebrities. The British think of the English Royal family as celebrities and worship them despite the fact that they don't contribute to society.

I think Hofstede should have created 4 sub -scales with self - report questionnaires and statistical analyses of favorable or unfavorable commentary on authority figures in online and print media outlets for power distance that measure the amount of respect that a nation's citizens have for 4 categories of authorities; politicians, religious leaders, political leaders and royalty.

I think he should have made a comparison between the economic structure of a country's media and its power distance score. I think countries such as the US in which more than 90% of media outlets are owned by corporations and conglomerates that are run by a financial elite that make up the top 1% of these nation's income brackets tend to have a lot more positive commentary on the actions and beliefs of the political elite. It's easier in terms of propaganda to brainwash the public to worship all the famous, rich and powerful members of society than is to brainwash the public to admire the financial elite but look down upon the political elite. And in countries such as America the financial elite tend to also be the political and religious elite. Some nations are politically and economically structured in such a way that money can be converted into political power. In the US billions of dollars can be converted into lobbying power. Homogeneous propaganda that contains only one overriding theme is easier to control and disseminate than heterogeneous propaganda that contains different value laden messages.

Environmental or ecological causes of cultural dimensions:

If Hofstede creates a 4th edition I hope he investigates the interactive causality of cultural and environmental forces. In this edition Hofstede simply assumes that political values are created by more pervasive cultural values and does not take into consideration the structure of the media outlets in each country. I think comparative politics should be incorporated into the next edition if Hofstede ever decides to make another edition of Software of the Mind. He also did not include respect for celebrities, political leaders, and religious leaders in his calculation of power distance which often show up in media reports and news outlets.

My concerns with Hofstede's theoretical research:

[1.] Categorization of nations:

I also disliked the way he lumped all Middle Eastern countries into one category, Asian countries into 2 categories and Africa into 2 categories; East and West Africa. Why did he lump those countries into regions when countries within the same region can have radically different cultures? From my personal experience I noticed how Nigerians tend to be optimistic, talkative and emotionally expressive while Kenyans tend to be pessimistic and emotionally subdued. Nigeria is situated in West Africa and Kenya is situated in East Africa. My father who is Lebanese often described to me how Syrians tend to be obedient and loyal while Lebanese tend to be arrogant and hot tempered. Syria and Lebanon share borders with one another, but their political cultures are very different. Syria was ruled by a dictator for several decades and I think they would probably have more power distance than Lebanon which never had a dictatorship and is more democratic that most Middle Eastern countries. I think Israel is the most democratic nation in the Middle East and according to Hofstede research they score very low on power distance. I also think Jewish culture's emphasis on communal values might have made Israel a more democratic nation. Maybe Syrian culture has a greater level of uncertainty avoidance and power distance than Israel and this might have contributed to the rise of dictators in Syria. I liked the way Hofstede used uncertainty avoidance to explain fascism in Japan and Germany, but I feel that his analysis of dictatorships would have been better if he discussed the interactions of cultural dimensions.

[2.] Moral disconnection between publicly proclaimed religious morality and privately practiced morality:

I was surprised when Hofstede how the WVS (Western Virtue Survey) produced results that showed that the poorest countries that happened to be African countries scored the highest on belief in absolute moral values when most African cultures are extremely corrupt and amoral. Nigerian cultures scored the highest on the WVS even though Nigeria is not only one of the most corrupt countries in Africa, but also one of the most corrupt countries in the entire world. I believe that the WVS produced dishonest results from poor countries. Poor countries are also the most religious countries and professing in absolute values means verbally admitting to one's belief in religious teachings. Monotheism is the dominant set of religions in Africa and these religions stress absolute truth in moral values therefore Africans have to say that they believe in absolute moral values, but their actions mays sometimes demonstrate that that they are amoral. I think the WVS should have been designed with two scales; one scale for absolute moral values and another scale for situational moral values. The 2 options of stating that one believes in absolute values or believes in situational moral values in the WVS only assessed explicit (public) belief in moral values, but failed to mention one's implicit (private) belief in moral values. I think Asian countries such as China would have scored higher on situational moral values e.g. not stealing from one's boss even though many Chinese are as poor as Africans and the Africans would have scored the highest on absolute moral values, but the lowest on situational moral values (specific cases of moral choice). A poor African would shamelessly steal from an African King, but I doubt a poor Chinese would steal from a sacred Chinese Emperor. For Africans moral and intellectual respect does not go hand in hand with economic respect. In Africa everyone is out for themselves. I like to think of it as the African eats African mindset.

[3.] Imperfect categorization of cultural dimensions:

I felt that there were that the cultural dimension of Long - Term Orientation (LTM) overlapped with too many qualities of other dimensions to the point that I wondered if LTM is a cultural dimension that emergent independently from other cultural dimensions or was a synergistic product of the interaction of several cultural dimensions that emerged independently from one another. If you look at Table 7.3 on page 251 you will see that Short - Term Orientation includes valuing achievement; a cultural quality measured by the Masculinity dimension (MSN), freedom; a cultural quality measured by the Individualism dimension (IDV) and a collection of qualities I like to call analytic truth which includes the following cultural qualities that I think should be measured by but are not measured by the Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI); cognitive consistency, concern for rationality, concern for truth, and belief in absolute morality. Is the LTM a product of the psychological interaction of the cultural dimensions of MAS, IDV and UAI? I don't think that's the case. Clear boundaries between each dimension help anthropologists and cultural psychologists trace historical origins of each cultural dimension. A single historical event might have caused a simultaneous cultural fluctuation in LTM, MAS, IDV, UAI, and IVR. I like to call this historical event an explosive cultural shift and I think this type of shift should be compared to a unipolar cultural shift e.g. a single historical event or a series of historical events that cause a change in only one cultural dimension. I also think a series of historical events can be shared by a group of nations that leads to correlations among all 4 of the cultural dimensions I just explained and I like to refer to such a series of events as a multipolar cultural shift. I have a personality of high UAI and I have tendency to look for theoretical perfection.

Hofstede's brief mention of Transcultural psychology in Chapter 11 (Intercultural Encounters):

He wrote that "mental health professionals" need to be trained in transcultural psychiatry and transcultural clinical psychology. For clarification: Clinical psychology is the research branch of psychiatry which is not explained in the book. In this chapter it became clear that Hofstede believes in the myth of mental illness.

If you read History of Madness,The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct and Blaming the Brain: The Truth About Drugs and Mental Health you will come to the same conclusion that I did. "Mental Illnesses" are social metaphors that describe socially and culturally unacceptable behavior. Wikipedia even has a page on cultural mental illnesses. If you watch the documentaries of the Citizens Commission for Human Rights on [...] you will learn about the origins of psychiatry and how pharmaceutical companies pay psychiatrists. Every new illness lead to the creation of a new drug that inevitably expands the profits and market share of the pharmaceutical industry.

I agree with Hofstede that immigrants experience acculturative stress but I disagree with him that psychiatry will reduce the emotional pain of acculturation. He did not specify whether psychotherapy or drug therapy or both should be used to alleviate acculturative stress. I guess he's not aware of the fact that psychotherapy no longer plays a significant role in psychiatry. Thanks to the pharmaceutical industry psychiatry has now divorced itself from psychotherapy. I feel that psychiatry should be abolished and that psychotherapy combined with social welfare is probably the bests way to help immigrants deal with acculturative stress.

My views on Hofstede's chapter called Cultural Evolution:

[1.] A definition of speciation would have increased intellectual clarity:

In the last chapter be briefly summarized the evolutionary history of Homo sapiens (humans). I small problem I had with this chapter was when he used the term "cross fertilization". What exactly does cross fertilization in the context of sexual mating amongst bonobos and chimps in zoos? Did he mean to say that male Bonobos can fertilize female chimps? Does that mean that Bonobos are the same species as chimps? Can I compare Bonobos to chimps much in the same way I can compare Africans to Europeans? Are bonobos an ethnic group (race) of chimps?

[2.] Unification of knowledge:

The second topic he discussed in the last chapter was about the concept of consilience which involves uniting scientific viewpoints that are usually seen as separate rather than interconnected. If believe unifying human knowledge systems will help us as a species to achieve a prosperous metadestiny. If you want to learn more about unifying human knowledge systems then I suggest you read the Unifying Theory of Psychology by Gregg Henriques who presents a unifying theory of science that unites the material and social sciences.

[3.] I doubt all hunter - gatherer tribes were egalitarian and do gender roles create power hierarchies that reduce egalitarianism?

The 3rd topic he discussed was the nature of the first hunter - gather tribes millions of years ago. He tried to speculate about the cultural behavior of ancient tribes by analyzing modern day hunter gatherer tribes. But I felt that his insistence on egalitarianism and individualism being the cultural traits of ALL hunter gather tribes was confusing.

In the previous chapters he described how individualism is correlated with national affluence. Individualism is European invention and as cultural dimensions was conceived by European researchers. If you live in an African country like I do or if you've watched many documentaries about tribal societies you will realize that tribes foster collectivism at the expense of individualism. He failed to see the connection between higher education and individualism. Educated people are able to see how their cultures have shaped their beliefs, will have the intellectual ability to create new beliefs that are different from that of their cultures and they will have the financial ability in affluent countries to travel around the world and adopt a multicultural perspective. Multiculturism breeds individualism.

I understood how a hunter gather tribe in an environment of abundant resources could be egalitarian, but he then said that aboriginal hunter gathers of Australia who lived in scarce resource environments were egalitarian contradicted his explanation of why the women in the aboriginal tribe were forced to be subservient . He confounded egalitarianism with long term orientation when he described the cultural behavior of modern day tribes. Just because a tribe is egalitarian does not mean that it has a long term orientation and just because a tribes is hierarchal and beats its women into subservience does not mean that it has a short term orientation. I felt that his western idealism distorted his analyses of modern and ancient tribal behavior and according to his explanation for the gender role differentiation is a sign of long term orientation. The dimension he struggled the most to explain the origins of was long term orientation.

[4.] A global market without a global village (a single global culture):

The 4th topic he very briefly discussed in the last chapter was about how our knowledge of the origins of human cultures has enabled us to predict the future of a new global human culture that will shape our future as a species. Hofstede believes that as a species we can go one step further than predicting the new global culture by learning about the origins of cultural differences in order to learn how to accept global cultural difference so that we can wars and live as a peaceful global society. I like to call our ability to consciously create a new global culture "metadestiny".

I disagree with Hofstede on how we should achieve our metadestiny. I think we should not give equal respect to all cultures. I think as a species we should use the merger of the social and material sciences as an opportunity to create a "transcultural (beyond culture or beyond ethnicity)" ideology - an ideology that transcends ethnic differences and combines the world's best cultural values. How do you decide which values are the best values? I think we should examine countries that have the highest rate of economic growth, highest GDP per capita, and lowest level of income inequality. Asian cultures have the highest and fastest levels of economic growth because they have high LTO. Nordic countries have the lowest rate of income inequality because they have low MAS and high IDV.

We can combine Nordic and Asian values to create an optimum culture that would look something like this:

(1.) Low PDI (for direct democracy as currently practiced by Switzerland + Iceland)

(2.) High IDV (to foster a strong desire for human rights over ethnic priorities)

(3.) Very high LTO (for economic growth)

(4.) Low MAS (for equality and quality of life)

(5.) Medium UAI (high UAI for scientific theories + low UAI for scientific empiricism)

Overall, I felt his approach to studying cultures throughout the world was lineal. His lineal approach to the study of culture used a 2 step process:

(1.) Environment creates culture

(2.) Cultures create political system

I believe an interactive approach to the study of culture would have explained how cultures create environments and how political systems shape cultural evolution and environmental outcomes. For example how America's political system has increased American culture's Power Distance Index (PDI) through media propaganda. I also think an interactive approach would have explained the origins of political revolutions such as the communist revolutions in Russia and China and the 19th century democratic revolution in France. If you're looking for a political analysis of the origins of social revolutions I recommend reading the Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World.

The one variable that Hofstede did not use to explain the origins of culture was climate. For an in depth study of
how different climates create different cultures read Climate, Affluence, and Culture (Culture and Psychology).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 2, 2014
There are a lot definitions of what culture and what values are. Most of them are in the form of romantic poetry, personal experience and feelings. What Hofstedes actually did, they quantified value systems, gave them names, dimensions and showed how values for different cultures differ ( or cultures for different cultures differ, which way you like :)). However the most important stuff to take from the book is the fact that even Western countries differ a lot. This is especially important for citizens of developing world, where we all believe in one, monolithic culture of the whole western society.

Although the book is based on pretty good statistical analysis, the book does not talk about it much. So it will be interesting for all i guess.

However, the kindle version of the book was not that good and organized, but still this is a nuance that cant destroy the impression from the book.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Customers who viewed this also viewed

Organizational Culture and Leadership
Organizational Culture and Leadership by Edgar H. Schein (Paperback - August 16, 2010)

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.