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Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, Third Edition Paperback – May 24, 2010
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About the Author
Geert Hofstede, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands.
Gert Van Hofstede, Ph.D., is a biologist and professor of Information Systems at Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and the son of Geert Hofstede.
Michael Minkov, Ph.D., is a lecturer at the International University College and at the University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski,” Sofia, Bulgaria.
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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.
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.
After speaking with expert lecturer on Cultures Olga Muzychenko, I now have reason to doubt how Hofstede integrates data from different studies to arrive at final conclusions. ... even with that knowledge ... it is still very much worth a read.