|Gerard Hendrik Hofstede|
|Born||2 October 1928|
|Fields||Social psychology, Anthropology|
Geert Hofstede, born as Gerard Hendrik Hofstede (2 October 1928 in Haarlem, Netherlands) is an influential Dutch researcher in the fields of organizational studies and more concretely organizational culture, also cultural economics and management. He is a well-known pioneer in his research of cross-cultural groups and organizations and played a major role in developing a systematic framework for assessing and differentiating national cultures and organizational cultures. His studies demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groups that influence behavior of societies and organizations.
His most notable work has been in developing cultural dimensions theory. The five dimensions are; Power Distance, Individualism, Uncertainty avoidance, Masculinity, and Long Term Orientation. He is known with his books Culture's Consequences and Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, co-authored with his son Gert Jan Hofstede.
Upon his retirement in 1993, Geert has visited numerous universities worldwide to educate students on his theoretical approaches and to continue his research in this field. He currently is Professor Emeritus of Organizational Anthropology and International Management at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, and serves as an extramural fellow of the Center of Economic Research at Tilburg University in Tilburg, Netherlands.
Childhood and early influences
Geert was born to Gerrit and Evertine G. (Veenhoven) Hofstede. He went to schools in The Hague and Apeldoorn, and received his high school diploma (Gymnasium Beta) in 1945. When World War II ended, Geert Hofstede was seventeen and had always lived in the Netherlands under rather difficult circumstances. So he decided that it was time for him to explore the wide world. He entered Technical College in 1945, and had one year of internships, including a voyage to Indonesia in 1947 as an assistant ship’s engineer. It was his first time out of his country, immersed in a foreign culture, and was an early influence in his career to study cross-cultures. He was also influenced by a trip he made to England after meeting an English girl, where he experienced cultural shock. He was struck by the cultural differences he noticed between England and Holland, two very close European countries. These early experiences helped translate into a lifelong career in cross-cultural research.
College years and professional life
In 1953, Geert graduated from Delft Technical University with a M.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering. Upon graduation, he joined the Dutch military, working as a technical officer in the Dutch army and served for two years. Leaving the military, Geert worked as a factory hand in Amsterdam. Between 1955 and 1965, he held professional and managerial jobs in three different Dutch industrial companies.
This was an important period in Geert’s life, where he actually worked in industry. By experiencing management, he had a chance to see the organization from the bottom up working as a mechanic. This training and background as an engineer shaped his research and his approach to social situations. He claims that his description of social situations appeals to a number of people because “I still have the mind of an engineer to the extent that I try to be specific...and be clear about what I am saying.” This was important in his development of quantifying cultures on different dimensions.
After working in the industry for ten years, Geert entered part-time doctoral study at Groningen University in The Netherlands, and received his PhD in social psychology cum laude in 1967. His thesis was titled “The Game of Budget Control.” During this time, he joined IBM International, working as a management trainer and manager of personnel research. He founded and managed the Personnel Research Department. This was his transition from the field of engineering and into psychology. In this role, he played an active role in the introduction and application of employee opinion surveys in over 70 national subsidiaries of IBM around the world. He traveled across Europe and the Middle East to interview people and conduct surveys regarding people’s behavior in large organizations and how they collaborated. He collected large amounts of data, but due to the pressures of his daily job, was unable to conduct a significant amount of research. When he took a two-year sabbatical from IBM in 1971, he delved deeper into the data he had collected from his job, and discovered that there were significant differences between cultures in other organizations, but got the same ranking of answers by country. At the time, the results of the IBM’s surveys, with over 100,000 questionnaires, were one of the largest cross-national databases that existed.
He became a visiting lecturer at IMEDE (now the International Institute for Management Development) in Lausanne, Switzerland. At IMEDE, he administered a selection of IBM questionnaire items to his course participants, who were international managers from over 30 countries and from a variety of different private and public organizations unrelated to IBM. Geert found that the same results that he discovered in the IBM surveys had reproduced themselves significantly in the sample of his students. This was the first hard piece of evidence that the differences among countries was not specific to IBM, but instead, was due to a generalized set of shared socialization skills that were specific to people having grown up in the same country, and not necessarily, the same organization.
Geert re-joined IBM and informed them of the enormous database that IBM had at their disposal, and wanted to create a research project to continue this new way of examining the data. After a lack of opportunity to conduct his research at IBM, he found two part-time jobs, including one at the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Brussels as a Professor of Management, while simultaneously teaching part-time at INSEAD business school in Fontainebleau, France. Between 1973 and 1979, he worked on the data, and analyzed it in a variety of ways. He used existing literature in psychology, sociology, political science, and anthropology to relate his findings in a larger scope of study. In 1980, he published his book Culture’s Consequences, where the results of his analysis were presented.
Development of research model
Geert's analysis defined four initial dimensions of national culture that were positioned against analysis of 40 initial countries. As a trained psychologist, he began his analysis of the survey data at the individual respondent level. At the end of two years, he realized he needed an “ecological” analysis, in which respondents were contextualized by their countries. By aggregating individuals as societal units, he could examine national cultures rather than individual personalities.
Geert’s model, when introduced in 1980, came at a time when cultural differences between societies had become increasingly relevant for both economic and political reasons. Although using scientific data to back his claims, practitioners embraced the model, especially after the publication of his 1991 book, “Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind.”
However, some critics have argued that his conceptualization of culture is not static and as essential as he mentions. The most cited criticism of his work is by Professor Brendan McSweeney (Royal Holloway, University of London and Stockholm University) who argues that Hofstede's methodology is fundamentally flawed Hofstede replied to this critique (see details in the list of Hofstede's publications below). McSweeney responded to this reply. Another key critique which largely focuses on level of analysis is by Professor Barry Gerhart (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Professor Meiyu Fang (National Central University, Taiwan) who point out that amongst other problems with Hofstede's research (and the way it is widely interpreted) is that his results actually only show that around 2 to 4 percent of variance in individual values is explained by national differences – in other words 96 percent, and perhaps more, is not explained. And that there is nothing in Hofstede's work that pertains to individual-level behaviours or actions. In a 2008 article in the Academy of Management’s journal, The Academy of Management Review, Galit Ailon deconstructs Hofstede’s book Culture’s Consequences by mirroring it against its own assumptions and logic. Ailon finds several inconsistencies at the level of both theory and methodology, and cautions against an uncritical reading of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
In 1980, Geert co-founded and became the first Director for the IRIC, the Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation, located at Tilburg University since 1998. Much of Geert’s research on the basic dimensions of nations came through the IRIC. In 2001, Geert published an entirely re-written second edition of "Culture’s Consequences". In 2010, a third edition of "Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind" was published with Gert Jan Hofstede and Michael Minkov listed as co-authors. In this book, there were two new dimensions that were added, and the number of countries covered to between 76 and 93. This book also introduced the topic of organizational cultures as a separate and different phenomenon.
Geert’s books have appeared in 23 languages. World Wide Web’s citation indexes between 1981 and 2011 listed more than 9,000 articles in peer-reviewed journals citing one or more of Geert’s publications. This makes him the currently most cited European social scientist. He holds honorary doctorates from seven universities in Western and Eastern Europe.
In 1955, Geert married Maaike A. van den Hoek. Together, they have four sons: Gert-Jan Hofstede, who is a population biologist and social scientist in information management; Rokus Hofstede, who works as a translator; Bart Hofstede, who is a Cultural Counselor of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Berlin, and Gideon Hofstede, who works as an international marketeer. He also has ten grandchildren. Gert-Jan has worked extensively with his father and co-authored several works in the realm of culture study.
Awards and honors
Geert Hofstede has received much recognition for his work in cross-cultural analysis. The Hanze University Groningen in the Netherlands established the Geert Hofstede Lecture, a bi-annual conference on topics of intercultural communication in 2004. In 2006, a Geert Hofstede Chair for Cultural Diversity was established[by whom?] at Maastricht University, and in 2010, the School of Business and Economics launched a fund named after Geert to encourage activities around multicultural interactions and research. In 2009 Reputation Institute, which "recognizes individuals who have greatly contributed to the field of reputation through both scholarship and practice", nominated Hofstede as the Best Scholar of the year.
- Honorary member, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Section of Economics and Law, 2010
- International Honorary Member, AIESEC
- Honorary Member, SIETAR Europe (Society for Intercultural Education, Training and Research)
- 1992 Honorary Member, EFM Imperator (today: SCOPE Maastricht)
- Fellow, Academy of Management, United States
- 2006 Honorary Fellow, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology
- 1998 Eminent Scholar, Academy of International Business, United States
- 2011 Awarded Knight in the Order of the Netherlands Lion (Orde van de Nederlandse Leeuw)
- Honorary doctorates:
- Nyenrode Business University, the Netherlands
- New Bulgarian University, Sofia, Bulgaria
- Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece
- University of Gothenburg, Sweden
- University of Liège, Belgium
- ISM University of Management and Economics, , Vilnius Lithuania
- University of Pécs, Hungary (2009)
- University of Tartu, Estonia (2012)
- Honorary professorships:
In 2006, Maastricht University, the Netherlands inaugurated a Geert Hofstede Chair in cultural diversity And in October 2010, Maastrich University School of Business and Economics launched the Geert Hofstede Fund, aiming at encouraging activities around multicultural interactions and research about the impact of cultural differences.
- Hofstede, Geert (July 1978). "The Poverty of Management Control Philosophy". The Academy of Management Review (Academy of Management) 3 (3): 450–461. doi:10.2307/257536. JSTOR 257536.
- Hofstede, Geert (July 1967). "The Game of Budget Control: How to Live with Budgetary Standards and Yet be Motivated by Them". OR (Operational Research Society) 20 (3): 388–390. JSTOR 3008751.
- Hofstede, Geert (December 1983). "Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values". Administrative Science Quarterly (Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University) 28 (4): 625–629. JSTOR 2393017.
- Hofstede, Geert (March 1993). "Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind". Administrative Science Quarterly (Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University) 38 (1): 132–134. JSTOR 2393257.
- Hofstede, Geert (March 2002). "Dimensions Do Not Exist: A reply to Brendan McSweeney". Human Relations (Sage Publications) 55 (11).
- Hofstede, Geert (2010). "The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance". Journal of International Business Studies (Sage Publications) 41 (8): 1339–46. SSRN 1697436.
- Cross-cultural communication
- Cross-cultural leadership
- Cross-cultural psychology
- Cultural norms
- Culture shock
- Edward T. Hall
- Emotions and culture
- Fons Trompenaars
- Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory
- Intercultural communication
- National character studies
- National identity
- "Geert". Geert Hofstede. Retrieved 29 March 2008.
- Hofstede, Geert (2001). Culture's Consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-0-8039-7323-7. OCLC 45093960.
- Hofstede, Geert; Hofstede, Gert Jan (2005). Cultures and organizations: software of the mind (Revised and expanded 2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-143959-6. OCLC 57069196.
- Personal Communication with P.Singh
- "Culture Does Not Exist—An Interview with Professor Geert Hofstede". Centre for Intercultural Learning. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- An Interview with Geert Hofstede. Academy of Management Executive. 2004-02. JSTOR 4166037.
- McSweeney, B. (2002a) Hofstede's Identification of National Cultural Differences – A Triumph of Faith a Failure of Analysis, Human Relations, 55.1, 89–118.
- McSweeney, B. (2002b) The Essentials of Scholarship: A Reply to Hofstede, Human Relations, 55.11, 1363–1372
- Gerhart, B. and Fang, M. (2005) National Culture and Human Resource Management: Assumptions and Evidence, International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16.6, 971–986
- Ailon, G. (2008). Mirror, mirror on the wall: Culture's Consequences in a value test of its own design. The Academy of Management Review, 33(4):885–904
- "Geert Hofstede chair on Cultural Diversity". Maastricht University. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- "Geert Hofstede Fund". Maastricht University. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- "RI Hall of Fame". Reputation Institute. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- MTA honorary member
- Honorary Members of SCOPE Maastricht and predecessor associations
- Honorary Fellows of IACCP
- AIB Fellows' Eminent Scholar Award
- NBU Doctors Honoris Causa
- Geert Hofstede Chair in cultural diversity
- Geert Hofstede Fund
- Geert Hofstede Consortium
- Geert Hofstede's academic website
- Geert Hofstede Consortium
- Hofstede's dimensions simplified
- The impact of Dr. Hofstede's work on business practices