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Basics about Culture Guest lecture in course “Culture and Economic Behaviour” Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen 22th November 2012 Geert Hofstede.

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Presentation on theme: "Basics about Culture Guest lecture in course “Culture and Economic Behaviour” Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen 22th November 2012 Geert Hofstede."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basics about Culture Guest lecture in course “Culture and Economic Behaviour” Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen 22th November 2012 Geert Hofstede

2 Three meanings of “culture” 1.Literally: tilling the soil, cultivation 2.Training or refining of the mind: civilization 3.Collective ways of acting, thinking, and feeling: “collective programming of the mind distinguishing the members of one group or category* of people from another” *) nation, region, occupation, organization, gender

3 But: “Culture” (3) does not exist “Culture” (3) is a construct, that is a product of our imagination. We have defined it into existence “A construct is not directly accessible to observation but inferable from verbal statements and other behaviors and useful in predicting still other observable and measurable verbal and nonverbal behavior” T. Levitin, 1973

4 Levels of mental programming symbols heroes rituals practices visible values invisible

5 practices Symbols: words, gestures and objects whose meaning has to be learned. They include language and jargon. The easiest to acquire and fastest changing level of culture Heroes: persons, alive or dead, real or imaginary, who serve as models for behavior. More difficult for an outsider to recognize Rituals: shared activities that are technically superfluous but socially essential. Can be learned given enough effort; can be changed 5

6 values Core of our mental programming. Mostly unconscious : in our guts, not in our heads Values are strong emotions with a - and a + such as: evil-good, abnormal-normal, ugly- beautiful, dangerous-safe, immoral-moral, indecent-decent, unnatural-natural, dirty- clean, paradoxical-logical, irrational-rational What is rational is a matter of values 6

7 Unconscious values are acquired early in our lives We humans are born incompletely programmed During the first 10 years of our lives we have a physiologically determined ability for absorbing complex information: additional programming This programming is provided by our social environment and includes all our basic values It also includes learning languages accent-free After age 10, basic values don’t change – not even if we migrate to another country And if we learn new languages, we keep an accent

8 Practices are learned and unlearned throughout life, nearly always conscious Similar practices (symbols, heroes and rituals) can be learned by persons with very different values Practice learning is also provided by our social environment Working together means sharing practices, not necessarily sharing values

9 Acquiring mental programming unconscious, unchangeable values conscious, changeable practices age place family school work pre-puberty post-puberty

10 National versus organizational cultures a definition National cultures oppose otherwise similar individuals, institutions and organizations across countries. Example: different national subsidiaries of same company Organizational (or corporate) cultures oppose different organizations within the same countries. Example: different companies within one country

11 National versus organizational cultures National culture differences are rooted in values learned before age 10 They pass from parents to children For management, they are given facts For academics, they belong to anthropology Organizational cultures are rooted in practices learned on the job Given enough management effort, they can be monitored and changed For academics, they belong to sociology International organizations function through shared practices, rarely shared values

12 Which culture is transferred when values practices age culture level gender, national social class, occupation business, organization

13 The dimension concept in studying the social world Dimensions are a conceptual way of unpackaging complex realities into separate basic elements Dimensions are found empirically and statistically Dimensional models differ by level of analysis, e.g. society, organization, or individual Like “culture”, “dimensions” do not exist. They are constructs. We have defined them into existence Their usefulness can only be proven by validation: their ability to predict measurable behaviour Different applications may need different models

14 6 dimensions of societal values: Dimensions of national cultures (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov 2010) 6 dimensions of societal values: Power Distance large vs. small Uncertainty Avoidance strong vs. weak Individualism vs. Collectivism Masculinity vs. Femininity Long vs. Short term orientation Indulgence vs. Restraint

15 National culture dimension Power Distance Extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations expect and accept that power is distributed unequally Transferred to children by parents and other elders 15

16 National culture dimension Uncertainty Avoidance Extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous and unknown situations Not to be confused with risk avoidance: risk is to uncertainty as fear is to anxiety. Uncertainty and anxiety are diffuse feelings – anything may happen 16

17 SMALLER PD, WEAKER UA LARGER PD, WEAKER UA SMALLER PD, STRONGER UALARGER PD, STRONGER UA NORDIC CTRS ANGLO CTRS, USA NETHERLANDS GERMAN SPEAKING CTRS BALTIC STATES HUNGARY CHINA INDIA FRANCE, LATIN CTRS POLAND, SE EUROPE JAPAN, KOREA Power Distance x Uncertainty Avoidance (first 4 dimension scores for 76 countries) 17

18 National culture dimension Individualism vs. Collectivism Individualism: A society in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after self and immediate family only Collectivism: A society in which individuals from birth onwards are part of strong in-groups that last a lifetime and oppose other in-groups 18

19 National culture dimension Masculinity vs. Femininity Masculinity: A society in which emotional gender roles are distinct: men should be assertive, tough and focused on material success, women on the quality of life Femininity: A society in which emotional gender roles overlap: both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and focused on the quality of life 19

20 Individualism/Collectivism x Masculinity/Femininity (first 4 dimension scores for 76 countries)

21 National culture dimension Long-Term vs. Short-Term Orientation Long Term Orientation seeks future rewards through perseverance, thrift and adaptation Short Term Orientation respects tradition and social obligations and seeks immediate rewards Originally based on Chinese Value Survey scores for 23 countries New, revised scores based on World Values Survey for 93 countries 21

22 National culture dimension Indulgence vs. Restraint Indulgence allows relatively free gratification of basic human drives leading to enjoying life Restraint curbs gratification and enjoying life and regulates it by strict social norms Scores for 93 countries based on World Values Survey 22

23 Few restrictions on behavior People value freedom of expression People feel healthier and happier People are fatter Leisure ethic Loose sexual mores Higher crime rates Smaller police force Restrained societies Restrictive regulations on behavior People value strong government People feel less happy and less healthy People are slimmer Work ethic Strict sexual mores Lower crime rates Larger police force Indulgent societies

24 INDULGENT, SHORT-TERM INDULGENT, LONG TERM RESTRAINED, SHORT-TERM RESTRAINED, LONG-TERM NIGERIA, SOUTH AFRICA SOUTH AMERICA USA, CANADA, AUSTRALIA SWEDEN, NETHERLANDS AUSTRIA, SWITZERLAND BELGIUM, FRANCE POLAND, PORTUGAL ZIMBABWE, BURKINA FASO ISLAMIC COUNTRIES ITALY, GERMANY BALTICS, EASTERN EUROPE CHINA, JAPAN, INDIA Long/Short Term Orientation x Indulgence/Restraint (scores for 90 countries)

25 Validations of national culture dimension scores against data from other sources - examples Power distance: income inequality; respect for elders; polarization and violence in national politics Uncertainty avoidance: number of laws and rules; belief in experts; xenophobia; terrorism; faster driving Individualism: national wealth; faster walking; weaker family ties; frequency of using the word “I” Masculinity: fewer women elected; stress on growth Femininity: care for the weak and the environment Long Term Orientation: economic growth; savings rates; fewer prisoners; adapting to changed reality Indulgence: higher birthrates, fewer police, more active sports, more obesitas, more private internet

26 6 dimensions of organizational practices: Dimensions of organizational cultures (Hofstede, Neuijen, Ohayv & Sanders 1990) 6 dimensions of organizational practices: Process vs. results oriented Employee vs. job oriented Parochial vs. professional Open vs. closed system Loose vs. tight control Normative vs. pragmatic Rooted in practices; based on comparative survey among members of different organizations in same countries; validated against characteristics of these organizations

27 the “Big Five” with a Chinese sixth: Dimensions of individual personality (McCrae & John, 1992; Hofstede, 2007) the “Big Five” with a Chinese sixth: Openness to experience Conscientiousness Extraversion Agreeableness Neuroticism Dependence on others

28 Switching levels : differences in Big Five norms explained by national culture (Hofstede & McCrae, 2004) Personality dimension Culture dimensiontotal % explained Neuroticism1. Uncertainty Avoidance 2. Masculinity Extraversion1. Individualism 2. Femininity Openness to experience 1. Masculinity 2. Small Power Distance 3. Uncertainty Avoidance Agreeableness1. Weak Uncertainty Avoidance 28 Conscientiousness1. Power Distance 24

29 Summary: National cultures, organizational cultures and the role of management 1.“Culture” does not exist, it is a product of our imagination and only useful as far as it helps us understand and predict phenomena in the world 2.National cultures and organizational cultures are quite different things: national cultures belong to anthropology, organizational cultures to sociology 3.Management can never change a national culture It can only understand and use it. It can build and sometimes change an organizational culture 4.The concept of “culture” does not apply at the level of individuals. Individuals have personalities, influenced by the culture in which they grew up.

30 Academic book, 1980 and 2001 (600 pages, two columns) General reader book 2010 (2005, 1991) Co-authors 3 rd ed. Gert Jan Hofstede & Michael Minkov So far available in 6 languages; previous editions in 19 Dutch version: Allemaal andersden- kenden: Omgaan met cultuurverschillen More on website


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