Most probably cultural differences play a role in the relationships and communication. Things often go fine, but for all kind of reasons that escape our understanding, things can also go wrong. Dutch professor Geert Hofstede spent many years researching the effect of culture in organizations. His study was based on the comparison of national and organizational culture. Hofstede’s research has shown that cultural differences between nations are especially found on the deepest level; i.e. on the level of values. In comparison, cultural differences among organizations are especially identified on the level of practices. Practices are more tangible than values. To learn more enjoy an interview with Geert Hofstede. Hofstede defines Organizational Culture as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one organization from others.”
Hofstede developed a cool tool for us to look at different cultural elements of countries and you can compare different countries too – National Culture, Countries. This tool might support you in the understanding of cultural differences, organizational values and what are the elements you need to take into consideration when dealing with cultural difference both at work and in your social life. The interesting infographics below show comparisons among 6 countries.
MASCULINITY VS FEMININITY
The outcome of his research and many others (Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner in their book called “Riding the Wave of Culture”) is that each culture is a combination of values, norms, customs, believes and preferences. For example, Latinos are passionate and like sharing their emotions in the open while Germans are very reserved. In some societies you are who you are because of your achievements (study, work) while in others is about your background and social status (England versus The Netherlands) or the focus on time: like the countries where life pace is slower (Latin America) or time having the meaning of now, important, not enough (USA).
Based on research conducted in more than seventy countries over a forty-year span, Hofstede examines what drives people apart when cooperation is so clearly in everyone’s interest. Here you can find interesting infographics about how these 6 countries compare to each other on the 5 dimensions.
LONG TERM ORIENTATION