Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model addresses the effects of culture on values and behaviour of society’s members. This theory aims to identify the differences among populations dividing them by categories, such as individualism and collectivism, masculinity or femininity, uncertainty avoidance, indulgence or restraint, and power distance index (Browaeys & Price, 2011). It is vital to analyse the strengths, weaknesses and applicability of Hofstede’s work to ensure that such an approach to studying culture is used effectively to guide cross-cultural management.
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The primary strength of the model is that it can help to minimise misinterpretations among cultures by providing an explanation for differences among them. With its help, representatives of various societies can reflect on what is normal and acceptable while communicating with each other (Aldred, 2018). In addition, they can evaluate their own behaviours and expectations through the lens of the five dimensions. As a result, members of different societies can enhance their awareness of each other’s cultural background and its implications, as well as avoid misinterpretations while interacting with each other. The second strength that can be outlined is that the model can guide decisions in international business communication, negotiation, management and marketing. For example, a company can establish trust-based relationships with its international stakeholders by developing a strategy for interaction that will concentrate on similarities and eliminate differences among their perspectives. The third advantage of Hofstede’s model is that it offers a high level of prediction (Minkov, 2018). The theory uses a comprehensive approach by analysing individuals’ behaviour through five dimensions, which address significant aspects of populations’ lives.
The main limitation of Hofstede’s framework is a high level of generalisation (Aldred, 2018). The model does not consider the differences among individual members of societies, such as their personalities. For example, Japanese culture generally shows a high level of uncertainty avoidance but a Japanese person can have a positive attitude to change. Due to generalisation, Hofstede’s work also does not consider the impact of an individual’s gender, occupation and level of education while analysing their behaviour and attitudes. It means that although the theory can guide cross-cultural management, additional evaluation is necessary.
Hofstede’s model can be applied to various business-related and interpersonal scenarios. Chang, Tucker, Norton, Gass, and Javorski (2017) report that this approach can be employed in the field of education, while Lee and Herold (2016) address its usefulness in corporate sustainability management. The cultural dimensions theory can help international companies to reach an agreement in situations where they have different expectations due to their cultural backgrounds. In addition, Hofstede’s work can be applied to managing diversity in the workplace and establish a welcoming environment for employees. In summary, it is possible to say that although the framework has some limitations, it offers a reliable basis for understanding differences in values and behaviours among cultures. It can guide business decisions in international communication, minimise misunderstandings among representatives of different societies, and help individuals to evaluate each other’s and own actions through the lens of five dimensions.
Aldred, A. (2018). May 2018: Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model – Uses and limitations in fundraising. Web.
Browaeys, M. J., & Price, R. (2011). Understanding cross-cultural management (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Chang, T. H., Tucker, A. R., Norton, C. L., Gass, M. A., & Javorski, S. E. (2017). Cultural issues in adventure programming: Applying Hofstede’s five dimensions to assessment and practice. Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning, 17(4), 307-320.
Lee, K. H., & Herold, D. M. (2016). Cultural relevance in corporate sustainability management: A comparison between Korea and Japan. Asian Journal of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, 1(3). Web.
Minkov, M. (2018). A revision of Hofstede’s model of national culture: Old evidence and new data from 56 countries. Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, 25(2), 231-256.