Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede
Gerard Hendrik Hofstede
Born 2 October 1928 (1928-10-02) (age 83)
Citizenship Netherlands Netherlands
Nationality Netherlands Netherlands
Fields Social psychology, Anthropology

Geert Hofstede, born as Gerard Hendrik Hofstede (2 October 1928 in Haarlem, Netherlands) is an influential Dutch social psychologist and anthropologist.[1] He is a well-known pioneer in his research of cross-cultural groups and organizations. He has played a major role in developing a systematic framework for assessing and differentiating national cultures and organizational cultures. His most notable work has been in developing the cultural dimensions theory. His studies demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groups that influence behavior of societies and organizations, and that these are persistent over time. He is also an author of several books including Culture's Consequences[2] and Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, co-authored with his son Gert Jan Hofstede.[3]

Upon his retirement in 1993, Geert has visited numerous universities worldwide to educate students on his findings based on his data, 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.[4]


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.[1] When World War II ended, Geert Hofstede was seventeen and had always lived in the Netherlands with 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 to translate into a lifelong career in cross-cultural research.[5]

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.[1]

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.[5]

Research experiences

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.[1] 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.[5] 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.[1] 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.[6]

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[7] Hofstede replied to this critique (see details in the list of Hofstede's publications below). McSweeney responded to this reply.[8] 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.[9] In a recent article in the Academy of Management’s flagship journal, The Academy of Management Review, Galit Ailon deconstructs Hofstede’s book Culture’s Consequences by mirroring it against its own assumptions and logic.[10] 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.[1]

Personal life

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 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.[1][4]

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.[1] In 2006, a Geert Hofstede Chair for Cultural Diversity was established[by whom?] at Maastricht University,[11] and in 2010, the School of Business and Economics launched a fund named after Geert to encourage activities around multicultural interactions and research.[12] In 2009 Reputation Institute, which "recognizes individuals who have greatly contributed to the field of reputation through both scholarship and practice",[13] nominated Hofstede as the Best Scholar of the year.

In 2004, the Hanze University Groningen, the Netherlands established the Geert Hofstede Lecture, a bi-annual conference in the area of intercultural communication. In 2006, Maastricht University, the Netherlands inaugurated a Geert Hofstede Chair in cultural diversity[18] 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.[19]

In 2008 six European universities united to create the Master in International Communication (MIC), Hanze University Groningen have named themselves the Geert Hofstede Consortium[20]


  • 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 (2010). "The GLOBE debate: Back to relevance". Journal of International Business Studies (Sage Publications) 41 (8): 1339–46. SSRN 1697436. 

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Geert". Geert Hofstede. Retrieved 29 March 2008. 
  2. ^ Hofstede, Geert (2001). Culture's Consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. ISBN 9780803973237. OCLC 45093960. 
  3. ^ Hofstede, Geert; Hofstede, Gert Jan (2005). Cultures and organizations: software of the mind (Revised and expanded 2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780071439596. OCLC 57069196. 
  4. ^ a b Personal Communication with P.Singh 
  5. ^ a b c "Culture Does Not Exist—An Interview with Professor Geert Hofstede". Centre for Intercultural Learning. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  6. ^ An Interview with Geert Hofstede. Academy of of Management Executive. 2004-02. JSTOR 4166037. 
  7. ^ McSweeney, B. (2002a) Hofstede's Identification of National Cultural Differences – A Triumph of Faith a Failure of Analysis, Human Relations, 55.1, 89–118.
  8. ^ McSweeney, B. (2002b) The Essentials of Scholarship: A Reply to Hofstede, Human Relations, 55.11, 1363–1372
  9. ^ 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
  10. ^ 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
  11. ^ "Geert Hofstede chair on Cultural Diversity". Maastricht University. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  12. ^ "Geert Hofstede Fund". Maastricht University. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "RI Hall of Fame". Reputation Institute. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  14. ^ MTA honorary member
  15. ^ Honorary Fellows of IACCP
  16. ^ AIB Fellows' Eminent Scholar Award
  17. ^ NBU Doctors Honoris Causa
  18. ^ Geert Hofstede Chair in cultural diversity
  19. ^ Geert Hofstede Fund
  20. ^ Geert Hofstede Consortium

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Geert Hofstede — est un psychologue néerlandais né en 1928. Il a été inspiré par le culturalisme. Son approche de la culture est basée sur la définition donnée par l anthropologue américain Kluckhohn « la culture est la manière de penser, de sentir et de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Geert Hofstede — es un influyente experto en el campo de las relaciones entre culturas nacionales y entre culturas dentro de las organizaciones. Es autor de muchos libros, incluyendo Culture s Consequences (Consecuencias de la cultura, 2a. edición revisada, 2001) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Geert Hofstede — Gerard Hendrik Hofstede, bekannt als Geert Hofstede (* 2. Oktober 1928 in Haarlem), ist ein niederländischer Experte für Kulturwissenschaften. Er ist emeritierter Professor für Organisationsanthropologie und Internationales Management an der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Geert Hofstede — Gerard Hendrik Hofstede (3 October 1928, Haarlem) es un influyente antropólogo y escritor holandés en el campo de las relaciones entre culturas nacionales y entre culturas dentro de las organizaciones. Es autor de muchos libros, incluyendo… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Hofstede — Geert Hofstede Geert Hofstede est un psychologue néerlandais né en 1928. Il a été inspiré par le culturalisme. Son approche de la culture est basée sur la définition donnée par l anthropologue américain Kluckhohn « la culture est la manière… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Geert — est un prénom masculin néerlandais d’origine germanique, signifiant «celui avec la lance». c’est l’équivalent masculin du prénom Gertrude. Son équivalent français est Gérard. Personnalités Geert Bourgeois, avocat et homme politique belge Geert… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hofstede — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Geert Hofstede (* 1928), niederländischer Experte für Kulturwissenschaften Henk Hofstede (* 1951), niederländischer Songwriter, Musiker und bildender Künstler Hofstede ist eine Ortsbezeichnung: Bochum… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hofstede, Geert H. — (b. 1928) Gen Mgt Dutch academic and business executive. Identified four work related dimensions of national culture, thus providing a framework for understanding cultural differences within business. His work, first published in Culture’s… …   The ultimate business dictionary

  • Interkulturelle Zusammenarbeit — Interkulturelle Zusammenarbeit. Kulturen – Organisationen – Management (englischer Originaltitel: Culture s Consequences) ist der Titel eines ursprünglich 1980 erschienen Buches des niederländischen Kulturwissenschaftlers Geert Hofstede.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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