Critical analysis of Hofstede’s model of cultural dimensions: To what extent are his findings reliable, valid and applicable to organisations in the 21st century?
Global markets are changing faster than ever and increasing international competition makes it necessary for managers to understand not only the domestic culture but also the host country’s culture. Derived from globalisation, successful cross-cultural management is gaining in importance and its need for understanding of cultural differences becomes essential. Because of this it is argued that, with the increasing importance of a cross-cultural understanding, Hofstede’s (1980) model of cultural dimensions gains proportional importance and attracts notice at the same time. His study is widely used in global operating organisations within trainings and workshops. The first step of effective cross-cultural management is the awareness that cultural differences exist and domestic strategies might fail in host countries. Even though, Hofstede’s (1980) cultural study is the most important one and widely known, there are many other cultural studies, which are only partly supporting his study. For each and every model of cultural identifications arouse praise and criticism and Hofstede was not spared by criticism. The main criticism refers to the methodology Hofstede used and many authors questioned its validity and reliability. Another major critique is that the nearly 40-years old survey findings are out-dated and not of any modern value anymore. Addressing the elaborated criticisms from the literature, a personal replication study within the two countries of Germany and the UK is undertaken in order to evaluate the validity, reliability and applicability in the 21st century. This study has developed own dimension scores for Masculinity/ Femininity (MAS) and Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) for Germany and the UK and compared and evaluated these with Hofstede’s findings. The findings of this study vary from Hofstede’s findings, as according to this study the UK is more masculine and has a higher Uncertainty Avoidance score than Germany. These findings do not support Hofstede’s findings and further cultural research is recommended.
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