Critical Organizational Analysis

While cultures have been explored for centuries by anthropologists, the phenomenon had been largely ignored in other fields of research until several decades ago. The explosion of interest in cross-cultural issues in management, psychology, and education was triggered by Hofstede‘s Culture’s Consequences. Although a number of similar studies had been conducted before.

Hofstede was the first to offer a model of culture derived from a large international sample with fairly advanced, for its time, research design, and data analysis techniques. The outcome of what is now known as the IBM study described and ranked countries along several cultural dimensions with a concise set of quantitative indices. The study provided an elegant model of
cultural differences and made it easy to operationalize culture and include it as a variable in various models.

The need for quantitative culture indices became evident through their popularity. Hofstede‘s Culture’s Consequences is a ―super classic,‖ having been cited about 5000 times. Interest in Hofstede‘s model remains very high even decades later, cited on average 288 times each year in 2000–7 according to the Web of Science; Google Scholar indicates twice as many citations. Furthermore, Hofstede‘s cultural indices have been used in over 500 empirical studies.

The effect of Hofstede‘s Culture’s Consequences on the field of cross-cultural studies has been tremendous. By and large, all subsequent research in the area has been based on a Hofstedean approach to studying culture. Even though Hofstede never claimed that his approach was the only right way, and in fact was very explicit about possible alternatives, subsequent research generally did not deviate from the paradigm he described.