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Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  800 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews
Intercultural cooperation and its importance for survival. People of other countries, of another generation, social class, job or organization, often think and act in ways that puzzle us. To these people, of course, we are the ones who behave in a surprising manner. What separates them from us is the culture in which we grew up. 'Culture' in this sense is not the same as ' ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 25th 1994 by Profile Books (first published March 1993)
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Mina Soare
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone, you lazy buggers
Recommended to Mina by: Meanings and Messages textbook
This is a book about culture, not stereotypes as much as statistically verified constants. As usual, I'm going to make my case on why you should read it rather than the Wikipedia summary (oh, yes, there are a few cliffnotes on the author's cultural dimensions Wiki page)

This book represents several decades of research, all around the globe, so nothing is passed off as "but those are the (insert nationality here), they're crazy". In his worldwide interviews and surveys, Hofstede discovered certain
The book gives you an insight of the cultural differences of nations and explains why behaviors/values/heroes/symbols have a certain meaning and how they start to evolve from inside the family. It is interesting to have a closer look into the "power distance" or the "avoidance uncertainty" concepts and understand how they reflect on people's mindsets and how they translate into organization's culture.

Still, I do believe the book is too long and that the author could have make it a more compact r
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both practical and theoretical, this is the only book that I know of that really describes and explains cultural differences on various levels (family, school, work...) AND on a more or less universal scale. While most other books on the matter either remain hopelessly vague, or loose themselves in academic abstractions, Hofstede really gets down to it. In parts the book might be a bit dated, but imho Hofstede's cultural dimensions are still essential in understanding cultural diversity.

In our g
Adrena Johnson mcdonald
Trudged Through It

I am currently working on my doctorate in global leadership, and I was hoping that this text would be a great resource for my program. Though the book contains some very good information and some intriguing insights, much of it is a very long recount of the authors' research, along with reasons why their research is so good and others' so lacking. The last few chapters were interesting but filled with so much opinion and culturally-laden "should" and "should not" statements tha
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Title may sound dry, but if you, like me, find cultural differences fascinating/annoying you really must read this book, or something similar. If you have an interest in international business or politics, you really should take advantage of this field of study. I found Geert Hofstede while trying to research the cultural challenges of the NATO (American) effort in Afghanistan. This is a non-judgmental recognition of how different cultures provide for the psychological needs of human nature. It ...more
Angelo John Lewis
I've read a lot of books about cultural differences or diversity, but Hofstede's masterwork is just on a different order than the rest. It is a research-based examination of national and organizational cultural differences across a number of domains, such as power distance differences, attitudes towards individualism and collectivism, gender cultures and several others. He then goes on to discuss implications of this research to intercultural and interorganizational encounters.

This is a must rea
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind is considered to be a classic work on cultural differences. The author has done ground breaking work using data comparing responses of IBM employees in various countries. The data reveals that there are differences between cultures on preferences.

Interpretation of data is always tricky, because correlation doesn't imply causation and even when your explanation of the effect seems plausible to you, it doesn't mean it's correct. Never trust your ow
Franklin Wang
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quickly browsed this classic book again. First read it about eight years ago and found it still stimulating. One thing dawned on me this time is that among the six dimensions of culture Hofstede lists: power distance, collectivism & individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation, and indulgence/restraint, U.S. and China are on the opposite side in five. No wonder we would differ in so many important ways.
The only thing that is common for both is masculinity, that b
Elvin Aliyev
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The first of its kind, this book is based on years of research Hofstede conducted on determining the national and organizational cultures. Must read for leaders working in a diverse global organizations.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book taught me a lot, Hofstede's model can be used on so many basis to classify the different cultures and seek understanding them. However, it's object to criticisms in some of its dimensions..
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most important book if you want to understand about cultural differences among culture.
Jason Lyle
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A must read for anyone working in international relations. Rather that be business or NGO work. Hofstede gives tools to connect cultures and allow us to see our own ethnocentricity at work.
Joao Azevedo
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
In times of globalization, understanding and accepting cultural diversity and appreciating other people's views about life and how human beings should relate to one another is increasingly important. In the late sixties, Dr. Geert Hofstede became interested in the cultural differences between countries and has researched this subject since then. This book presents his work for the general reader. It is not an easy book, but the interested reader will be able to fully understand the ideas; readin ...more
Mar 02, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took a long time for me to get through because it is packed with information. It is a fascinating study into "culture" and what that word really means. There is a large discussion of different elements that distinguish different cultures based on survey data. They show how countries differ from each other in terms of these elements, which I thought was quite interesting, to think about how someone from Japan or China might have a different idea of how to approach a particular situation comp ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to understand how cultures differ from each other, then this is a great book to read. While it does get deep into research methodology (a bit boring, but necessary), it also offers a lot of practical advice. This book also provides a lot of charts and lists with main points, so it is easy to find relevant information quickly. The bottom line is that cultural values were set deep in the past, but that they are continually evolving in response to events and experiences. If you work or ...more
Aug 27, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
This was a pretty interesting comparative perspective on culture (organizational and otherwise). It's easy to forget sometimes how the culture we're born into can influence our perspective, often in ways we're completely unaware of. And if one finds oneself engaged in pastimes such as...oh, I don't know...nation-building, it bears remembering that even something as Perfect and Flawless as American democracy can be difficult, if not downright impossible, to export to a nation or region that has a ...more
Allen Jr.
Apr 11, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: followership
This book is a thorough and useful exploration of the ramifications of culture on national and organizational differences.

In comparison to Hostede's book "Culture's Consequences", this work is intended to be more accessible and less of a professional research text. While I'm sure the author attained this aim, I still find "Cultures and Organizations" to be a very dense read: many of the best conclusions are to be found buried between tables and outlines of research surveys. Even as a mathematic
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
Interesting research from the 1960is at IBM, Hofstede using factor analysis, found 4 dimensions where national values are plotted (used data from over 50 countries; that latter study, with Minkov, had data from over 90 countries). 2 more dimensions were subsequently added in the third edition of this book. The authors contend that social class has culture; corporate culture is a different animal altogether, and has different dimensions, according to the authors. Despite the "global" world we liv ...more
Bryant Macfarlane
To be fair, the 'onion' and 'pyramid' models provided in the opening chapter are of use when applied broadly and the anecdotal evidence provided throughout the work is compelling on the surface. But then...
The fundamental issue at hand is the authors are trying very hard to force a 'cherry picked' body of research into a theory that is masquerading as a universal theory on mental modeling and cultural relativism. It simply falls flat when the primary thesis - here built from a survey of global
Mad Hab
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good book.

There are a lot definitions of what culture and what values are. Most of them are in the form of romantic poetry, personal experience and feelings. What Hofstedes actually did, they quantified value systems, gave them names, dimensions and showed how values for different cultures differ ( or cultures for different cultures differ, which way you like :)). However the most important stuff to take from the book is the fact that even Western countries differ a lot. This is e
Sep 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The book offers and synthesis of Geert Hofstede's scientific model of intercultural differences. It presents the details of the 5 factors differentiating cultural values (and much more).

It is a 'short' version (560 pages) of his work, easy to read and meant for non-academics. The long and detailed version of his academic work is found in his other book "Culture consequences".

It is important to buy the last edition. Compared to the previous edition, the last edition to this date (2010) brings s
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beetje een flauwe titel voor deze nieuwe (herwerkte) uitgave van Hofstedes Cultures and Organisations Software of the mind. De dimensies blijven echter essentieel voor wie enig inzicht wil krijgen in cultuurverschillen. De concrete aanpak van Hofstede blijft verfrissend in dit studiegebied waarin nogal wat boeken verschijnen met abstract academisch getheoretiseer...naast ook een hele stapel boeken die helaas niet verder komen dan enkele goedbedoelde clichés.

Dit boek zou in heel wat opleidingen (
Mar 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is interesting, but the author tends to essentialize and naturalize cultural and national identity, ignoring the fact that there are usually more differences within groups than there are between them. Statistically speaking, it is easy to find even tiny ggregate differences between groups if the sample size is large enough; unfortunately these (usually small) statistically significant differences are translated into the media and popular culture as binary oppositions (i.e., Asians are ...more
Bill Lalonde
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting book giving a lucid exposition of Hofstede's attempts at cultural quantification. Also notably it argues for observing different moralities arising from different cultural experiences, yet also contains arguments in favor of the authors' moral particularities. To be fair, this is lampshaded implicitly when calling for world citizens to learn about others' values while remaining rooted in their own.
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Concise and detailed insights of how societies breathe in & out through its cultural lungs , to each and every scrutinised aspects of its daily functioning- stereotyping, barriers to languages,semantics etc. But , albeit being a great socio-litterary, it is quite long to discuss on visible cultural differences. But amazing Hofstede, he got it right to be the most cited European sociologist in today's sociology.
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One if my favorite book that explain so much to me.. It is like fundamentals that everyone should learn. For business, for tourists, for people who want to understand more about country's culture. Still, i miss more data, especially about young peoples, subcultures.. Mr. Hofstede could extend his research.
Jan 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"culture.. a software of one's mind which differentiate one human group from others. Culture in this sense includes values"

Must-read for those who majoring in marketing and management. Those who also interested in managing cultural differences as well as planning to establish a multi-national company or negotiate with other foreign people.

Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The masterwork for the general public by Prof. Geert Hofstede, who with his four dimensions of culture singlehandedly laid the basis for the academic study of intercultural differences, which in its turn became the inspiration for the flourishing consultancy world of today. Everybody in this field stands on the shoulders of Hofstede. The book is a pleasure to read and highly recommended.
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had so many questions about what it is to be human, what is environmental and what is genetic. This author takes a look at extensive data from studies from IBM which traverse the globe, and he charts patterns of human behavior. He show which countries value independence or being in groups, which are more or less hierarchical, more or less masculine or feminine, etc., etc. I love this book.
Jul 21, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: finished
In my thesis I worked with issues of multicultural collaboration in developing software. This book gave me clues on how to approach the corelation between cultural issues and the technical/organizational ones. Although highly critisized or not so popular by most researchers whom I met or with whom I shared a research group, I found this book and theory can be practical and easier to use.
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what you guys think ?? 1 1 Jan 21, 2018 11:32PM  
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Gerard Hendrik Hofstede is an influential Dutch writer on the interactions between national cultures and organizational cultures, and is an author of several books including Culture's Consequences and Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, co-authored by his son Gert Jan Hofstede. Hofstede's study demonstrated that there are national and regional cultural groupings that affect the behav ...more
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“In most collectivist cultures, direct confrontation of another person is considered rude and undesirable. The word no is seldom used, because saying “no” is a confrontation; “you may be right” and “we will think about it” are examples of polite ways of turning down a request. In the same vein, the word yes should not necessarily be inferred as an approval, since it is used to maintain the line of communication: “yes, I heard you” is the meaning it has in Japan.” 12 likes
“...which animal the ruler should impersonate depends strongly on what animals the followers are.” 4 likes
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