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Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,051 ratings  ·  90 reviews
Since its original hardcover publication in 1991, this trailblazing work has stirred a deep and wide response, selling over 100,000 copies around the world, with translations in 15 languages. Professor Geert Hofstede's 30 years of field research on cultural differences and the software of the mind helps us look at how we think - and how we fail to think - as members of gro ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published September 12th 2004 by McGraw-Hill (first published March 1993)
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Helen You have to be pretty educated (like graduate-school level) to read this book easily.
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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 so much as statistical 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 dimension
Aug 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Nov 06, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Angelo John Lewis
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Allan Leung
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I decided to look into this a bit further after seeing it referenced in Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers since I found the explanation for Korean Air super interesting, but also because I wanted to make better sense of my mixed experience of growing up as an Asian Australian in a traditional Chinese household within a broader Western society using Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions.

This book did not provide the answer, its very theoretical and like all textbooks very difficult to keep interested in readi
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
Regurgitated Weberian sociology but as a text of its descriptors, with this one more ‘facts-adapted-to-suit-theory’, albeit one of an Anglo/Protestant (Calvinist/Lutheran) variety, very imperialist/colonialist mindset (but dislikes ‘Scandinavian culture’), since after all the ‘transition to a market economy’ after formal independence of the ‘developing world’ was a necessity if powerful money rather than outright seizure of assets and plunder were sanctioned rules of habit. But I understand stud ...more
Mar 18, 2018 rated it liked it
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
Joao Azevedo
May 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Aug 27, 2009 rated it liked it
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
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
Mad Hab
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Franklin Wang
Jun 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 both
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
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
Bill Lalonde
Jan 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Mar 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
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. ...more
Elvin P. Aliyev
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
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.. ...more
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.
Mar 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is the result of decades of research in national cultural differences, which is both its main strength and weakness. Its strength lies in the breadth of research and detailed explanations of how the six dimensions of Hofstede's model are reflected in everything from family, education, workplace, and other institutions. At the same time, decades of research have made the authors somewhat dogmatic and condescending -- I'm specifically referring to parts insisting that "our model is better ...more
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana-Maria Bujor
Sep 04, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
This is an older book that still holds up quite well today. I like that it tackled some of our perceptions of the world: my culture is the default, my way is the way to do things and the others are just weird. It shows how not being culturally aware is a recipe for disaster in business and other domains, how values shape us and the companies we work for, and how intercultural communication is very, very hard to pull off.
I especially liked the parts that show biases in studies and manuals themse
Bruna Menegatti
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A book of great value for those who work with multicultural stakeholders, especially to deal better with customers, understanding your company or recruiting. Understanding possible differences may be useful when seeking to cooperate or understand how to approach certain topics fruitfully.
It is not a 'commercial book' in the sense of a short and concise read, but rather a discussion about an extensive research conducted by the authors, examining the results and their practical implications.
Qing Wang
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Nationality constraints rationality."

A very interesting book that reveals and reminds us the strong and long-lasting influences of the environment where we grow up.

Something we may take to be personality nevertheless can still be traced back to the environment, the society, the invisible hand of culture that shapes one's mind. One can fight it or embrace it, either way, it's not to be ignored.
Sam Cantele
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Perhaps one of the best books I read about intercultural relations and business. Interesting is Hofstede's cultural framework outlined in the book. There a myriad of cultures in the world and the higher is their cultural asymmetry, made up of common features, the best they bond accordingly. More information I extrapolated for my dissertation's writing. ...more
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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.” 13 likes
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