Alja's Reviews > Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, Third Edition

Cultures and Organizations by Geert Hofstede
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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 than yours" on the basis that other dimensions don't correlate with that of the Hofstede model. Overall, the book is not optimally organized and could probably use a major revision and rewrite in the next edition; the final chapter is unusually refreshing as it brings in a broad evolutionary perspective, but the rest of the books often resorts to generalized, even simplistic explanations that ignore research from other scientific fields.

The book certainly isn't casual reading material, and we must be careful about the conclusions we draw from the presented research, as the authors note on a few occasions. The key message is that country scores presented in the book shouldn't be used to make judgments on individuals based on their nationality, but rather to become aware, learn about, and embrace cultural differences that exist even in our globalized world based on the environment (rather than a nation) in which we grew up. A crucial takeaway is also that we should be wary of blindly importing management, educational and other practices from different cultural contexts. There is much we can learn from each other, but practices work better if we modify them to match our cultural values better, and this book can be a starting point on the journey of discovering our shared core values.
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March 27, 2019 – Shelved
March 27, 2019 – Finished Reading

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