Course in HR studies in three parts

by torstein @ escenic

Part III:

Comparing cultures

Aren’t you the Linux guy?


MSc in Human Resource Management

University of Stirling

— So I love this stuff 😉

Why talk about cultures?

Why talk about cultures?

Aren’t we all the same?

Aren’t we all the same?


How to compare and talk

about cultures

Geert Hofstede


Geert Hofstede

  • Studied 116 000 IBM employees in 50 countries in the 1980s
  • One of the largest intercultural studies in the world
  • Discovered 5 dimensions of differences

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions ⍼

  1. Power distance
  2. Uncertainty avoidance
  3. Individualism — collectivism
  4. Masculinity — femininity
  5. Long term — short term orientation

Power distance

To what degree is unequal distribution of power accepted by society?

Uncertainty avoidance

How uncomfortable are members of society with ambiguous situations and have created beliefs and institutions to avoid them?

Individualism — collectivism

The tendency to take care of oneself and one’s family versus the tendency to work together for the collective good of society

Masculinity — femininity

To what degree do highly assertive, masculine values predominate versus showing sensitivity and concern for others’ welfare?

Masculinity — femininity


  • Careers are important
  • Assertiveness appreciated
  • Oversell yourself
  • Aggressiveness, competitiveness, decisiveness
  • Gender roles are clearly differentiated
  • Fewer women in more qualified jobs

Masculinity — femininity


  • Stress on life quality
  • Assertiveness ridiculed
  • Soft, yielding, intuitive skills are rewarded
  • Undersell yourself
  • More women in more qualified jobs
  • Gender roles minimised

Masculinity — femininity

Most masculine countries in the world:

  1. Japan
  2. USA

Masculinity — femininity

Most feminine countries in the world:

  1. Sweden
  2. Norway

Long term — short term orientation

The ability to pursue long-term and general goals versus short-term gain and advantage

Let’s look at ourselves

Norway & Denmark


Norway & Bangladesh


Norway & Holland


Norway & USA


Fons Trompenaars


Fons Trompenaars

  • identified 7 dimensions

Fons Trompenaars

  1. Universalism vs. Particularism
  2. Individualism vs. Communitarianism
  3. Neutral vs. Emotional
  4. Specific vs. Diffuse
  5. Achievement vs. Ascription
  6. Sequential vs. Synchronic


Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory

Trompenaars’ model of national culture differences

→ Huczynski & Buchanan, “Organizational Behaviour”, 2001

That’s it

Course in HR studies in three parts - 3/3

✏ torstein @ escenic dot com