Reflections on cross-cultural theories: Hofstede

reflections on cross-cultural theories Oct 13, 2020

Geert Hofstede started his research in the 1970s. His theory of cultural dimensions has become a dominant paradigm in the field. People around the world have followed in his footsteps. Those certified in Hofstede's dimensions, teachers, trainers and others duplicate his model. Other specialists in the field continue to stick to Hofstede's basic assumptions. Fons Trompenaars developed his dimensions reminiscent of Hofstede and set up his own institute for certification. Erin Meyer training at INSEAD. "The Business school for the world" compares "the French", "the English", and "the Indians" to make her point. The extent and influence of this dominant paradigm is difficult to fathom.

The problem is, we are not in the 1970s anymore. How on earth can we continue to consider individual people as nations and reduce cross-cultural interaction to a comparison between nations? "The Japanese are like this; the French are like that; the Brazilians are like that." Who are "the Japanese"? Who are "the French"? Who are "the Brazilians"? Rather than helping people to think beyond stereotypes, the use of nation as a category is problematic and pushing people into stereotyping. 
People are not nations.