The research and data presented by Hofstede and his colleagues presents a very interesting perspective on how to compare and define cultures. The Hofstede Centre also has a unique interactive on their website that shows the cultural traits of different countries, utilizing an interactive bar graph highlighting six key components for comparison, “power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, pragmatism, and indulgence” (Hofstede, Hofestede, and Minkov, 2010). When I looked up Spain’s results on the Hofstede Centre’s interactive graph, I was surprised that this country was less individualistic than other European countries I have visited. As noted on the Hofstede website, “on the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after her/himself and her/his immediate family” (Hofstede and Hofstede, 2010). I have never visited Spain but made an assumption about this culture based on the knowledge that I have acquired from other sources over the course of time. While Spain’s results surprised me, this country is still considered individualistic when compared to Egypt, which I did not find surprising based on other assumptions I have made (Hofstede, Hofstede, and Minkov, 2010). The results from this comparison between Spain, the United Kingdom, and Egypt are represented in the graph below:
Note: Retrieved from http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html
I find Hofstede’s research and resources to be very useful for educators, especially in classes such as social studies and psychology. Educating children about cultural diversity will enable them to appreciate and understand how easy it is to make conclusions about things based on the knowledge we already have in hand. An affective tool for all children is to learn the benefits of continuously seeking out new knowledge throughout their lives to better influence the assumptions and decisions that they make. As stated by Hofestede and Hofestede:
“In our globalized world most of us can belong to many groups at the same time. But to get things done, we still need to cooperate with members of other groups carrying other cultures. Skills in cooperation across cultures are vital for our common survival.”
If more people are educated about understanding and accepting the differences of others, cooperation amongst varying diverse groups will be more likely. The resources and tools presented by Hofstede are resources that I intend to keep in my back pocket to potentially utilize down the road in my academic and teaching career. The information presented on these sites is very intuitive and interactive, providing a multitude of learning opportunities.
Hofstede, G., & Hofstede, G. J. Geert and Gert Jan Hofstede. Retrieved from http://www.geerthofstede.nl/index
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., & Minkov, M. (2010). Culture’s and organizations, software of the mind: Intercultural communication and its importance for survival (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill.