Importance+of+Hofstedes+study+of+cultural+dimensions+to+the+field+of+crosscultural+communication

Importance+of+Hofstedes+study+of+cultural+dimensions+to+the+field+of+crosscultural+communication
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No.儿一12

一些垫!二一

T玎垤EEDUCATIoN

November-December2008

ImportanceofHofstede’sstudyofculturaldimensionstothefieldof

CrOSS—CUItUraIcommunication

周斌

Abstra【ct:ln

1980.Culture’sConsequences:International

Dmrences

in

Work—RelatedValue8showedGeertHofstede’sstudyoffive

culturaldimensions:individualism

versus

collectivism,masculinity

versus

femininity。powerdistance,uncertaintyavoidanceand

lon芽1erul

versus

shor|.—1em

orientationtolire.This

essay

discussesthistheory’sweaknessandusefulness

as

well

asitsimportance

to

the

cmBs—

culturalcommunicationthatwillgivereadersa

betterunderstandingaboutthisculturaldimension.ItconcludesthatGeertHofstede’sstudyof

thesefiveculturaldimensionsis

startingpoint

to

thebeginners

toknowaboutthisfieldandthe

governmentoffices

evencan

establish

economicpoliciesaccording

to

thespecificculture.Itisreally

usefulresearchto

thefieldof

cross--cultural

communication.

Keywords:Geert

Hofstede:cuhuraldimensions:rmss—cultuTalcommunication

中图分类号:G644.5文献标识码:A文章编号:1672—8181(2008)11~12—0093-02

GreetHofstede,aDutch

management

researcher,hasmade

surveyaboutculturalvalueto

morethan

100,000employeesofIBM

in66countriesfrom1967

to1973.Theresultwas

showedinCulture’s

Consequences:InternationalDifferencesinWork-RelatedValues

in1980.where

it

was

deftnedintofour

cuhural

dimensions:

individualismversns

collectivism--the

extent

to

whichindividuals

are

integrated

into

groups,

masculinity

versus

femininity-...assertivenessandcompetitiveness

versus

madesty

and

caring,powerdistance--theextent

to

whichthe

less

powerful

membersoforganizationsand

institutions(1ike

the

family)expectand

accept

that

power

is

distributed

unequally,

uncertainty

avoidance一一intolerance

foruncertainty

and

ambiguity.In

1987。

anotherculturaldimensionstudynamedChineseValue

Survey(CVs)was

translatedfromChineseintodifferentlanguagesandanswered

by50male

and50

femalestudents

respectivelyin

23

countries

aroundthe5continents,thenit

became

thefifthculturaldimension:

long—-tem

versus

8hon—-te珊orientation

to

life,whichincludesthevalues

as

thrift,hardwork,keepingfaceandorderingrelationships.

(McSweeney。2002).This

essay

will

discusses

thistheory’s

weaknessandusefulnessaB

well鹊its

importance

to

the

c瑚r

cultural

communication

that

will

give

the

Feaders

better

understandingaboutthisculturaldimension.

AftertheresultofGeertHofstede'sstudyofculturaldimension

waspublished,thedispute

on

thisresearch

hasalwaysexisted.And

there

ale

fourmainargumentsaboutit.Firstly,culture-levelstudies

mustinclude

an

adequatelyrepresentativerangeofcurrentlyexisting

nations。thoughthedatawere

collectedfrommorethan

100,000

peoplein66countries,theaveragenumber

in

each

country

wassmall,andthat

for

some

CORntries

it

was

even

minuscule,for

example,in

Pakistan,despiteof

its

largepopulation,only

103

employeesofthatcountriesweresurveyed,andinSingapore,even

merely

58

respondents

have

completed

the

survey(McSweeney,2002).Such

smallnumberofpeople’sview

cannotrepresentthe

whole

nation’s

standpoint,especially

in

some

multi--cultural

countries.Also,thedata

comesfrom

singleindustry

and

even

singlecompany,IBM,whichhasastrongcorporatecultureandmayhave

affectedtheemployees’values.So,onecompanycannottellthe

wholestory.Itis

not

representative.Secondly,Hofstede'sdatawhich

were

collectedmorethan40years

ago

is

seemed叫t_—弋“L-da把now.as

culturesare

not

still,they

are

always

changing.For

example。inHofstede’scultural

dimension,China’s

lon旷—tem

orientation

rankingthehighest

0fallcountriessurveywhich

meansthat

the

Chineseprefer

to

savingmoney,but

intoday’s

society,船lotsof

peopleinChinainfluencedbytheWest

andhavethe

tendency

to

be

closely

to

the¥horP’’-teTmorientationto

life.A

recent.survey

indicatesthat

57%ofChineseyoungpeopledare

to

consumewith

tomorrow'smoney,and

only48%ofrespondentssaid”theydonl

want

to

betroubled

by

debt

issue.”(GuangdongNews,2003).

Interestingly,the

survey

alsorevealsthat

familydebt

ratiohasreached122

percent

and

155

percentin

Beijingand

Shanghai

respectively.However,in

theUnitedStatedwhichiscategorisedinto

theshort--termorientation.tIleaveragepersonaldebtratiowasonly

l15percentin2003(Guangdong

News,2003).nis

isbecausealong

with

the

economic

development

in

China,people’s

values

are

changing,especiallytheyoungpeople,manyofthem

even

reject

the

traditionalvaluesthat

theyheld

ontointhe

past.Thirdly,according

to

Hofstede’sresearch,thecultureisconsistentwiththenationstate

andculturesfollow

politicalboundaries.However,there

areoften

variousformsofculturesexistin

one

country,thenifthepolities

in

countrychanges,willtheculturestherechanges,too?AsMcSweeney

(2002,cited

from

Conner,1978)pointsthat“nations”mayfissure,

coalesce,combine,be

combined,expand,orcontact.An

example西

this

is

the

integration

ofHong

Kong

intoChinain

1997,is

it

believablethatwhatwasmeasuredintheIBMsubsidiaryinHens

Kongisalso

true

fortheentireChinesenation?Also,theIBMunitin

Taiwanwasalsosurveyed,andthereweresomeradicaldifferencesbetweenthenationalculturedimensionsmeasurementsforeachof

these"nations’and

none

ofthefourdimensional

scores

were

similar

(McSweeney,2002.citedfromPaik

et

a1.,1996).Then

afterTaiwan’

integration

to

China,which

region’svaluerepresentsthewhole

nationofChina?ItseemstllatHofstede’sresultsdonot

takethis

dimensionintoconsideration.Finally,thereissomeculturalbiasin

山e

research.Becausetlleresearchteamis

consistent

of

theAmericans

andEuropeans,the

questions

asked

8,8

well

as

the

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