Magoosh GRE

Cross culture awareness for managers

| December 22, 2012


“A Fish only discovers its need for water when it is no longer in it. Our own culture is like water to a fish. It sustains us. We live and breathe through it. What one may regard as essential, a certain level of material wealth for example, may not be so vital to other cultures.” (Trompenaars et al, 1999, p.20)

To put it in simple term, culture is inclusive of the information, principles and awareness of the society. Demonstrate the different method of people who lives in various environments.

With a wide range of approach in which cultural ideas are carried out. According to Ziauddin Sardar their features are as follows: Their aim is to carry out subjective study of cultural practices and how they are associated to control. It includes culture as both the object of study and the locations of political criticism and action. They are devoted to an ethical valuation of society and to political action (Olivier Serrat,  2008).

“A value is a conception, explicit or implicit, distinctive of an individual or characteristic of a group, of the desirable which influences the selection from available modes, means and ends of actions.” Values are feelings with arrows to them,i.e. it has a plus and minus pole. Hofstede, G (2003)

A culture is adjusted in the direction of history and the future is the repetition of the  history. Culture primarily directed to the present does not involve past or future. individuals are directly relate it with  demands of everyday life. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Past events of culture does not affect the future prospects of culture. Efficient   way of interacting with the people in other countries, we should look into its deep roots on different cultures as per Geert Hofstede.  Well understanding and its implication, the data will reduce concern and frustration. Apart  from the Geert Hofstede will give you ‘edge of understanding’ which convert to more flourishing results. Below mentioned are the five dimensions:

(Luciara N and Richard S, 2009)

Power distance:

It is true to say that the less developed and low powerful associates believe that power is dispersed unequally. (Provenmodel, 2005)


The true face of nature is that the people in the society are selfish, i.e. they are concerned for themselves and the family members only. (Provenmodel, 2005)


The leading communal values are success, money, and things. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Uncertainty avoidance:

Nature is place where uncertainty happens, so the individuals living in that society are feared by the unhappening scenarios and feels that it is wise to avoid such scenarios. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Long Term Orientation:

It represents the values like economy, determination, and conventional value of social obligations. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Trompenaar and  Hampden –Turner gathered data over 10 years  using a process that  relied on generous  respondents  , predicament  or distinct tendencies. Here the problem consisted of two options which are mentioned as follow:-

(Anonymous , N.D. )

Universalism vs. Particularism:

Universalism is the ideas/practices which can be applied everywhere, high universalism countries and these are close adhere to business contracts while particularism are those circumstances which dictate how ideas/practices apply; high particularism countries often modify contracts. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Individualism vs. Communitarianism:

In Individualism, people as individuals and countries with high individualism are included, and are stress personal and individual matters which assumes great personal responsibility. On the other hand, in communitarianism public look upon selves as part of group and value group-related issues and take committee decisions for which they are joint responsibility. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Neutral vs. Emotional:

Neutral: culture in which emotions not shown. In high neutral countries, people maintain serenity. While in emotional, emotions are shown in open and they act as they are, i.e. they don’t behave in different way, they behave naturally. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Specific vs. Diffuse:

In Specific, huge public areas are used by many while small areas are looked after closely. In Diffuse, public and private areas are  similar in size wherein public areas are guarded as it is common with the private areas. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Achievement vs. Ascription:

In Achievement culture, it doesn’t matter who does it, what matters is how is it done (job, performance, etc.) while Ascription culture is truly based on who does it and what is done. (Provenmodel, 2005)

Time:- In simple way, it means the whether the role is done one by one or all the things are done together. Sequential means that the activity is conducted in a series or pattern wherein the line of performance is pre decided. Synchronous means all things are done together, i.e. multi tasking. The last method is present v/s future. (Provenmodel, 2005)

The Environment:

Inner-directed people believes in control of outcomes while Outer-directed people are opposite to them.(Provenmodel, 2005)

Let us see the comparison between Hofstede and Trompenaars which are out of seven dimensions of Trompenaars, two are closely reflected in Hofstede’s  dimensions. Also there is a practical similarity between their communitarians value orientation. Trompenaars and hofstede’s studies are not entirely similar, Hofstede’s power index is related to how the status is accorded and to the power distance that is acceptable with the society, while Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner has not discussed anything about power distance.

Trompenaars achievement value orientation is related to Hofstede’s power distance index. Which shows that status is accorded not by achievement but by the nature, this gives greater acceptability to power distances. Trompenaars other dimensions seem to focus on the feelings, and the extent to which they are expressed. Thus it only focuses on the behavioural aspect, not on the value. Trompenaar’s universalism value orientation holds relationships above the rules, which appears to relate to hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimension and also to collectivist dimension to some extent.

Trompenaars specific value orientation is not identical to any of the Hofstede’s dimensions. However, human time relationship and Hall’s polychromatic and monochromic time perceptions are quite similar to each other. There is also a similarity in their findings. For eg. according to them, india and japan are weak as far as individualism is concerned, on thte other hand UK, Denmark and USA are comparatively individualistic.

According to Hogget’s and Luthans, the difference between the two studies is due to the difference in time frames in which they were conducted. Thus, Hofstede’s findings are becoming outdated. For eg. mexico’s step towards  being global, can be taken as a moving away from its communitarian values. According to Trompenaars findings, communist countries that is  Hungary, Russia and CrechRepublic are quite individualistic, with a communist past. According to Trompenaars, UK and the North America have egalitarian cultures, while, Spain and France are Hierarchical. As per Hofstede’s research spain and france are high when it comes to power distance as compared to UK and the North Ammerica.

Trompnaars and Hofsdete hold different views about Germany. According to the former, Germany’s corporate culture is hierarchical, while the latter considers Germany as low in terms of power distance. Trompenaars research is extensive, he has examined corporate cultures in terms of nationality, for which he introduced another dimension named equality versus hierarchy.

Now contrasting the two approaches  of the Geert Hofstede , dutch  expert and Fons trompenaars & Charles  Hampden-Turner. The findings  and studies of Geert hofstede and Fons Trompenaars have been adopted by many businesses, for the purpose of understanding the differences in individual and organizational cultures across the globe. Other  anthropologists, sociologist have grave misgivings and are  important for analysis used by Hofstede. Hofstede’s 5 dimensions have a strange similarity to national character studies that were conducted in 1940’s and WW II on which intensive research was carried out by researchers, the research was spoilt and was not of any use because it was prone to bias and simply created sterotypes of other cultures. Hofstede and trompenaars work should not be associated with WW ii studies, except the fact that lessons learnt from the past should be remembered.

In the current state of affairs, anthropologists might be uncomfortable in popping down the trap of understanding the culture to “5 dimensions of culture” which can be notched up. (Hassoun R, 2006)

Similarly, Trompenaars and Turner have framed a seven dimensions model, which  can be taken as varying from the idea of reducing cultural dimensions. Culture, as defined by most anthropologists is that which is adapted and passed to next generations and the structure through which the world is viewed cannot be condensed into a set of simplistic parameters. (Hassoun R, 2006)

The Anthropological have looked into the model given by Hofstede and Trompenaars and Turner. But the point to be noted here is that in the anthropological technique concentrated on an overall knowledge of cultures and the sub-cultures. The problem could occur in anthropological approach which will be like raising cultural proficiency in a small guidance wherein the psychological pattern for understanding cultural complexity matters a lot and have significant affect on it. When the guidance which is provided gets completed, it takes bit more time to know the real competency which itself is also a as a procedure. It is very realistic to know that there is desperate need to be patient with good listening skills and open mindedness to grasp the knowledge of different culture which will then guide to know cultural competency. (Hassoun R, 2006)

The personal features on the behaviour was not identified by both, Hofstede and Trompenaars. The dimensions of their theories has bifurcation on cultures but what they failed to know and provide guidance was that how to work with some specific cultures. Apart from this, no declaration could be placed ahead that the seven dimensions were the only one and the list was full. Authors such as including Ohmae (Borderless World) and Levitt (Globalisation of Markets) didn’t went ahead with the thing that there is need for different companies to admit there is no similarity in cultures of countries in which they operate (which was said by Trompenaars and Hofstede), rather they said that the world is one and is not filled with different cultures and different countries. (ProvenModel 2005)

It is imperative for every manager that he has an understanding of the different cultures. Managers who are more successful their values seem to favour dynamic, pragmatic and achievement – oriented, along with this they believe in interacting with others. On the other hand, managers who are less successful have passive and static values; and are relatively inactive in interacting with others. Cultural competency is focuses on promoting self – confidence of individuals and the teams, this can be achieved through empowerment and by breaking down barriers.

A person with interculturally effective skills has attributes which are discussed below:He has the skill of communicating with people of different cultures in a manner that earns them trust and respect.He has the ability to adapt his managerial and technical skills in a way that fits in well with the local constraints and the local conditions.He has the ability to change personally so that he has mental peace, is content and at ease in the mass culture



  1. Olivier serrat (2008) Cultural theory  [Internet] Available from : <>[Accessed on 19th March 2011].
  2. Hofstede, G. (1994) Uncommon Sense About Organisation 1st Edition USA.
  3. Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture   [internet] Available from:<> [Accessed on 19th March 2011].
  4. Proven Model (2005).  Seven dimensions of culture [Internet] Available from: <–fons-trompenaars/> [ Accessed on 19th March 2011]
  5. Ananymous  , n.d. Home and Host Country determinants of International Bank Entry [internet] Available from:<>[Accessed on 20th March 2011].
  6. 6.    Luciara N and Richard S, (2009).The  cultural theory jungle:divergence and convergence  in models of national culture. 1st edition   Cambridge ,Uk.
  7. Hassoun R, (2006) Intercultural/Cross-Cultural Training: Rejecting Hofstede and Trompenaars [internet] available from:<> [accessed on 19th march 2011].\
  8. Titre F (2005) Cultural dimensions and social behavior correlates:Individualism-Collectivism and Power Distance. Journal of cultural Dimensions  18(1)  .
  9. Trompenaars et al (1999) (p.20)10. Hofstede, G (2003) Available from: Culture’s consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. SAGE. (pp. 5,6)





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