Summary of Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind
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Human beings love stereotypes. Americans are uncultured, aggressive and flashy; Germans lack a sense of humor; the only way to silence an Italian is to tie his hands behind his back – even intelligent people are apt to make sweeping generalizations about other cultures. This tendency to stereotype makes sense, because the mind needs ways to simplify the world and stereotypes do the trick. The problem is that these cultural assessments are often dead wrong. What’s more, humanity must overcome cultural differences if different peoples are to live and work together. Thank goodness, then, for Geert Hofstede, whose sane, quantitative approach to cultural differences, now more than 25 years old, shows how cultures vary, why cultural conflict arises and how to reduce cross-cultural friction. Drawing on a study of IBM employees, and other research, Hofstede posits five dimensions of cultural difference and then measures some 50 countries along each dimension. The resulting cultural map is scientifically sound and eminently useful. getAbstract considers this book required reading in this age of globalization. Intercultural competence is no longer just nice to have; it is essential.
About the Author
Geert Hofstede is a professor of organizational anthropology and international management at the University of Limburg at Maastricht, the Netherlands.
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