CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH

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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
A RE-INQUIRY OF HOFSTEDE’S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS:
A CALL FOR 21st CENTURY
CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH
LINDA M. ORR, The University of Akron
WILLIAM J. HAUSER, The University of Akron
Given the impact of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions over the past quarter of a century, many
scholars and practitioners have utilized these dimensions. However, numerous researchers have
questioned his methodology, while others misused the dimensions in terms of the original purpose.
Yet surprisingly, very few studies have performed an exact replication. This study summarizes
Hofstede’s work and critiques his cross-cultural model. In order to test Hofstede’s constructs on
different populations, three quantitative analyses were performed using domestic U.S., Asian, and
Australian samples. This study found serious problems with Hofstede’s factor structure. Additionally,
the study suggests the need for re-examining the cultural dimensions within the global information
based context of the early 21st century. This is not meant to criticize Hofstede, but instead to pinpoint
fallacies to enable researchers to build from his work in more appropriate directions.
INTRODUCTION
In 1980, Geert Hofstede published Culture’s
Consequences. This influential study soon
became a major source of reference about value
differences around the world. Culture’s
Consequences has been translated into
numerous languages since its original
publication and was fully revised in 2001.
Additionally, Culture’s Consequences has been
cited more than any other book in social
sciences (Yoo and Dunthu 2002). Hofstede has
been cited over 5,000 times, with more than
3,000 of these citations being to Culture’s
Consequences (IACCP 2007). Hofstede’s work
has made it beyond higher-level research and
has worked its way into everyday teachings.
Many of his citations are in basic principles of
marketing, international business, advertising,
and consumer behavior textbooks.
Hofstede’s work has inspired a multitude of
international marketing research and has been
the dominant research paradigm in crosscultural studies of national attitudes for some
time because of the simplicity of its theory and
The Marketing Management Journal
Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 1-19
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All rights of reproduction in any form reserved
applicability of its implications. Hofstede’s
work has inspired a great improvement in the
discipline by specifying a theoretical model
which serves to coordinate research efforts
(Redding 1995). This theoretical model has
served as the foundation for many other
research efforts. In sum, Hofstede’s initial four
(later five) fundamental dimensions of culture
still serve today as basic, fundamental criteria
in most interdisciplinary, cross-culturally
comparative research.
However, Hofstede’s work has been
misconstrued and misinterpreted in many
subsequent studies. More importantly,
surprisingly few exact replications, attempting
to empirically examine Hofstede’s factors, have
been conducted. Furthermore, many subsequent
studies have taken and utilized Hofstede’s work
with surprisingly little questioning of his
results. Thus, due to the tremendous impact that
Hofstede has had on the scientific community,
an exact replication study is a necessary step.
While replication studies may not hold the
highest regard within academic research
because they do not bring “anything new to the
table,” replication studies for works this
important must be done. If not, as researchers,
we will continue to utilize faulty theories and
models. Thus, a replication study of Hofstede’s
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
work is necessary in order to assess the
appropriate content, as well as the reliability
and validity of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
Thus, the purpose of this study is to perform a
very close replication of Hofstede’s original
study. To do this, first, a review of Hofstede’s
methodology is presented. This review was
conducted because many researchers may not
be fully aware of the almost haphazard manner
in which the cultural dimensions were initially
developed. The results of three studies designed
to analyze face validity are preformed.
Following these analyses, three re-inquiry
studies are presented. Hofstede’s instrument
was obtained and reproduced with no
alterations and administered with multiple
international samples. The examination of the
data in this study was conducted with more
statistical rigor than any other replication study
known to the authors. As we have progressed
well into the new millennium, cross-cultural
research is no doubt one of the most important
subsections of marketing and international
business research. It is imperative that we have
a solid foundation and understanding from
which to build future research.
BACKGROUND
As mentioned, Hofstde’s famous study is
widely recognized as a major break-through in
cross-cultural social science studies. There are
almost no publications, either from the
disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history,
law, economics or business administration, that
do not refer to Hofstede’s work and his five
fundamental dimensions of culture when
explaining correspondences and distinctions
between cultures (IRIC online 2002). Geert
Hofstede is among the 20 most cited Europeans
in the 2000 Social Science Citation Index
(Institute for Research on Intercultural
Cooperation 2001), 57th in the world, with 416
articles referring to him. In fact, Hofstede’s
influence is becoming even more pronounced,
with the number of citations increasing, not
decreasing, each subsequent year. Simply put,
Hofstede’s dimensions are still utilized widely
even as we have progressed well into the new
millennium. Thus, given the widespread
acceptance of Hofstede’s instrument, it was
used for this research.
Hofstede’s work is based on “mental
programs.” Due to the process of socialization,
these mental programs are developed in the
family in early childhood and reinforced in
schools and organizations, and other areas
throughout our lives, experiences, and
upbringings. Thus, due to the shared common
experiences of people living in the same
country, these mental programs contain a
component of national culture. They are most
clearly expressed in the different values that
predominate among people from different
countries (Hofstede 1980).
From 1967 to 1972, Hofstede administered
117,000 questionnaires to employees of IBM in
over 60 different countries (Hofstede 1980).
His study resulted from the collaboration of
researchers from five countries and his survey
was pre-tested in ten countries (De Cieri and
Dowling 1995). By 1980, he had developed his
own cultural dimensions, IndividualismCollectivism, Power Distance, Uncertainty
Avoidance, and Masculinity-Femininity.
Power distance is defined as the degree that
unequal distributions of power are expected and
accepted. Power distance “represents a nation’s
unique score on how to deal with social
inequality. Inequality can occur in areas such as
prestige, wealth, and power; different societies
put different weights on status consistency
among these areas” (Hofstede 1984, p.
65). Uncertainty avoidance is the extent to
which people feel threatened by ambiguous
situations and have created beliefs and
institutions that try to avoid these (Hofstede and
Bond 1984, p. 419-420). IndividualismCollectivism “describes the relationship
between the individual and the collectivity
which prevails in a given society,” where
“individualism is defined as a situation in
which people are supposed to look after
themselves” and “collectivism is defined as a
situation in which people belong to in-groups or
collectivities which are supposed to look after
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
them in exchange for loyalty” (Hofstede 1984,
p. 148 and Hofstede and Bond, 1984, p. 419­
420). Finally, masculinity-femininity “describes
the division of social roles between women and
men in a society.” The predominant
socialization pattern is for men to be more
assertive and for women to be more nurturing.
“Masculinity is defined as situation in which
the dominant values in society are success,
money, and things” and “femininity is defined
as a situation in which the dominant values in
society are caring for others and the quality of
life” (Hofstede 1984, p. 176; Hofstede and
Bond 1984, p. 419-420).
A group of researchers calling themselves the
Chinese Culture Connection (1987) conducted
further analysis of the Hofstede dimensions in
Asian cultures and added a fifth dimension,
Confucian Dynamism. In the 2001 edition of
Culture’s Consequences, Hofstede has included
a chapter on this dimension and called it longterm versus short-term orientation. Confucian
Dynamism conceptually incorporates many
diverse elements of Confucian cultures.
Empirically, however, Confucian Dynamism
has consisted of two negatively correlated sets
of items, described by the Chinese Culture
Connection as a positive and a negative pole.
More specifically, “there were four positively
loaded values in this grouping, all reflecting
Confucian work ethics.” These four items were,
ordering relationships, thrift, persistence, and a
sense of shame – all represented by single
items. “Counterpointed against this hierarchical
dynamism were four negatively loaded values
advocating checks and distraction at the
personal, interpersonal, and social levels”
(Chinese Cultural Connection 1987, p. 150).
These items were, reciprocation, personal
steadiness, protecting your face, and respect for
tradition. Thus, Confucian Dynamism begins to
address traditional eastern values.
HOFSTEDE’S METHODOLOGY
IBM had occasionally surveyed employees to
judge attitudes toward job satisfaction prior to
1960. In 1967, a team of researchers was
gathered together to standardize the surveys in
order to permit longitudinal and cross-national
investigation. The first instrument consisted of
180 items, which were chosen through existing
surveys, pilot studies, and literature review
(e.g., Baehr 1954; Herzberg et al. 1957;
Hinrichs 1968; Vroom 1964; Wherry 1954).
After the initial survey, individual site survey
administrators were still customizing the
surveys to their specific needs. Thus, most of
the surveys at this point varied considerably
from site to site. Therefore, a 1970 task force of
researchers, including Hofstede, took over with
a new approach. They wanted to derive an
instrument that used the previous questions but
had no more than 60 items. The criteria for
these questions were:
The core questions should cover all the major
area or dimensions of job attitudes (content
validity);
• The areas of job attitudes covered should be
meaningful in terms of theories of human
motivation and organization;
• The questions should be reasonably
reliable;
• Core questionnaire items should universally
apply to all employees of the corporation;
• Questions should be translatable;
• The questions should be chosen from those
used before, to permit longitudinal studies;
• Questions should be acceptable to the
corporation’s managers;
• All core questions should be useful
information to managers; and
• The number should not exceed 60 items
(Hofstede 1975).
In 1971, Hofstede and colleagues reduced the
number of items from 180 to 120. His decision
was to eliminate items that did not frequently
appear in the literature. Hofstede next ran an
exploratory factor analysis with a sample of
700 employees on all 120 items. After varimax
rotation, he was left with 15 factors. The first
three factors explained 77 percent of the
variance. Therefore, he kept the items for those
three factors and eliminated the other items. He
was left with three dimensions: management,
satisfaction, and culture. Hofstede and
colleagues (1971) had 146 items at this point,
including demographic variables. Next, he took
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . .
his new survey with 146 items and
administered it to 5 separate populations, which
follow.
• Technical experts, France, 1968, n = 436
• Technical experts, U.K., 1968, n = 436
• Head office clerks, secretaries and other
nonprofessional employees, U.K., 1969, n
= 535
• Unskilled direct manufacturing operators,
Japan, 1970, n = 231
• Unskilled direct manufacturing operators,
U.K., 1970, n = 296
To analyze the data, Hofstede preformed
separate factor analyses with each population.
Management questions explained 21-27 percent
(depending on the sample) of the variance and
the weakest factor, culture, explained 11-19
percent of the variance (see Tables 1 and 2).
However, the three components that Hofstede
derived, management, satisfaction, and culture,
were not one-dimensional. In fact, the “culture”
components contained thirteen constructs, some
of which contained zero or only one item. In
other words, even though there was no data or
Orr and Hauser
quantitative evidence to refer to, Hofstede
conceptually decided which components should
be a part of each of the three factors.
From the previous analyses, Hofstede devised
his new instrument. The final questionnaire
encompassed 60 core questions: 58 from factor
analysis and two new items. Subsequently,
Hofstede administered the same work
satisfaction survey in other countries and
derived his “cultural” dimensions. The
following paragraphs will describe how each of
the Hofstede cultural dimensions, as we know
them today, are derived through the use of
theoretical reasoning and factor analysis.
Hofstede began administering the instrument in
individual countries at this stage. Each factor
analysis was preformed separately for each
country and then standardized, normalized
means were calculated to derive a factor score.
Hofstede himself admits that factor structure
does not hold across populations (Hofstede
1984, p. 43). In fact, as mentioned, he never
intended his instrument to be used at the
TABLE 1
Hofstede et al. (1971) Factor Analysis
Number of
Number of factors
% of total vari-
% of variance
variables
with eigen-
ance explained
explained by
values>1
first factor
Satisfaction questions:
1.
T. E. France
54
15
62
17
2.
T. E. U.K.
54
15
62
16
3.
Clerks U.K.
52
15
63
20
4.
Operators Japan
51
15
68
24
5.
Operators U.K.
54
15
65
20
Management questions:
1.
T. E. France
50
14
62
22
2.
T. E. U.K.
50
14
61
21
3.
Clerks U.K.
50
13
63
24
4.
Operators Japan
48
15
72
27
5.
Operators U.K.
50
14
65
24
Culture questions:
1.
T. E. France
42
12
58
13
2.
T. E. U.K.
42
14
61
11
3.
Clerks U.K.
40
11
59
17
4.
Operators Japan
40
13
63
16
5.
Operators U.K.
42
11
59
19
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
TABLE 2
Hofstede’s Factors
Satisfaction
Factor
Number of
Items
Management
Factor
Number of
Items
Culture
Factor
Number of
Items
S1
3
M1
5
C1
2
S2
1
M2
2
C 2
2
S3
3
M3
2
C 3
1
S3A
3
M4
2
C4
2
S4
3
M5

C4A
1
S4A
1
M6

C5

S5
1
M7
1
C6
2
S6
1
M8
1
C6A
1
S6A
1
M9
1
C7
3
S7
2
C8
1
S8
1
C9

S9
1
C10

S10
1
C11

C12

C13
1
individual level. Hofstede (1984, pp. 43 and 55)
admits,
“A between-cultures analysis had not
been done at that time; first, because the
main purpose of the survey operation
was organization development – that is,
use within parts of the organization –
within made the within-analysis
obvious, and second, I must confess that
the difference between within- and
between-culture analysis had not
occurred to us at that time. If it had, we
might have come to a very different
selection of, in particular, the ‘culture’
survey items…From the earliest surveys
onward, it had been clear that questions
dealing with hierarchical relationships
received systematically different
answers in different countries.”
From this point forward, while it is somewhat
unclear in past writings, Hofstede derived his
four separate cultural dimensions from the
“culture” factor as he saw themes emerge. He
derived these dimensions theoretically instead
of empirically. In other words, he examined the
“culture” factor and made educated guesses at
which items should make up each of his four
cultural dimensions.
The first dimension was power distance.
Hofstede noticed that the question, “How
frequently are employees afraid to express
disagreement with their managers?” was
receiving similar answers within cultures (but
not between). He then decided to choose this
one core question as his entire power distance
dimension (Hofstede 1984). Two additional
questions were added based on ecological
correlations and this formed the Power Distance
dimension.
Next, according to Hofstede (1984, p. 55), “the
uncertainty avoidance index was developed in
an analogous way. I had an earlier theoretical
interest in the phenomenon of stress which was
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measured by the question ‘How often do you
feel nervous or tense at work?’” Scores on this
question differed greater by country than by
occupation. Thus, Hofstede was able to deduce
that a cultural dimension existed around
people’s differing reactions and exceptions to
uncertainty and anxiety.
A potentially rich source of data was also
available in the “work goal importance”
questions (Hofstede 1984). After normalizing
the data on these 14 questions, Hofstede
realized that a structure emerged similar to
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (Hofstede 1984).
Through a review of the literature and a long
process of analysis and deduction, Hofstede
later decided that these 14 questions measured
two constructs – Masculinity and Individualism.
Subsequently, Hofstede subjected the above
mentioned questions for all four factors, plus
others that had shown a reasonable amount of
stability over time to a factor analysis with
orthogonal rotation. The final 32 items
explained 49 percent of the variance and
became his initial set of questions to measure
his cultural dimensions.
Even though the masculinity and individualism
constructs were derived from the same
variables and even though the above factor
loadings would empirically be three constructs,
Hofstede took a different approach. For reasons
which are not explained anywhere in the
literature, according to Hofstede (1984, p. 62),
“Factor one represents an Individualism-low
Power Distance factor…I shall continue to treat
them as two dimensions because they are
conceptually distinct…Factor 2 is a masculinity
factor… and factor three corresponds to
uncertainty avoidance” (Hofstede 1984, p. 62).
These items can be found in Table 3. As can be
seen, some items are included in overlapping
dimensions. The obvious confusion of this
methodology, along with its limitations, is
discussed in the following sections.
LIMITATIONS
Other than the obvious methodological
problems which stem from the above described
analyses, numerous other limitations exist with
Hofstede’s research. While the overall findings
of Hofstede’s research are extremely relevant to
today’s cross-cultural studies, and the rigor is
possibly unmatched even today, major
constraints exist with Hofstede’s research. First,
and through no fault of Hofstede, there is a
question of time relevancy. Researchers have
questioned whether the dimensions developed
from data collected between 1966 and 1973
were artifacts of the period of analysis (e.g.,
Baumgartel and Hill 1982; Warner 1981).
Hofstede investigated the correlations between
his data and other variables like geographic,
economic, demographic, and political national
indicators. Over forty years have passed since
the beginning of the study. Just a simple map of
the world looks very different today than it did
in 1966. While these correlations were
beneficial, they are not only out dated, but the
cultures themselves have changed.
Second, Hofstede’s research may suffer from
sampling problems. Several researchers have
argued that the constraints derived from
Hofstede’s research population of IBM
employees (e.g., Graves 1986; Merker 1982;
Triandis 1982). The use of employees from one
company allowed Hofstede to reduce the other
sources of variance and concentrate on culture.
However, several criticisms have come from
this fact. First, IBM employed mostly males at
the time of the survey. In the words of Milton
Bennett (1996), “the differences between men
and women is the greatest culture conflict of
all.” More differences exist between men and
women than from country to country, especially
w h e n a n a l y z i n g t h i n g s l i k e
masculinity/femininity, power distance, and
individualism/collectivism.
In lieu of the sampling issue, all the subjects in
the survey were from the same corporate
culture. Additionally, although Hofstede
surveyed many countries, all subjects were
employees of an American company.
Additionally, most employees were from whitecollar positions. Hofstede (1980) himself
discusses the problems of ethnocentrism that
exist in previous scales. As Hamden-Turner and
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
TABLE 3
Original Hofstede Items and Factor Groupings
Construct
Item
Label in
Present
Stud
Hofstede Item
Individualism and
ic1
Have good working conditions (good lighting, adequate work space, an attractive office, etc.)?
Collectivism Items
ic10
I would not support my work group if I felt they were wrong.
ic11
If the group is slowing me down, it is better to leave and work alone.
ic12
It is better to work in a group than alone.
ic13
Groups make better decisions than individuals.
ic14
I prefer to be responsible for my own decisions.
ic15
Contributing to the group is the most important aspect of work.
ic2
Have considerable freedom to adopt your own approach to the job?
ic3
Have a job that leaves sufficient time for your personal or family life?
ic4
Fully use your skills and abilities on the job?
ic5
Have a job on which there is a great deal of day-to-day learning?
ic6
Competition among employees usually does more harm than good.
ic7
Decisions made by individuals are usually of higher quality than decisions made by groups.
ic8
It is important to stick with my work group, even through difficulties.
ic9
My personal accomplishment is more important than group success.
Items were used to
measure both
icandmf1
Have challenging work to do; work from which you can get a personal sense of accomplishment.
Individualism and
Masculinity (Because
icandmf2
Having interesting work to do is just as important as having high earnings.
items had factor
loadings above 0.5 on
each construct)
icandmf3
Most employees want to make a real contribution to the success of their company.
Masculinity and
mf1
Live in an area desirable to you and your family?
femininity items
mf10
Have the security that you will not be transferred to a less desirable job?
mf11
Work in a congenial and friendly atmosphere?
mf12
A corporation should have a major responsibility for the health and welfare of its employees and their
immediate families.
mf13
A corporation should do as much as it can to help solve society’s problems (poverty, discrimination,
pollution, etc.).
mf14
Most companies have a genuine interest in the welfare of their employees.
mf15
The private life of an employee is properly a matter of direct concern to his company.
mf16
It is important for me to have a job that provides opportunity for advancement.
mf17
It is important that I outperform others in the company.
mf18
It is important for me to have a job that provides an opportunity for high earnings.
mf19
It is important for me to work in a prestigious or successful company.
mf2
Have an opportunity for high earnings?
mf3
Work with people who cooperate well with one another?
mf4
Have the security that you will be able to work for your company as long as you want to?
mf5
Have an opportunity for advancement to higher-level jobs?
mf6
Have a good working relationship with your manager?
mf7
Get the personal recognition you deserve when you do a good job?
mf8
Have a job that allows you to make a real contribution to the success of your company?
mf9
Work in a company that is regarded in your country as successful?
Power Distance items
pd1
Employees lose respect for a manager who asks them for their advice before he makes a final
decision.
pd10
For getting ahead in industry, knowing influential people is usually more important than ability.
pd11
Even if an employee feels that he deserves a salary increase, he should not ask his manager for it.
pd12
My superiors should make most decisions without consulting me.
pd13
It is improper to disagree with one’s supervisor.
pd14
I would never argue with my supervisor.
pd15
I believe that those superiors who ask opinions too often of subordinates are weak or incompetent.
pd16
I believe that superiors are entitled to special privileges.
pd17
This question asks the respondent to circle his preferred manager type among three choices, from the
most consultative to the least consultative.
pd2
Employees should participate in the decisions made by management.
pd3
Company rules should not be broken; even when the employee thinks it is in the company’s best
interests.
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TABLE 3
(continued)
Construct
Item Label
in present
study
Hofstede item
Power
pd4
Employees should never express disagreement with their managers.
Distance Items
pd5
Employees should always be told very clearly their duties and responsibilities, and how to perform
(continued)
their jobs.
pd6
Most employees have an inherent dislike of work and will avoid it if they can.
pd7
A good manager gives his employees detailed and complete instructions as to how they should do
their jobs; he does not merely give general directions and depend on them to work out the details.
pd8
In general, the better managers in a company are those who have been with the company the longest
time.
pd9
There are few qualities in a man more admirable than dedication and loyalty to his company.
Uncertainty
ua1
A good manager does not get too involved in the details of an employee’s job; rather, these details are
Avoidance items
left to the employee.
ua2
Staying with one company for a ling time is usually the best way to get ahead in business.
ua3
A large corporation is generally a more desirable place to work than a small company.
ua4
Companies should not change their policies and practices very often.
ua5
It is important for me to work for a company that provides high employment stability.
ua6
Clear and detailed rules/regulations are needed so workers know what is expected of them.
ua7
It is better to work in a well-defined job where the requirements and procedures are clear.
Trompenaars (1997) noted, they doubt that
American IBM managers serving in foreign
countries are much different than American
IBM managers in America.
Inclusive with the sampling issue is the matter
of the original sample size. While the sample
eventually grew to quite some size, the original
constructs were derived from very few workers.
According to Hair and colleagues (1998), the
minimum sample size is five observations per
variable to be analyzed. However, ten
observations per variable are better, and some
even recommend 20 per variable. Therefore,
Hofstede’s results were sample specific and
they took advantage of random correlations.
Some samples were as low as 231 for 146
items.
Hamden-Turner and Trompenaars (1997) bring
up another important criticism of Hofstede’s
work. “Are cultural categories linear and
exclusive?” Hamden-Turner and Trompenaars
(1997) do not feel that if you are an
individualist you cannot be a collectivist.
Perhaps some people tend to be very
individualistic at work, but family oriented and
collectivistic at home.
Another criticism is that culture cannot be best
expressed in a mathematical language, as
Hofstede does. This point can be best
summarized by a story given by HamdenTurner and Trompenaars (1997). A learned
researcher diced a piece of cheese with a
kitchen gadget and then wrote a learned
dissertation on the cubic nature of cheese. We
get out of factor analysis what we put into it,
nothing more, and nothing less. As the previous
section described, Hofstede’s determinations
were haphazard at best.
Another problem with Hofstede’s work is that
the study did not begin as a cultural study. It
initially began as a work satisfaction study.
Hofstede was a brilliant researcher who noticed
the dimensions as they developed. However,
the original survey was not designed for its
final purpose. The survey was refined and
changed several times to make the necessary
adjustments. Thus, the dimensions were derived
empirically, rather than theoretically.
Finally, Hofstede (1980) specifically identified
the ecological fallacy that exists with his work.
The ecological fallacy can be defined as
“confusion between within-system and
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ecological correlations.” Similarly, he readily
admits that within-culture variations can be as
great as if not greater than between-culture
variations. This is an important observation to
make. While it is helpful to understand that the
majority of Chinese citizens tend to be very
collective, marketers sell to the individual,
mangers recruit, train and hire the individual,
and psychologists, economists, and all social
scientists are concerned with the individual and
groups existing in their society.
The above mentioned limitations have been
examined and identified in numerous
replication studies over the last four decades.
SØndergaard (1994) located 61 replications of
Hofstede’s research. Full confirmation of
Hofstede’s dimensions was found in only four
studies (Hoppe 1990; Shackelton and Ali
1990). Partial confirmation was found in
another fifteen studies (e.g., Ashkanini 1984;
Chow et al. 1991; Forss 1989; Huo and Randall
1991; Lowe 1994; Maldonado 1983; Pooyan
1984; Westwood and Everett 1987; Yeh 1988).
Lowe’s (1994) study is particularly interesting
because he used IBM employees from Hong
Kong and the United Kingdom for his sample.
Lowe was not able to find differences between
the two countries for Hofstede’s uncertainty
avoidance dimension (SØndergaard 1994).
After SØndergaard’s (1994) study, other authors
have critiqued and replicated Hofstede’s work
and applied his dimensions to various contexts
(e.g., Fernandez, Carlson, Stepina, and
Nicholson 1997; Kelleher 2000; Marshall 1997;
Naumov and Puffer 2000; Robertson and
Hoffman 2000; Smith, Dugan, Peterson, and
Leung 1998; Sopachitwattana 2000;
Trompenaars 1993; Trompenaars 1997; Van
Oudenhoven 2001; Van Oudenhoven,
Mechelse, and de Dreu 1998; Verbeke 2000;
Yeh and Lawrence 1995). Most of these studies
have come to very similar conclusions as the
ones prior to 1994. No known rigorous study
using Hofstede’s exact instrument has found
complete confirmation to Hofstede’s work. In
fact, Trompenaars (1993) examined Hofstede’s
dimensions and arrived at his own dimensions,
which, according to Trompenaars, overcome
the difficulties with Hofstede’s research.
Trompenaars’ book (1993) has become a harsh
debate between Hofstede and himself (for full
details, see, Hamden-Turner and Trompenaars
1997; Hofstede 1996; Hofstede 1997).
THE METHODOLOGY
OF THE RE-INQUIRY
Even with all the replication studies that exist in
the literature, very few have been exact
replications, using Hofstede’s actual, original
items. In fact, prior to 2001, Hofstede did not
make these original items readily available.
Thus, the purpose of this study was to produce
a very similar replication study. A further aim
of this study was to analyze the dimensions
using multiple statistical techniques in order to
examine the items and constructs as thoroughly
as possible. In order to start this process,
Hofstede’s original instrument was obtained
from Culture’s Consequences. The survey was
administered in two different forms. The first
study was an attempt to assess face validity. In
the second study, convergent and discriminant
validity was assessed. Finally, the data is tested
through confirmatory factor analysis utilizing
structural equations modeling.
In order to ascertain the effects of the
instrument on a non-homogeneous sample (e.g.,
samples from more than one company) a
number of different samples were used. This
was also done to increase the probability of
variance from other sources, such as gender,
while minimizing the confounding effects of
such factors as occupational status (e.g., white
collar) within one over-arching corporate
culture environment.
Study One
In study one, Hofstede’s instrument, with no
modifications, was administered to two samples
(refer to Table 3). The first sample included
123 undergraduate students and the second
sample included 65 graduate students, and the
third sample contained 13 marketing and
management faculty. The undergraduate class
took the survey after a whole class period
9 Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008
A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
dedicated to teaching Hofstede’s cultural
dimensions. All samples were given the survey
with thorough definitions of each of Hofstede’s
four cultural dimensions at the top of the
instrument. The subjects were then instructed to
ascertain which dimension each survey item
was attempting to measure by circling IC
( i n d i v i d u a l i s m / c o l l e c t i v i s m ) , M F
(masculinity/femininity), UA (uncertainty
avoidance), or PD (power distance) after each
item.
As can be seen in Table 4, the task proved to be
quite difficult. The graduate students performed
better than the faculty, followed by the
undergraduate students, ascertaining correctly
64.62 percent, 44.25 percent, and 32.25 percent
of the time respectively. For a face validity
assessment, the percentages should be much
higher, whether the sample is common workers
or especially trained researchers and academics
such as those used in this study. The
individualism items were easiest to identify
while the masculinity items were the hardest to
classify.
Study Two
In study two, Hofstede’s exact survey with no
modifications was given to three different
samples. Two out of the three samples were in
America. The first sample consisted of graduate
students at a large mid-south university. Of the
161 respondents, 58 percent were America and
41.6 percent were Far Eastern. Respondents
were required to have full time work experience
in order to participate in the study. This criteria
was added to the survey so that all respondents
could identify with the work-related questions
that appear on Hofstede’s instrument.
Respondents had work experience ranging from
1 to 40 years and were between 22 and 59 years
of age. A second sample of non-student adults
was taken in America (N = 233). Demographic
characteristics of this sample were very similar
to sample one, except 97.4 percent of the
sample was American. Finally, a third sample
was gathered from non-student adults in
Australia (N = 210). Due to the widespread
cultural differences that exist in Australia, this
sample was extremely diverse. The sample
contained people with varying nationalities
representing a total of 21 countries.
Data were analyzed in many different ways in
order to demonstrate that the factor structure
does not hold in any circumstance. Reliabilities
were assessed for each of the four factors with
the three combined samples and with the
samples separately. Likewise, factor analyzes
were run with each sample separately and
combined. Exploratory factor analyses were
used to remain consistent to Hofstede’s original
methodology and many different techniques
were utilized. Varimax and oblique rotations
TABLE 4
Face Validity Assessments: Average Number of Times
Ascertained Correctly Across Dimension
Faculty
sample
Graduate
sample
Undergraduate
sample
Average of all
three samples
Masculinity items
28%
40.73%
15%
27.91%
Individualism items
55%
78.24%
46%
59.75%
Power Distance items
41%
60.94%
33%
44.98%
Uncertainty avoidance items
53%
78.57%
35%
55.52%
Average
44.25%
64.62%
32.25%
47.04%
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A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
were tried to remain true to Hofstede. Likewise,
factors were extracted by examining
eigenvalues greater than one and by “forcing”
the solution to only four factors. Additionally,
even though Hofstede did not use confirmatory
factor analysis, this study attempts to do so. All
analyses will be discussed subsequently.
Reliabilities
Reliabilities were examined subsequent to
performing the factor analyses. The results are
presented in Table 5. Some reliabilities were
extremely low (.3405) and some are relatively
high (.8131). Curiously, the data shows no
consistent pattern across the samples. In other
words, masculinity has the only adequate
reliabilities in sample two, but is the second
lowest in sample one, both of which were
American samples.
Exploratory Factor Analyses
As mentioned, factor analyses were examined
in many possible ways. Data are presented for
each sample separately and then are presented
by combined samples. As can be seen in
Table 6, in all samples, when the number of
components is not forced, the instrument
explained around 70 percent of the variance.
However, rotation could not account for
coverage many times, and when it could, the
number of factors ranged between 15 and 20.
When the data were forced into four
components, explainable variance dropped to
around 30 percent.
These statistics seem discouraging, but it is
even more discouraging to analyze what items
are loading with which construct. In all
analyses, items had no pattern as to which
construct they loaded with. This is the case for
all samples separately and together, with
varimax and oblique rotation, and with Eigen
values greater than one or forced factors. Due
to space constraints, all 32 factor structures
cannot be presented. Explanation or
classification of each component is not
possible. The components’ items have no
pattern or similarities. There was absolutely no
theoretical and empirical structure which
emerged.
Confirmatory Factor Analysis
Next, structural equations modeling was used to
analyze the data because of its ability to be used
as a confirmatory technique, instead of as an
exploratory technique, even though Hofstede
did not originally employ this technique. Since
the relationships and constructs had already
been established by Hofstede, the model just
needed to be analyzed to assess the adequacy of
the model. The three previous mentioned
samples were utilized to test the model.
The results of the model showed an inadequate
fit. The chi-squared/df ratio was equal to 5.345
TABLE 5
Reliabilities (Study 2)
Sample 1
(US graduate students)
Sample 2 (US non
student adults)
Sample 3
(Australian)
All samples
together
Masculinity
.5254
.7593
.8131
.7574
Individualism
.4816
.3703
.6527
.4920
Power Distance
.6974
.3510
.7003
.7417
Uncertainty
Avoidance
.6330
.3405
.6845
.5655
11 Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008
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TABLE 6
Exploratory Factor Analyses (Study 2)
Sample 1
(US graduate students)
Sample 2
(US non-student adults)
Sample 3
(Australian)
All samples together
Number
of factors
Variance
explained
Number of
factors
Variance
explained
Number of
factors
Variance
explained
Number of
factors
Variance
explained
Varimax
rotation/ Eigen
values greater
than one
19
70%
Rotation
could not
converge
in 100
iterations
69.6%
Rotation
could not
converge in
100
iterations
69.2%
15
60%
Oblique rotation/
Eigen values
greater than one
Rotation
could not
converge
in 100
iterations
70%
20
69.6%
Rotation
could not
converge in
100
iterations
69.2%
15
60%
Varimax
rotation/ Four
“forced”
components
4
31.7%
4
30%
4
37%
4
36%
Oblique rotation/
Four “forced”
components
4
30%
4
30%
4
37%
4
36%
(8493 with 1589 d.f.). Ratios under three
indicate an acceptable fit (Carmines and McIver
1981). The Root Mean Square Error of
approximation (RMSEA) by Browne and
Cudeck (1993), which is a goodness of fit
measure that accounts for model complexity,
was 0.85. Browne and Cudeck (1993) state that
RMSEA values of about .05 or less indicate a
close fit of a model in relation to the degree of
freedom. Likewise, the normed fit index
(Bentler and Bonnett 1980) was 0.887, which
should be above 0.90, which indicates and
acceptable level of fit (Hair, Anderson, Tatham
and Black 1998). Results of these analyses are
presented in Tables 7 and 8.
The reliabilities and the variances explained by
each of the latent contructs are presented in
Table 8. The highest reliability was for the
masculinity construct (α = 0.73), followed by
power distance (α = 0.58), then by Uncertainty
avoidance (α = 0.40), and then with
individualism having the lowest reliability (α =
0.33). According to Hair et al. (1998), the
indicator reliabilities should exceed .50, which
roughly corresponds to a standardized loading
of 0.70.
The results of the variance explained by each
construct had even worse results. The highest
variance extracted was for the uncertainty
avoidance construct (16.54 percent), followed
by power distance (10.33 percent), then by
individualism (10.33 percent), and then by
masculinity having the lowest total variance
extracted (7.97 percent). According to Hair et
al. (1998), guidelines suggest that the variance
extracted value should exceed .50 for a
construct. None of the constructs had value
above this percentage.
In regards to factor loadings, some items have
high factor loadings and are significant.
However, a larger number have very low
loadings and are not significant. Amazingly, not
one single power distance item is significant.
While masculinity, individualism, and
uncertainty avoidance may be adequate
constructs (by these criteria only) once a few
unnecessary items are eliminated, power
distance has clear empirical problems.
Additionally the correlations among latent
constructs are provided in Table 9. The most
striking correlation is that of masculinity and
Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008 12
A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
TABLE 7
CFA Results
Masculinity
Reliability = 0.73
Variance Extracted =
7.97%
Individualism
Reliability = 0.3
Variance Extracted =
9.15%
Power Distance
Reliability = 0.58
Variance Extracted =
10.33%
Uncertainty Avoidance
Reliability = 0.40
Variance Extracted =
16.54%
T-value
mf1_1 0.55 12.212***
mf2_1 0.50 10.099***
mf3_1 0.66 12.224***
mf4_1 0.64 11.968***
mf5_1 0.58 11.241***
mf6_1 0.66 12.190***
mf7_1 0.62 11.652***
mf8_1 0.64 11.998***
mf9_1 0.57 11.031***
mf10_1 0.66 12.216***
mf11_1 0.70 12.682***
mf12_1 -0.10 -2.282*
mf13_1 -0.02 -0.503
mf14_1 0.04 0.832
mf15_1 -0.08 -1.878
mf16_1 -0.04 -0.991
mf17_1 -0.15 -3.455***
mf18_1 -0.13 -2.97**
mf19_1 -0.05 -1.101
ic1_1 0.64 13.368***
ic2_1 0.55 11.858***
ic3_1 0.54 11.767***
ic4_1 0.63 13.366***
ic5_1 0.58 12.329***
ic6_1 0.08 1.825
ic7_1 -0.03 -0.757
ic8_1 -0.05 -1.262
ic9_1 0.05 1.150
ic10_1 0.02 0.418
ic11_1 -0.01 -0.245
ic12_1 -0.04 -0.906
ic13_1 -0.09 -2.043*
ic14_1 -0.07 -1.728
ic15_1 -0.22 -5.047***
pd1_1 0.05 0.545
pd2_1 -0.09 -0.998
pd3_1 0.30 1.12
pd4_1 0.75 1.136
pd5_1 0.19 1.101
pd6_1 0.52 1.133
pd7_1 -0.10 -1.013
pd8_1 0.33 1.126
pd9_1 0.17 1.091
pd10_1 -0.07 -0.909
pd11_1 0.29 1.121
pd12_1 0.55 1.133
pd13_1 0.46 1.132
pd14_1 0.79 1.136
pd15_1 0.32 1.125
pd16_1 0.62 1.134
pd17_1 -0.73 -1.135
13 Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008
A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
TABLE 7
CFA Results (continued)
Masculinity Individualism
Power Distance
Reliability = 0.58
Variance Extracted =
10.33%
Uncertainty Avoidance
Reliability = 0.40
Variance Extracted =
16.54%
T-value
Reliability = 0.73 Reliability = 0.3 7.97% 9.15% ua7_1 0.82 16.436***
ua6_1
ua5_1
ua4_1
ua3_1
ua2_1
ua1_1
*p < .05
**P < .01
***p < .001
0.11
0.77
0.45
-0.15
-0.01
-0.08
2.493*
15.673***
10.032***
-3.386***
-0.105
-1.862
Items listed in Table 4.
TABLE 8
CFA Results: Correlations Among Latent Constructs
Masculinity
Individualism
Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
1.000
0.987 1.000
-0.218 -0.093 1.000
-0.012 -0.059 -0.651 1.000
Uncertainty
Masculinity Individualism Power Distance Avoidance
individualism (0.987). Perhaps this is because
Hofstede used the same items to measure each
construct. Hofstede states, “…reversing the
sign of the scores (for the items for
individualism), I have called this dimension
‘Masculinity’” (Hofstede 1984, p 189). Items
that load negatively on a construct are not a
separate construct, just the opposite “pole” of
that construct. Power distance and Uncertainty
avoidance also have a high correlation between
them (-0.651). Many of the power distance
items relate to the supervisor’s responsibility to
establish clear rules and regulations (e.g.,
“Employees should always be told very clearly
their duties and responsibilities, and how to
perform their jobs” and “A good manager gives
his employees detailed and complete
instructions as to how they should do their jobs;
he does not merely give general directions and
depend on them to work out the details”).
Conceptually, one can see how these items
correlation with uncertainty avoidance. People
high in uncertainty avoidance want clear rules
and regulations so that there is less uncertainty
to deal with.
DISCUSSION
This study has attempted to empirically assess
the validity of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions.
Substantial questions have arisen in this
analysis as to the reliability and validity of
Hofstede’s methodology and instrumentation.
In fact, the analysis discussed in this re-inquiry
does seem to reify many of the limitations of
Hofstede’s work discussed earlier.
First, the samples used in this analysis were
comprised of diverse individuals who were not
part of an over-arching collectivity, namely
IBM employees. Thus the impact of a
corporate culture was not in play here. Not
only does this minimize the corporate-wide
Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008 14
A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
socialization effects as to how one should think
and act within that corporate culture, it
minimizes the possibility of socially desirable
respondents by the respondents.
Second, limitations around the lack of the
mutual exclusivity of the dimensions also
surfaced in this re-inquiry. This analysis found
significant overlap within and across many of
the constructs. Thus, with the samples used
herein, there were no clearly identifiable factors
supporting the instrumentation and, to a large
degree, the methodology in its current state.
Third, and probably most importantly, the
analysis questions the relevance of the original
dimensions and their meaning to 21st century
businesses and individuals. What do the
dimensions mean to individuals within and
across different cultures? What about subcultural differences that exist in many countries
and regions? Most importantly, what effect do
traditional social institutions have on the
dimensions defined by Hofstede? For example,
strong religious dogma and practices in a
culture will most likely strongly impact an
individual’s perception of individualism as well
as culturally sanctioned definitions of
masculine and feminine roles. Similarly, legal,
economic, and educational institutions within
the given social structure will dramatically
influence how one responds to Hofstede’s
dimensions.
This analysis also tends to support a number of
Hofstede’s critics as to the applicability of the
four (or five) dimensions. In general, the
dimensions only attempt to measure cultural
differences at the individual level and are
therefore psychologically reductionistic. Crosscultural analysis requires an understanding the
impact of the socialization and other
sociological factors that brought these about.
As a matter of fact, Hofstede has long
contended that an ecological fallacy is
contained in the cultural dimensions. If
anything, the current analysis suggests that a
reverse ecological fallacy may be the case
where individual characteristics are being
assigned to an entire group or in this case
culture. This analysis discussed supports the
need to understand differences at the societal
level. Currently, this lack of understanding of
the causality between the individual level and
the socio-structural level precludes any clear
indication of what is actually causing
differences within and across Hofstede’s
dimensions.
Finally, the impact of the Internet and relatively
seamless global communications on a society’s
cultural stance cannot be over-estimated in the
early 21st century. Short of extreme
governmental control, it is nearly impossible
for individuals in any culture to not have access
to and be influenced by information on other
cultures, attitudes, and behaviors. Future
research on Hofstede’s cultural dimensions
must investigate the impact of global
communications on cultural dimensions and
individual responses to them.
CONCLUSIONS
Hofstede’s seminal work has been the
benchmark for cultural analysis for the last
three decades. However, it has been subject to
criticism on both the theoretical and empirical
levels. The intent of this investigation was to
test Hofstede’s constructs with a nonhomogenous population (i.e., individuals that
were not from one company only) in order to
ascertain the validity and reliability of the
measures. In order to do so a number of
samples drawn from American, Far Eastern
Asians, and Australians were used. Analyses
were performed into the face validity,
convergent, and discriminant validity of
Hofstede’s constructs. Likewise, Hofstede’s
factors were subjected to exploratory and
confirmatory factor analysis where they
performed poorly. This investigation has
concluded that Hofstede’s factors overlap
significantly and do not share a common factor
structure within or between cultures.
While it is outside the scope of this
investigation, it appears that Hofstede’s
15 Marketing Management Journal, Fall 2008
A Re-Inquiry of Hofstede’s Cultural . . . . Orr and Hauser
theoretical constructs need to be thoroughly reexamined within the context of early 21st
century cross-cultural attitudes and patterns of
behavior. Cross-cultural relationships (positive
and negative) have changed dramatically over
the past quarter of a century, be they political,
economic, or from a business perspective.
Worldwide political systems, such as
communism, have dramatically lost their
influence since Hofstede first posited his
cultural dimensions. Free market economies
have taken a foothold (to varying degrees) in
many cultures while businesses have become
more global in their reach and influence.
At the same time, the changes mentioned above
have exacerbated within society changes in
many regions of the world. As political and
economic systems decayed, long constrained
cultural and sub-cultural differences have reemerged, in a number of cases, to the point
where the country has been divided into a
number of smaller cultural or historically
“tribal” based enclaves. With this in mind,
Hofstede’s original dimensions may be
inaccurate, or at the least, outdated in defining
contemporary cultural differences be they
within or across different cultures.
With regard to research implications, empirical
establishment of convergent, discriminant, and
nomological validity for the cultural
dimensions are of first importance. If the
constructs are not defined empirically, then
they cannot be measured. Likewise, if
Hofstede’s dimensions cannot be
operationalized, then they cannot be correlated
with other concepts or used in other studies to
have practical significance. The study of crosscultural values is simply too important in this
time of globalization. Hofstede’s dimensions
are not reasonable empirically. Although there
may be a conceptual gold mine underneath it
all, a theory is worthless to investigators if it
cannot be operationalized.
In conclusion, the purpose of this re-inquiry
was to re-examine Hofstede’s original
methodology to test the validity with a number
of diverse samples. While this study found
both validity and reliability issues with the
original constructs and instrumentation, it is not
our intent to denigrate Hofstede’s original
conceptualization. Instead, we recommend that
additional research be undertaken to build on
Hofstede’s cross-cultural dimensions to better
adapt them to the 21st century global
environment. As such, each construct should
be thoroughly re-examined and both be
theoretically and operationally redefined within
contemporary cross-cultural and business
environments.
Hofstede’s work has contributed significantly
to the foundations of cross-cultural analysis and
understanding. But like any good model, it
needs to constantly be re-examined, re-defined,
and adapted to the current environment.
Therefore, future studies should attempt to
build on, strengthen, and adapt what has been
learned from Hofstede’s seminal work.
Perhaps as we have moved well into this new
millennium very different cross-cultural values,
attitudes, and behaviors exist.
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