Dimesnions of Culture: Geert Hofstede

Cultural dimensions have been around as long as the field of intercultural research (i.e., since the early 1960s). They provide concepts and terminology that enable all of us to become aware of, to measure, and to talk knowledgeably about the values and practices found in a human culture - and about the similarities and differences among human cultures. (Grove, 2005).

Gerard Hendrik Hofstede

Picture source: http://stuwww.uvt.nl/~csmeets/

Geert Hofstede, a widely known Dutch researcher of culture, has defined culture as "the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another." (1991, p.5).

During 1978-83, he conducted detailed interviews with hundreds of IBM employees in 53 countries. Through standard statistical analysis of large data sets, he determined patterns of similarities and differences among the replies. From this data analysis, he developed five dimensions of culture.

In the 1990s, Hofstede published results of his research in publication Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. Initially he developed four dimension in culture, but added a fifth dimension in 1991.

His five dimensions of culture are the following:
• Power-distance
• Collectivism vs. individualism
• Femininity vs. masculinity
• Uncertainty avoidance
• Long- vs. short-term orientation














Sources: Cornelius N. Grove (2005). Worldwide Differences in Business Values and Practices: Overview of GLOBE Research Findings. http://www.grovewell.com/pub-GLOBE-dimensions.html

Hofstede, G. (1991). Cultures and organizations: Software of the mind. London: McGraw-Hill.


Sirje Virkus, Tallinn University, 2009