Geert Hofstede is a social psychologist from the Netherlands who has conducted extensive research on cultural behaviors and norms. Through that research, he and others have identified six dimensions that they argue affect the ways people from various cultures interact. The dimensions are identified and explained below. The Global Campus Toolkit will use these dimensions as one way of looking at cultural differences to describe some of the more common areas of misunderstanding between JMU faculty and students from different countries.

It is important to bear in mind that these dimensions are only generalizations and may not be applicable to everyone from a particular culture. All students should be evaluated and observed as individuals, as stereotyping can be ineffective and offensive. However, learning about the common ways a person from a particular society might behave can be helpful in providing potential explanations of cultural misunderstandings.

For information about how one country compares to another on these scales, please see this tool developed by The Hofstede Center.

Bibliography and Additional Resources

Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values. USA: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and Organizations Across Nations. USA: Sage Publications.

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G. J., Minkov, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. 3rd Edition. USA: McGraw-Hill.

Hofstede, G. (2011). Dimensionalizing Cultures: The Hofstede Model in Context. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 2(1).

Louie, S. (2014). Asian Shame and Honor. Psychology Today.

Maclachlan, M. (2013). Indulgence vs. Restraint – The 6th Dimension. Communicaid, a Learnlight Company.

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