Cultural Models and Cultural Dimensions

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Cultural Models and Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede) Cultural studies are not a unified theory but a diverse field of study encompassing many different approaches, methods and academic perspectives. As in any academic discipline, cultural studies academics frequently debate among themselves. Cross-cultural communication, as in many scholarly fields, is a combination of many other fields. These fields include anthropology, cultural studies, psychology and communication. There exists no uniform evaluation system or model of cultural aspects to date. However, the variety of the available models much more illustrates how multifaceted the approach can be. Nevertheless, there are some common dimensions for the most cultural models such as concept of time and space, equal (or non-equal) rights of men and women and position of the individual in the society. The most popular cultural models come primarily from the English-speaking researches: Hall (1989), Hofstede (1991), Oksaar (1988). Wierzbicka is famous for her work in semantics, pragmatics, and cross-cultural linguistics and has established the idea of so called Universal Human Concepts and their realisation in the language (Wierzbicka, 1992). Looking for an appropriate basis cultural model for this research a short comparison of the most known models needs to be done. The differences begin at the definition of culture or even at avoiding any definition, at the objectiveness level (e. g. amount and homogeneity of the interviewed persons) as well as at use of different cultural dimensions. Table 6 contains a comparison between three most popular cultural models of Hofstede, Hall and Gesteland though the latter should be concerned more as a collection of a life experience in how to behave in business with success worldwide. Table 6: Comparison of Cultural Models (Astapenko, 2008: 92)

This comparison demonstrates the lack of homogeneity of the research basis. While the amount of the interviews done by Hall is relatively high, he surveys only three countries. Gesteland on his hand does his research without any statistics using his own experience. Comparing to this the cultural model of Hofstede is more representative and homogeneous. He worked on interviews of IBM-employees in over 50 countries who therefore work in the same sector in comparable positions and have a similar social status. It is obviously that every cultural model has to be approached with great caution and an uncritical reading of cultural dimensions can lead to false conclusions. But even if Hofstede's conceptualization of culture has attracted some criticism he is though one of the most renowned and most cited experts. The continuity of his researches can be observed over decades and the approach of his scientific school is still being applied and improved. Moreover, his research approach establishes a connection to the active prevention measures mentioned in Chapter 2. As his classification system will be used to make a comparison of the involved regions later in this chapter, it adds to the consistency of this report to explain his definition. Hofstede defines culture as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (Hofstede et al., 2010: 6). Investigating culture is an attempt to catch general trends among a large group of people on a very general level. Therefore, the findings in this report should not be applied on an individual level, as this may lead to miscommunication or even stigmatisation. There are different levels of culture (national, regional, ethnic, religious, gender, social class or even organisational level) but regarding Transferability of Road Safety measures the national level was suggested to be the subject for further research. Strictly speaking, the concept of a common culture applies to societies, not to nations. Based on elaborate research from 1967 to 1973, Hofstede developed a model that tries to capture...
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