Trompenaars vs. Hofstede

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Trompenaars vs. Hofstede
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Introduction ................................................................................................................................ 2 Cultural Dimensions of Hofstede and Trompenaars ................................................... 3

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Analogies or identities of the cultural dimensions ...................................................... 5 Differences of the dimensions .............................................................................................. 7 Advantages and Risks seeing the world and cultures with dimensions .............. 7 Effects on practice operation ................................................................................................ 8 Personal meaning and consequences of the dimensions .......................................... 9

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Hofstedes’ Dimensions........................................................................................................... 3 Trompenaars’ Dimensions ................................................................................................... 4

1. Introduction

Nowadays a lot of companies operate in a multitude of distinct countries. However, if we do a double take, it is evident that multinational enterprises and their strategies differ from country to country. If not, it might be the case that those companies will fail. For example Wal-Mart opted for entering the Japanese market. Unfortunately, they tried implement the American strategy in Japan. Americans were keen on bargain buys in huge amounts 24 hours a day. Whereas the discount strategy in the USA has been very successful, it had adverse effects in Japan. Japanese people equated low prices to low quality and thus didn’t want to buy at Wal-Mart. Moreover, Japanese weren’t used to the fact that a store was open 24 hours per day. Such misunderstandings cause huge trouble. For some situations we cannot prepare. However, it would have been important for WalMart to analyze the Japanese culture in depth before starting business there. If we look at everyday life it is safe to say that all people have the problem how to cope with people’s relationship to time, nature and other human beings. The solutions how to get a grip on these problems differ from culture to culture. Consequently, it is important to be aware of the cultural differences of each country. Trompenaars and Hofstede give some propositions how to classify cultures.

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2. Cultural Dimensions of Hofstede and Trompenaars
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Hofstedes’ Dimensions

Geert Hofstede filtered out 5 dimensions which indicate how people are influenced by their culture especially in the workplace.

The first dimension refers to identity. The dimension Collectivism vs. individualism reflects the relationship between an individual and the group. In more individualistic societies the emphasis is put on freedom, personal achievement and individual identity. Consequently, ties in a group (e.g. the family, workgroup) are loose. People manifest a higher incentive for self-initiative and try to take care of themselves. In contrast, collectivistic cultures place great value on the common interest of a group, harmony between members and taking care of each other. There is a clear distinction between inand outsiders. If an outsider takes face of one group member the entire group feels offended and avoids contact with the troublemaker.

Secondly, Power Distance deals with hierarchy and the degree of inequality between members of a society which is adopted as a natural state of affairs. In high power distance countries inequality in physical and intellectual capabilities is considered to be normal. Subordinates are in for displaying obedience to the boss. There is a pronounced sense of hierarchy and people enjoying a high status reveal their power. Whereas societies that rank low on power distance play down hierarchy and stress equality. There is no focus on...
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