Anthropologist Geert Hofstede's 1980 work, Culture's Consequences, was the first study to look at cultural differences using data. The Dutchman took advantage of the enormous global span of his employer, the technology company IBM, to gather survey data in 20 languages and across 70 countries, and to produce a unique study of national values.
Besides collecting an extraordinary volume of material, Hofstede introduced an innovative framework for analyzing data; identifying patterns he called "dimensions". This allowed him to plot the values of different cultures accurately - a far cry from earlier, highly subjective studies of "national character". But Hofstede went further. He identified dimensions in the cultures of organizations that were not based on values, but rather on practices - practices that those organizations could change to fit the values of the employees. Hofstede's methodology is still enormously relevant today, not just in management and anthropology, but also in all areas where cross-cultural studies intersect with human life.
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