Dimensions and dynamics of national culture: synthesizing Hofstede with Inglehart

This is a Global and Strategic Marketing Research Centre (GLOSMARC) seminar taking place at Leeds University Business School on Wednesday 7 March 2018

Cross-national research on cultural values intersects multiple disciplines but the prominence of concepts varies by academic fields. Hofstede’s dimensional concept of culture, to begin with, dominates in cross-cultural psychology, marketing and international management. Inglehart’s dynamic concept of culture, by contrast, prevails in sociology and political science. We argue that this disciplinary division is unfortunate because the two concepts are complementary, for which reason a synthesis rectifies their mutual weaknesses. Indeed, while Hofstede’s dimensional concept neglects cultural dynamics, Inglehart’s dynamic concept is dimensionally reductionist. We demonstrate empirically that combining these two concepts leads to an improved understanding of cultural differences.

Inspired by Hofstede’s cultural dimensions we use data from the European Value Studies and World Values Surveys for 495,011 individuals born between 1900-1999 in 110 countries and then show that change on these dimensions proceeds as Inglehart and his collaborators suggest. Most notably, younger generations have become more individualistic and more joyous. But even though economic development and generational value shift drive this cultural change, roughly half of the variation in national cultural values is unique to each country’s specific history and geography. We discuss the implications for cross-national cultural research.

About the speaker

Sjoerd Beugelsdijk (PhD Tilburg University) is a full professor in international business at the University of Groningen, The Netherlands. Most of his research focuses on cultural diversity. He has published more than 60 refereed articles and edited special issues in leading journals, such as the Journal of International Business Studies and Journal of Economic Geography. Sjoerd Beugelsdijk has held visiting positions at several universities including University of South Carolina, Copenhagen Business School, and Bocconi University. He has served as head of department, and as academic director of the undergraduate international business program in Groningen. Dr. Beugelsdijk is one of the few scholars in social sciences who received the prestigious Rubicon (2004), VENI (2007-2009) and VIDI (2012-2017) grants in social sciences of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). He has supervised five PhD projects and is the reviewing editor for the Journal of International Business Studies (2016-2020).