Hofstedeâ€™s cultural dimensions have become the basic framework for differentiating among national cultures. This is in spite of the fact that the data on which itâ€™s based come from a single company and are nearly 30 years old. Since these data were originally gathered, a lot has happened on the world scene. Some of the most obvious include the fall of the Soviet Union, the merging of East and West Germany, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the rise of China as a global power. All this suggests the need for an updated assessment of cultural dimensions. The GLOBE project provides such an update.
Begun in 1993, the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) research program is an ongoing cross-cultural investigation of leadership and national culture. Using the data from 825 organizations in 62 countries, the GLOBE team identified nine dimensions on which national cultures differ.
Assertiveness: The extent to which a society encourages people to be tough, confrontational, assertive, and competitive versus modest and tender. This is essentially equivalent to Hofstedeâ€™s achievement dimension.
Future orientation: The extent to which a society encourages and rewards future oriented behaviors such as planning, investing in the future, and delaying gratification. This is essentially equivalent to Hofstedeâ€™s long-term / short-term orientation.
Gender differentiation: The extent to which a society maximum gender role differences.
Uncertainly avoidance: As identified by Hofstede, the GLOBE team defined this term as a societyâ€™s reliance on social norms and procedures to alleviate the unpredictability of future events.
Power distance: The GLOBE team defined this as the degree to which members of a society expect power to be unequally shared.
Individualism / collectivism: Again, this term was defined as the degree to which individuals are encouraged by societal institutions to be integrated into groups within organizations and society.
In-group collectivism: In contrast to focusing on societal institutions, this dimension encompasses the extent to which members of a society take pride in membership in small groups, such as their family and circle of close friends, and the organizations in which they are employed.
Performance orientation: This refers to the degree to which a society encourages and rewards group members for performance improvement and excellence.
Humane orientation: This is defined as the degree to which a society encourages and rewards individuals for being fair, altruistic, generous, caring, and kind to others.
A comparison of the GLOBE dimensions against those identified by Hofstede suggests that the former has extended Hofstedeâ€™s work rather than replaced it. The GLOBE project confirms that Hofstedeâ€™s five dimensions are still valid. However, it has added some additional dimensions and provides us with an updated measure of where countries rate on each dimension. For instance, while the United States led the world in individualism in the 1970s, today it scores in the mid-ranks of countries. We can expect future cross-cultural studies of human behavior and organizational practices to increasingly use the GLOBE dimensions to assess differences between countries.