Sunday, November 04, 2012
Cultures Amazing Consequences
It is so thick and so expensive that perhaps few people read Hofestede's incredibly famous "Culture's Consequences" (Hofsteded, 1980). This post is a repeat.
If you do read Culture's Consequences you will find that Hofestede's "Masculinity" factor, in which Japan came out way on top is defined in the same way as, and contains questionnaire items entirely applicable to Markus and Kitayama's (1991) Independent Self Construals, that is argued to be typical of Americans! E.g. "How important is it for you to work with people that cooperate well with one another?" or "How important is it for you to have a good working relationship with your manager?" are both items that correspond to femininity, that Japanese rated as being unimportant.
Markus and Hofesteded to agree however, that Independence is a masculine trait. Before she teamed up with Kitayama, Markus (Markus and Cross, 1990) wrote a very similar paper about the differences between men and women, even using most of the same data (such as Cousin's study) to support the assertion that there are two types of self construal, held by men and women. Personally I think that Markus is right on both counts, about the Japanese and about women. How could Hofstede get Japan so wrong? I guess it was because he was surveying Japanese IBM employees. Or is it because Japanese really are by far the most independent culture in the world?
In any event Hofsteded did a good job of spinning his surprising findings.
I admire all the people mentioned in this blog post.
Cousins, S. D. (1989). Culture and self-perception in Japan and the United States. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 124.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations (2nd ed.). Sage Publications, Inc.
Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation. Psychological Review; Psychological Review, 98(2), 224. Retrieved from www.biu.ac.il/PS/docs/diesendruck/2.pdf
Markus, H., & Cross, S. (1990). The interpersonal self.
This blog represents the opinions of the author, Timothy Takemoto, and not the opinions of his employer.