The absence of women’s voices in Hofstede’s Cultural Consequences: A Postcolonial Reading

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Along with the increasingly globalized business environment that we have witnessed over the past decades cross-culture management research has establish itself as an important research field with much of its inspiration coming from colonialism and a Western rational thinking. The legacy of colonialism and Western rationality is apparent in its engagement in research practices involving the essentialising, exoticing and appropriation of the other (cf. Said 1995, Prasad 2003, Westwood 2001) with the underlying assumption that cultural models could serve as competitive devices in the conquest of the global market. It is my contention that current cross-cultural management studies, with Hofstede (1980, 2001) as one of its front figures, is founded on a colonial discourse that gives prominence to the universal at the sacrifice of alternative conceptualizations of social life. Hence, embedded in the Western scientific rationality Hofstede’s methodological approach is constructed on a quantitative method which among other things is characterized by its carefully selected sample consisting of a group of well educated white ‘men’ from the middle classes working for the same company and sharing identical or similar occupations. The appointment of well educated men from the middle classes as the norm for national culture might mislead one to believe that Hofstede perceives of culture as equally distributed among men and women and that there are no differences in regard to the possession of power. However, considering that he has dedicated one of his five dimensions to gender and constructed his model on a bipolar distinction between Masculinity and Femininity this is clearly not the case. On the contrary his Masculinity/Femininity dimension (MAS) shows that he has a very clear and distinct understanding of the differences between masculinity and femininity which he takes advantage of for his construction of national cultures. For example, Hofstede argues that statistically men as a rule will be more achievement oriented while women as a rule will be more care-oriented.


  • Agneta Moulettes
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch
EventBritish Academy of Management Conference, 2007 - Warwick, United Kingdom
Duration: 2007 Sep 102007 Sep 13


ConferenceBritish Academy of Management Conference, 2007
CountryUnited Kingdom