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Evaluate the value of Hofstede's framework in maximising competitiveness for international companies

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Introduction

Evaluate the value of Hofstede's framework in maximising competitiveness for international companies Geert Hofstede conducted perhaps the most comprehensive study of how values in the workplace are influenced by culture and his research has been used by companies globally to combat the challenges of working with different cultures. The importance of understanding cultures is increasingly important with more and more trade being carried out on a global level leading to an increase in international relations. In Hofstede's theory he approaches understanding other cultures in five succinct dimensions; relationships, risk avoidance, authority, individualism and orientation. The element of attitudes towards relationships focuses on how important the buyer-seller relationship is and how masculine or feminine a culture is. A masculine organisation is one which the management style is competitive and assertive, as opposed to the female approach, which is more modest and receptive, Japanese organisations for example has a very masculine approach to management where as the Swedish approach is more feminine. ...read more.

Middle

Hofstede's theory also recognises different attitudes to authority in different cultures in countries such as in South America and Scandinavia for example; where in South America countries there is an expectation that some individuals hold larger amounts of power than others- in other word, managers are thought to be above employees, this therefore may be reflecting in pay, bonuses and privileges such as separate canteens or even specified parking spaces. This attitude to authority differs from a Scandinavian organisation where there is more of an mind-set towards team-work and equality of status regardless of job title. The ideology of Individualism is another aspect of Hofstede's approach, where cultures vary due to there being an either collectivist society such as in Latin America where individuals act predominantly as members of a group and everyone looks out for one another, this is also reflecting in their approach to making negotiations as there will be lots of 'team members' involved apposed to where an organisation with an individualistic culture would be more inclined to have a one-to-one negotiation. ...read more.

Conclusion

Hofstede's theory is not the only way to build a competitive advantage for an international company, Michael Porter pales a great emphasises the importance of acquiring and using knowledge. Porter highlights the significance of watching for trends in the market in order to become aware of any regional changes before its competitors do. Porter also proposes that multi-nationals shift production to countries of low exchange-rates as well as using lessons learnt in one country to their advantage. There are many theory's and models to increase the competitive advantage of international countries and all of which have their individual benefits to different companies, not one theory is wrong. I would think a successful company should not choose one model to follow, but take different ideas, inspirations and proposals from many different models including both Geert Hofstede's and Michael Porters. Hofstede proposes very relevant and practical ways to aid flourishing, international communications, which is not a choice for a company that wants to be a success, it is a necessity, therefore meaning Hofstede's framework for maximising competitiveness is of the highest value to such companies. ?? ?? ?? ?? By Bethany Brandon-Blatch ...read more.

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