Management International Review

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 455–487 | Cite as

Does Country Equate with Culture? Beyond Geography in the Search for Cultural Boundaries

Research Article

Abstract

Traditionally, cultures have been treated as though they reside exclusively within, or perfectly overlap with countries. Indeed, the terms “country” and “culture” are often used interchangeably. As evidence mounts for substantial within-country cultural variation, and often between-country similarities, the problem with equating country and culture becomes more apparent. To help resolve the country-culture conundrum, we evaluate the extent to which political boundaries are suitable for clustering cultures based on a meta-analysis of 558 studies that used Hofstede’s (Culture’s consequences: international differences in work-related values. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1980) cultural values framework. The results reveal that approximately 80 % of variation in cultural values resides within countries, confirming that country is often a poor proxy for culture. We also evaluate the relative suitability of other demographic and environmental characteristics, such as occupation, socio-economic status, wealth, freedom, globalization, and instability. Our results suggest that it may be more appropriate to talk about cultures of professions, socio-economic classes, and free versus oppressed societies, than about cultures of countries.

Keywords

Culture Cultural values Cultural regions Cross-cultural management 

References

  1. Anderson, B. (2006). Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism (4th ed.). London: Verso Books.Google Scholar
  2. Argyle, M. (1986). Rules for social relationships in four cultures. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38(3), 309–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Au, K. Y., & Cheung, M. W. L. (2004). Intra-cultural variation and job autonomy in 42 countries. Organization Studies, 25(8), 1139–1362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bagozzi, R. P., Verbeke, W., & Gavino, J. C. Jr. (2003). Culture moderates the self-regulation of shame and its effects on performance: the case of salespersons in The Netherlands and the Philippines. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(2), 219–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Basabe, N., Paez, D., & Valencia, J. (2002). Cultural dimensions, socioeconomic development, climate, and emotional hedonic level. Cognition and Emotion, 16(1), 103–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Baskerville, R. F. (2003). Hofstede never studied culture. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 28(1), 1–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bouchard, T. J. Jr., & Loehlin, J. C. (2001). Genes, evolution, and personality. Behavior Genetics, 31(3), 243–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brewer, P., & Venaik, S. (2012). On the misuse of national culture dimensions. International Marketing Review, 29(6), 673–683.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caprar, D. V., et al. (2015). Conceptualizing and measuring culture in international business and management: from challenges to potential solutions. Journal of International Business Studies 46(9), 1011–1027.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cialdini, R. B., Wosinska, W., Barrett, D. W., Butner, J., & Gornik-Durose, M. (1999). Compliance with a request in two cultures: the differential influence of social proof and commitment/consistency on collectivists and individualists. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25(10), 1242–1253.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Coon, H. M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2001). Cultural orientations in the United States: (Re)examining differences among ethnic groups. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32(2), 348–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Darton, W. (1790). Inhabitants of the World. Unknown publisher.Google Scholar
  13. Dolan, S. L., Diez-Pinol, M., Fernandez-Alles, M., Martin-Prius, A., & Martinez-Fierro, S. (2004). Exploratory study of within-country differences in work and life values: the case of spanish business students. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 4(2), 157–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dorfman, P., & Howell, J. P. (1988). Dimensions of national culture and effective leadership patterns: Hofstede revisited. In R. N. Farmer & E. G. McGoun (Eds.), Advances in international comparative management (pp. 150–172). London: JAI Press.Google Scholar
  15. Earley, P. C. (1993). East meets West meets Mideast: further explorations of collectivistic and individualistic work groups. Academy of Management Journal, 36(2), 319–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Engeser, S., Rheinberg, F., & Möller, M. (2009). Achievement motive imagery in German schoolbooks: a pilot study testing McClelland’s hypothesis. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(1), 110–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Eylon, D., & Au, K. Y. (1999). Exploring empowerment: cross-cultural differences along the power distance dimension. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 23(3), 373–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fischer, R., & Smith, P. B. (2003). Reward allocation and culture: a meta-analysis. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 34(3), 251–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Furrer, O., Liu, B. S.-C., & Sudharshan, D. (2000). The relationships between culture and service quality perceptions: basis for cross-cultural market segmentation and resource allocation. Journal of Service Research, 2(4), 355–371.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gerhart, B., & Fang, M. (2005). National culture and human resource management: assumptions and evidence. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 16(6), 971–986.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goodwin, R., & Plaza, S. H. (2000). Perceived and received social support in two cultures: collectivism and support among British and Spanish students. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 17(2), 282–291.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haidt, J. (2012). The righteous mind: why good people are divided by politics and religion. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  23. Han, S., Kang, T., Salter, S., & Yoo, Y. K. (2010). A cross-country study on the effects of national culture on earnings management. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(1), 123–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hay, I., & Muller, S. (2012). ‘That tiny, stratospheric apex that owns most of the world’: exploring geographies of the super-rich. Geographical Research, 50(1), 75–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  26. Hofstede, G. (1982). Scoring guide for the value survey module. Maastricht: Institute for Research on Intercultural Co-operation.Google Scholar
  27. Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations (2nd ed.). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  28. Hofstede, G. (2002a). Dimensions do not exist: a reply to Brendan McSweeney. Human Relations, 55(11), 1355–1361.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hofstede, G. (2002b). The pitfalls of cross-national survey research: a reply to the article by Spector et al. on the psychometric properties of the Hofstede Values Survey Module 1994. Applied Psychology, 51(1), 170–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hofstede, G. (2006). What did GLOBE really measure? Researchers’ minds versus respondents’ minds. Journal of International Business Studies, 37(6), 882–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hofstede, G., & Bond, M. H. (1988). The Confucian connection: from cultural roots to economic growth. Organization Dynamics, 16(4), 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hofstede, G., & McCrae, R. R. (2004). Personality and culture revisited: linking traits and dimensions of culture. Cross-Cultural Research, 38(1), 52–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Houghton, J. D., Carnes, A., & Ellison, C. N. (2014). A cross-cultural examination of self-leadership: testing for measurement invariance across four cultures. Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies, 21(4), 414–430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.). (2004). Culture, leadership, and organizations: the GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  35. Hui, C. H. (1988). Measurement of individualism-collectivism. Journal of Research in Personality, 22(1), 17–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hummels, D. (2007). Transportation costs and international trade in the second era of globalization. The Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(3), 131–154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hunter, J. E., & Schmidt, F. L. (2004). Methods of meta-analysis: correcting error and bias in research findings (2nd ed.). Newbury Park: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Huntington, S. P. (1996). The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  39. Huo, Y. P., & Randall, D. M. (1991). Exploring subcultural differences in Hofstede’s value survey: the case of the Chinese. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 8(2), 159–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Inglehart, R., & Welzel, C. (2005). Modernization, cultural change and democracy: the human development sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jackson, T., & Aycan, Z. (2006). Editorial: from cultural values to cross cultural interfaces. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 6(1), 5–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Johnson, J. P., & Lenartowicz, T. (1998). Culture, freedom and economic growth: do cultural values explain economic growth? Journal of World Business, 33(4), 332–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kaasa, A., Vadi, M., & Varblane, U. (2013). European Social Survey as a source of new cultural dimensions estimates for regions. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 13(2), 137–157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kaasa, A., Vadi, M., & Varblane, U. (2014). Regional cultural differences within European countries: evidence from multi-country surveys. Management International Review, 54(6), 825–852.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kanagaretnam, K., Lim, C. Y., & Lobo, G. J. (2011). Effects of national culture on earnings quality of banks. Journal of International Business Studies, 42(6), 853–874.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kirkman, B. L., Chen, G., Farh, J.-L., Chen, Z. X., & Lowe, K. B. (2009). Individual power distance orientation and follower reaction to transformational leaders: a cross-level, cross-cultural examination. Academy of Management Journal, 52(4), 744–764.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kraus, M. W., Piff, P. K., Mendoza-Denton, R., Rheinschmidt, M. L., & Keltner, D. (2012). Social class, solipsism, and contextualism: how the rich are different from the poor. Psychological Review, 119(3), 546–562.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kristof-Brown, A. L., Zimmerman, R. D., & Johnson, E. C. (2005). Consequences of individuals’ fit at work: a meta-analysis of person–job, person–organization, person–group, and person–supervisor fit. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 281–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kroeber, A. L., & Kluckhohn, C. (1952). Culture: a critical review of concepts and definitions. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  50. Lee, K., Scandura, T. A., & Sharif, M. M. (2014). Cultures have consequences: a configural approach to leadership across two cultures. The Leadership Quarterly, 25(4), 692–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lenartowicz, T., Johnson, J. P., & White, C. T. (2003). The neglect of intracountry cultural variation in international management research. Journal of Business Research, 56(12), 999–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lenartowicz, T., & Roth, K. (2001). Does subculture within a country matter? A cross-cultural study of motivational domains and business performance in Brazil. Journal of International Business Studies, 32(2), 305–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lonner, W. J., & van de Vijver, F. J. (2004). Levels of analysis in cross-cultural psychology: promises and challenges (editorial note). Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 35(1), 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lubinski, D., & Humphreys, L. G. (1996). Seeing the forest from the trees: when predicting the behavior or status of groups, correlate means. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2(2), 363–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Marin, G. (1982). The perception of distributive justice in two cultures. Revista Latinoamericana de Psicologia, 14(1), 29–36.Google Scholar
  56. Maseland, R. (2011). Cultural overlap and MNE location decisions. Nagoya: Paper presented at the Academy of International Business Annual Meeting.Google Scholar
  57. Matsumoto, D., Grissom, R. J., & Dinnel, D. L. (2001). Do between-culture differences really mean that people are different?: a look at some measures of cultural effect size. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32(4), 478–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Maznevski, M. L., & DiStefano, J. J. (1995). Measuring culture in international management: the cultural perspectives questionnaire. The University of Western Ontario Working Paper Series, pp. 95–139.Google Scholar
  59. Maznevski, M. L., DiStefano, J. J., Gomez, C., Noorderhaven, N. G., & Wu, P.-C. (2002). Cultural dimensions at the individual level of analysis: the cultural orientation framework. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 2(3), 275–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. McSweeney, B. (2002). Hofstede’s model of national cultural differences and their consequences: a triumph of faith—a failure of analysis. Human Relations, 55(1), 89–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. McSweeney, B. (2013). Fashion founded on a flaw: the ecological mono-deterministic fallacy of Hofstede, GLOBE, and followers. International Marketing Review, 30(5), 483–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Minkov, M., & Hofstede, G. (2012). Is national culture a meaningful concept? Cultural values delineate homogeneous national clusters of in-country regions. Cross-Cultural Research, 46(2), 133–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ng, T. W. H., Sorensen, K. L., & Yim, F. H. (2009). Does the job satisfaction-job performance relationship vary across cultures? Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(5), 1–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Offermann, L. R., & Hellmann, P. S. (1997). Culture’s consequences for leadership behavior: national values in action. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28(3), 342–351.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Oyserman, D., Coon, H. M., & Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). Rethinking individualism and collectivism: evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses. Psychological Bulletin, 128(1), 3–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Peterson, M. F., & Smith, P. B. (1997). Does national culture of ambient temperature explain cross-national differences in role stress? No sweat! Academy of Management Journal, 40(4), 930.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Peterson, M. F., & Søndergaard, M. (2011). Traditions and transitions in quantitative societal culture research in organization studies. Organization Studies, 32(11), 1539–1558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pow, C.-P. (2011). Living it up: super-rich enclave and transnational elite urbanism in Singapore. Geoforum, 42(3), 382–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pudelko, M., Carr, C., Fink, G., & Wentges, P. (2006). Editorial for the special section: the convergence concept in cross cultural management research. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 6(1), 15–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Punnett, B. J. (1991). Language, cultural values and preferred leadership style: a comparison of Anglophones and Francophones in Ottawa. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 23(2), 241–244.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Ralston, D. A., Holt, D. H., Terpstra, R. H., & Kai-Cheng, Y. (1997). The impact of national culture and economic ideology on managerial work values: a study of the United States, Russia, Japan, and China. Journal of International Business Studies, 28(1), 177–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Riordan, C. M., & Vandenberg, R. J. (1994). A central question in cross-cultural research: do employees of different cultures interpret work-related measures in an equivalent manner? Journal of Management, 20(3), 643–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Ronen, S., & Shenkar, O. (1985). Clustering countries on attitudinal dimensions: a review and synthesis. Academy of Management Review, 10(3), 435–454.Google Scholar
  74. Ronen, S., & Shenkar, O. (2013). Mapping world cultures: cluster formation, sources and implications. Journal of International Business Studies, 44(9), 867–897.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Rosenthal, R., & DiMatteo, M. R. (2001). Meta analysis: recent developments in quantitative methods for literature reviews. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 59–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Schneider, S. C. (1988). National vs. corporate culture: implications for human resource management. Human Resource Management, 27(2), 231–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Schwartz, S. H. (1994). Beyond individualism/collectivism: New cultural dimensions of values. In U. Kim, H. C. Triandis, C. Kagitcibasi, S. C. Choi, & G. Yoon (Eds.), Individualism and collectivism: theory, methods and applications (pp. 85–119). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  78. Sharpe, D. (1997). Of apples and oranges, file drawers and garbage: why validity issues in meta-analysis will not go away. Clinical Psychology Review, 17(8), 881–901.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Singelis, T. M. (1994). The measurement of independent and interdependent self-construals. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 20(5), 580–591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Spector, P. E., Cooper, C. L., & Sparks, K. (2001). An international study of the psychometric properties of the Hofstede Values Survey Module 1994: a comparison of individual and country/province level results. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 50(2), 269–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Stahl, G. K., Maznevski, M. L., Voigt, A., & Jonsen, K. (2010). Unraveling the effects of cultural diversity in teams: a meta-analysis of research on multicultural work groups. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(4), 690–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Steel, P., Schmidt, J., & Shultz, J. (2008). Refining the relationship between personality and subjective well-being. Psychological Bulletin, 134(1), 138–161.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Steel, P., & Taras, V. (2010). Culture as a consequence: a multilevel multivariate meta-analysis of the effects of individual and country characteristics on work-related cultural values. Journal of International Management, 16(3), 211–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Sturman, M. C., Shao, L., & Katz, J. H. (2012). The effect of culture on the curvilinear relationship between performance and turnover. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(1), 46–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Taras, V. (2011). Catalogue of instruments for measuring culture. Retrieved Jan 1, 2012, from http://vtaras.com/files/Culture_Survey_Catalogue.pdf.
  86. Taras, V., Kirkman, B. L., & Steel, P. (2010). Examining the impact of culture’s consequences: a three-decade, multi-level, meta-analytic review of Hofstede’s cultural value dimensions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 95(3), 405–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Taras, V., Rowney, J., & Steel, P. (2009). Half a century of measuring culture: approaches, challenges, limitations, and suggestions based on the analysis of 112 instruments for quantifying culture. Journal of International Management, 15(4), 357–373.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Taras, V., & Steel, P. (2009). Beyond Hofstede: challenging the ten testaments of cross-cultural research. In C. Nakata (Ed.), Beyond Hofstede: culture frameworks for global marketing and management (pp. 40–61). Chicago: Macmillan/Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Taras, V., Steel, P., & Kirkman, B. L. (2012). The times they are a-changin’: improving cultural indices and rankings based on a meta-analysis of Hofstede’s dimensions. Journal of World Business, 47(3), 329–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Torpey, J. (2000). The invention of the passport: surveillance, citizenship and the state. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  91. Tov, W., & Diener, E. (2009). Culture and subjective well-being. In E. Diener (Ed.), Culture and well-being (pp. 9–41). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Triandis, H. C. (1983). Allocentric vs. idiocentric social behavior: a major cultural difference between Hispanics and Mainstream Technical Reports: Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL.Google Scholar
  93. Triandis, H. C. (1994). INDCOL. Unpublished research scale on Individualism and Collectivism. Champaign: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  94. Triandis, H. C., Bontempo, R., Villareal, M. J., Asai, M., & Lucca, N. (1988). Individualism and collectivism: cross-cultural perspectives on self-ingroup relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(2), 323–338.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Trompenaars, F. (1993). Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business. Chicago: Irwin Professional Publishing.Google Scholar
  96. Trubisky, P., Ting-Toomey, S., & Lin, S.-L. (1991). The influence of individualism-collectivism and self-monitoring on conflict styles. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 15(1), 65–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Tung, R. L., & Verbeke, A. (2010). Beyond Hofstede and GLOBE: improving the quality of cross-cultural research. Journal of International Business Studies, 41(8), 1259–1274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Verlegh, P. W., & Steenkamp, J. B. E. (1999). A review and meta-analysis of country-of-origin research. Journal of economic psychology, 20(5), 521–546.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Waldron, J. (2003). Security and liberty: the image of balance. Journal of Political Philosophy, 11(2), 191–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Weber, M. (1930). The protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. (T. Parsons, Trans.) New York: Scriber. (Original work published 1904).Google Scholar
  101. Williamson, D. (2002). Forward from a critique of Hofstede’s model of national culture. Human Relations, 55(11), 1373–1395.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Yoo, B., & Donthu, N. (2002). The effects of marketing education and individual cultural values on marketing ethics of students. Journal of Marketing Education, 24(2), 92–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Zander, L. (2004). Editorial: dialogue on identifying culture. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 4(3), 275–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North Carolina at GreensboroGreensboroUSA
  2. 2.University of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  3. 3.North Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

Personalised recommendations