Exercises, Stories, and Synthetic Cultures

Gert Jan Hofstede, Paul B. Pedersen, Geert Hofstede - Intercultural Press - 2002 - 234 pages

Exploring Culture

2019 June 13 | by Arduino Mancini Multiculturalism

In a world increasingly interconnected, you can’t afford to ignore the existence of cultures other than yours.

Why is that?

Here are a few questions for you:

  • How do you handle negotiating preliminaries with a person from the United States? And with a person from Japan?
  • What do you need to know before you decide to move to Spain?
  • Can you bring shoes when you are visiting a Finnish family?
  • If you invite a person to a restaurant in an Arab country, can you pay the bill without appearing rude?
  • What do you need to know about Argentinian habits and customs before you go there on vacation?

The management of multicultural aspects becomes more and more important both in personal and professional life.

To understand concepts that can help us manage complex situations, we may have to attend a long and specific training path, both theoretical and practical.

Exploring Culture, designed to be a tool for trainers, is also suitable for managers, coaches, students and educators.

I decided to present it to you because the book

will guide you through the critical aspects of multiculturalism
and will give you immediate access to the keys to understanding specific situations.

Exploring Culture brings Geert Hofstede’s five dimensions of national culture to life.

Gert Jan Hofstede and his co-authors Paul Pedersen and Geert Hofstede introduce synthetic cultures, the ten “pure” cultural types derived from the extremes of the five dimensions: the result is a playful book of practice that is firmly rooted in theory.

I think that whoever deals with national cultures will find this book very valuable at several levels:

  1. it provides a solid theoretical base for understanding and interpreting national cultures;
  2. exercises, stories, and examples support the conceptual framework with practical, useful, real-world examples;
  3. the layout makes it an easy-to-use and valuable reference book.

Part light, part serious, but always thought-provoking, this unique book approaches training through the three-part process of building awareness, knowledge, and skills.

It leads the reader through the first two components with more than 75 activities, dialogues, stories, and incidents; the Synthetic Culture Laboratory and two full simulations fulfil the skill-building component.

Exploring Culture is suitable for students, trainers, managers, coaches and educators; it can be used for individual study or as a text, and it serves as an excellent partner to Geert Hofstede’s popular¬†Cultures and Organizations.

Before going over the contents of the book, here is a short video with Gert Jan Hofstede speaking about the Perspective on Cultures.



Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

Part I: Stories and Exercises

Chapter 1: Worlds Apart in One Village

  • Awareness, Knowledge, Skills
  • What Do You See?
  • How Would You Feel?
  • What Would You Do?
  • Observation and Interpretation
  • Cross-Cultural Communication Barriers
  • Culture Shock
  • Exercises
  • Conclusion

Chapter 2: Culture: The Rules of the Social Game

  • The Best Country, a Fairy Tale
  • Five Basic Problems of Society
  • Major Aspects of Culture
  • Awareness of Culture Differences
  • How Would You Feel? (Revisited)
  • What Would You Do? (Revisited)
  • Attribution Exercises
  • Conclusion

Part II: Synthetic Cultures

Chapter 3: The Ten Synthetic Culture Profiles

  • How to Interpret the Profiles
  • Profiles: Identity Dimension
  • Profiles: Hierarchy Dimension
  • Profiles: Gender Dimension
  • Profiles: Truth Dimension
  • Profiles: Virtue Dimension
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4: Getting to Know the Synthetic Cultures

  • Cross-Cultural Encounters
  • Guess the Synthetic Culture
  • Work think
  • Synthetic Cultures versus Real Cultures
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5: Dialogues in Synthetic Culture Role

  • Dialogues: Identity Dimension
  • Dialogues: Hierarchy Dimension
  • Dialogues: Gender Dimension
  • Dialogues: Truth Dimension
  • Dialogues: Virtue Dimension
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6: Summing Up

Part III: Group Work and Simulations

Chapter 7: Group Work for Cross-Cultural Learning

  • Framework for Group Work
  • Synthetic Culture Acculturation Exercises
  • The Synthetic Culture Laboratory

Chapter 8: Using Synthetic Cultures in Simulations

  • Simulations on the Market
  • The Synthetic Culture Approach to Simulations
  • Selecting and Preparing for a Simulation
  • Introducing the Simulation
  • Facilitating the Simulation
  • Debriefing the Simulation

Chapter 9: The Trade Mission

Chapter 10: Follow-the-Sun Global Technology Team


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