Hofstede's Dimensions & Hall's Time

We use a variety of analytical tools to support Intercultural Organization Development. One is a brief summary of the work of Geert Hofstede and Edward T. Hall, respected anthropologists whose concepts are useful in understanding cultural factors in organizational behavior in various parts of the world.

Hofstede's well-known "dimensions of culture" were derived mainly from his extensive organizational anthropology research in the late 1970s and early 1980s - the scores are general comparisons of values in the countries and regions he studied and can vary greatly within each country. Although Hofstede's work is somewhat dated and has rightly been criticized on a number of grounds the dimensions are useful in understanding that members of various societies are likely to behave in different ways in a given situation.

Anthropologist Edward T. Hall's concept of polychronic versus monochronic time orientation describes how cultures structure their time. The monochronic time concept follows the notion of "one thing at a time", while the polychronic concept focuses on multiple tasks being handled at one time, and time is subordinate to interpersonal relations. The table in our summary document gives a brief overview of the two different time concepts, and their resultant behaviour.

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