6 dimensions of organisational culture

The organizational culture project

Culture's Consequences was published in 1980, and became influential. The question now arose how organizational culture was related to national culture.

Geert Hofstede then launched a separate research project into organizational culture differences. His institute IRIC (Institute for Research on Intercultural Ccoperation) compared 20 organizational units in Denmark and the Netherlands in the 1980s. The project identified six independent dimensions of practices, not values. They are: process-oriented versus results-oriented, job-oriented versus employee-oriented, professional versus parochial, open systems versus closed systems, tightly versus loosely controlled, and pragmatic versus normative.

The position of an organization on these dimensions is partly determined by the business or industry the organization is in. Scores on the dimensions are also related to a number of other "hard" characteristics of the organizations. These lead to conclusions about how organization cultures can be and cannot be managed.

These dimensions are based on research in only two countries, both low in Power distance and Masculinity. As a result, their applicability in other, different countries cannot be taken for granted. In all likelihood, issues around status differences and power usage play out very differently elsewhere in the word. Also, the sample of 20 organisations was not representative of all possible organisations. This further limits the confidence that can be placed in the results. Consultancy based on this model should be handled with caution.

The most important and robust result is that although organisations in the study did not have shared values, they did have shared understanding of practices.

Organizational culture consultancy

The organization culture consultancy company itim was founded by Bob Waisfisz in 1985. It is still active today, unconnected with us despite their brand "Hofstede Insights". Bob Waisfisz started a new company on organizational culture, called Culture Sharp.