Geert Hofstede ( 2 October 1928 - 12 February 2020) was born in a peaceful country, but his teenage years saw the second World War rage across Europe. He started working as an engineer during turbulent years of rebuilding, and soon became a personnel manager. Fascinated by the human in the system, he did a PhD in organizational behaviour. This landed him a job with the personnel research department of IBM international. In the late sixties he began analysing the data from a company wide personnel survey exercise. That period of pioneering discovery yielded the book Culture's Consequences.
Geert's ideas about dimensions of culture were so outrageous that seventeen publishers refused the manuscript before a visionary boss at Sage accepted it. the book appeared in 1980. The rest is history.
The model of societal culture has undergone various major extensions since the first study. It now counts six dimensions instead of the original four. They are described in the 2010 popular edition Cultures & Organizations, Software of the mind by Geert, his son Gert Jan and culturologist Michael Minkov.
Online Geert Hofstede exhibition
For a lively perspective on Geert's life and work, including many interviews in which he looks back, visit the online exhibition.
Pronouncing Geert Hofstede’s name
Pronouncing Geert's name can be challenging for people who are used to English.
- The 'ee' in 'Geert' is pronounced with the same vowel sound as 'great'. It is NOT pronounced like 'burp' or 'bird'.
- The Dutch 'G' sounds like the Scottish 'loch', in between 'g' and 'h'.
- 'Hofstede', written phonetically, would look like 'Hofstayder'.
So we get 'Cheart Hofstayder'.