By understanding other national cultures' values, attitudes and behaviours, employees can gain greater insight into how cultural norms manifest in different countries and contexts. Although some methods used to categorise culture have been criticised, they do provide a useful means to understand the likely differences between societies. This is especially important for employees working on an international basis; understanding the culture of the country they're based in, and the differences from their own culture, will improve working relationships and business success.

This factsheet looks at why understanding cultural difference matters and outlines various frameworks researchers have suggested for understanding national cultures: Schein's three levels, Hofstede's four dimensions, and Trompenaars's seven key differences.

CIPD viewpoint

Understanding cultures

Frameworks for understanding national culture

Applying the theories

References

Useful contacts and further reading

Top