Purpose: – The purpose of this paper is to scrutinize Geert Hofstede’s conceptualization of national culture and provide an alternative beyond purely constructivist conceptualizations of culture for cross-cultural management scholars and practitioners. Design/methodology/approach: – Hofstede’s conceptualization of national culture is discussed and criticized. Subsequently, alternatives are being discussed. Eventually, a more feasible alternative is suggested and the ways in which it can be applied are briefly mentioned. Findings: – Several objections to Hofstede’s idea and measurement of national culture are listed: it assumes people are cultural dopes, it ignores the influence of non-cultural factors, it reifies culture, it assumes internal coherence, it does not account for change, it arbitrarily uses the nation-state as the preferred locus of culture, and it has an in-built Western bias. Several authors have argued for a constructivist conceptualization of culture, which sees culture as a repertoire, from which ideas and possible actions can be selected. The downside, however, is that it has no practical value for managers. In an attempt to solve this, the paper explores the possibilities of using the concept of national habitus, which shows how dispositions are shaped on a national level and how these dispositions change under the influence of other, non-national social forces. Practical implications: – The paper briefly explores how a national habitus-centered approach can help cross-cultural managers. Originality/value: – The paper’s added value lies in the use of a relatively recently extended sociological concept for cross-cultural management.

Cross-cultural management, Geert Hofstede, National culture, National habitus
dx.doi.org/10.1108/JOCM-11-2015-0219, hdl.handle.net/1765/85235
ERIM Top-Core Articles
Journal of Organizational Change Management
Department of Sociology

Touburg, G. (2016). National habitus: an antidote to the resilience of Hofstede’s “national culture”?. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 29(1), 81–92. doi:10.1108/JOCM-11-2015-0219