Publication Date

1997

Abstract

This thesis examines the Culture in the Workplace [TM] Questionnaire and associated data to determine the suitability and potential implications of this information for further cross-cultural research. The Culture in the Workplace [TM] (CW) questionnaire was designed by Geert Hofstede and was based on his groundbreaking IBM study. This study, as detailed in his book, Culture's Consequences, was based on 117,000 survey results obtained from employees of IBM and its subsidiaries from 1967-1973. Hofstede's in-depth analysis resulted in his well-known four-dimensional construct for measuring cultural values.

This thesis had two main purposes. The first was to determine if the CW questionnaire, currently used as a training instrument, could also be used as a statistically valid research tool. Given that, the second purpose was to analyze the resulting data and calculate new country scores. (The data was obtained by ITAP International, a cross-cultural consulting firm based in Princeton, as a result of administering the Culture in the Workplace [TM] questionnaire for the past ten years.) The new scores would be used for analysis and comparison to the original set of IBM scores as outlined in Culture's Consequences. However, if the CW could not currently be used as a research tool, then this study would analyze the limitations and propose recommendations ensure the necessary statistical compliance for utilization as a research tool.

Comparisons were made between Hofstede's original survey items and the CW items. For any survey items which were not in the original, research was conducted to determine the origin of those items and any statistical validation which was performed. Most of the new items had not been conclusively validated as replacement items for Hofstede's original set of questions. The ITAP data was examined to determine the possibility of extracting samples so that the required statistical validation of these replacement items could be performed. Unfortunately, it was not possible to obtain a sufficiently sized, sufficiently matched sample from the ITAP data. Therefore, analysis of the limitations was conducted and recommendations were made.

Analysis of cross-cultural research methods, as well as a review of the literature was conducted to ascertain problem areas and solutions. The review of the literature, which included several of the most prominent cross-cultural surveys, was particularly helpful in examining how other researchers overcame similar limitations.

The recommendations addressed several areas: validation of the new survey items, the method of data collection, the demographic information collected, and the matching strategy for calculation of scores. The overall conclusion was that although the CW in its present form could not be used as a research tool, several steps could be taken to bring it into statistical compliance. Subsequently, any CW data collected could be used for calculation of new country scores, as well as further analysis and research.

Disciplines

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | International and Intercultural Communication

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