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Validating Hofstede? Some reflections on cultural differences

This semester, for the second year running, I tried out a small experiment with one of my classes to see if the students cultural profile matched Hofstede’s results for New Zealand:

http://geert-hofstede.com/new-zealand.html

I asked the students to fill in the VSM94 questionnaire, then put their results (anonymously) into a shared Google doc that calculated the results according to the algorithms outlined in the VSM94 manual. The sample size was only 30, so take the results with a pinch of salt, but the outcome was very interesting, and replicated the results from last year. Despite the fact that the majority of my students were not born in New Zealand, the results of our survey correlated quite closely with Hofstede’s figures, apart from masculinity:

Cultural Measure Hofstede Result Student Result
Power Distance 22 20
Individualism 79

72
Masculinity 58 33
Uncertainty Avoidance 49 58

Certainly wider New Zealand society has masculine traits with a strong emphasis on competing in sport, aggressive outdoor activities and terrible driving, but perhaps students have a different subculture? However it is the similarities that interest me more than the differences, suggesting that we absorb the culture around usĀ  quite quickly, given the short time that some of my students have been in New Zealand.

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