On the misuse of national culture dimensions

Paul Brewer (UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)
Sunil Venaik (UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Publication date: 26 October 2012



The purpose of this paper is to highlight the ongoing misapplication of the Hofstede and GLOBE national culture dimensions at the individual level of analysis in both research and teaching. It provides suggestions as to how these national level constructs might be used in analysis and the challenges such use presents to researchers.


The methodology used by Hofstede and GLOBE in their calculation of national culture dimensions is discussed together with the implications.


The consequences of the national nature of the Hofstede and GLOBE national culture dimensions are that the dimensions do not exist at the individual level. The paper explains why, in spite of this, the dimensions continue to be misapplied to individuals.

Practical implications

There are important implications for practitioners. The cultural assumptions often made about individuals in different countries based on the Hofstede and GLOBE dimension scores are invalid. Practitioners should not use national culture dimension scores in individual‐level culture related decision making.


The paper is the first that is focused on the invalid projection of national culture dimensions onto individuals and which highlights the origins and the ongoing nature of this problem.



Brewer, P. and Venaik, S. (2012), "On the misuse of national culture dimensions", International Marketing Review, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 673-683. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651331211277991

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