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From cultural values to cross‐cultural interfaces: Hofstede goes to Africa

Terence Jackson (Middlesex University Business School, London, UK)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Article publication date: 5 July 2011




Hofstede's theory may be problematic from both a methodological/theoretical and practical view when applied to the 80 per cent of the globe we term developing. It is necessary to break out of an epistemic paradigm and a “view from nowhere” in order to focus on multiple layers of cultural interfaces within power dynamics that influence the nature of hybrid organizations and individual cultural identity. The purpose of this paper therefore is to develop a theory of cross‐cultural interfaces.


Cross‐cultural values theory provides a blunt instrument in Africa, does not take into account global dependencies and is not able to analyse local perceptions of reality within a context of these dependencies. A theory of cultural interfaces is developed that incorporates an Aristotelian phronetic approach to social science.


This moves away from the universals of analytical rationality towards practical value‐rationality that considers culture from a context‐dependent viewpoint, provides a synthesis for cultural‐institutional approaches, and engages researchers beyond merely looking at differences in cultures and the consequences, and towards what should be done about issues that arise.


By providing an example of how cultural interfaces may be researched, and discussing the associated conceptual issues, it is hoped that this paper will help to move forward the debate about cross‐cultural management.



Jackson, T. (2011), "From cultural values to cross‐cultural interfaces: Hofstede goes to Africa", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 24 No. 4, pp. 532-558.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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