American culture and the 2008 financial crisis

Geert Hofstede (Emeritus, University of Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands and CentER for Economic Research, University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Publication date: 26 June 2009



The purpose of this paper is to trace the cultural roots of the presently ongoing crisis.


The approach is to collect rankings of perceived goals of business leaders in 17 countries, from their employees who are attending evening MBA courses.


There are marked differences in goal ranking between countries; overall ranking across countries follows the US model, but with exceptions.

Research limitations/implications

Data collection was between 1995 and 2002 and analysis is based on judgment of evening MBA students with day jobs.

Practical implications

This paper explains the present financial crisis from a hypertrophy of US cultural goals: growth, greed, and short‐term gains.


The paper illustrates the unusual but credible data source from which the crisis could have been predicted.



Hofstede, G. (2009), "American culture and the 2008 financial crisis", European Business Review, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 307-312.

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