Examines the influence national culture has on the design of information systems through a comparative study of geographic information systems (GIS) design in the USA and Germany. Hofstede’s (1980) dimensions of national culture provide the theoretical framework for this research. Applying Hofstede’s dimensions, evaluates differences in the design documents and actual practice of design of King County, Washington, USA and Kreis (County) Osnabrück, Germany. The findings support Hofstede’s characterization at the conceptual level of design documents, but indicate that the practice of design in the German county deviates considerably from Hofstede’s characterization: whereas Germanic national cultural characteristics suggest a very regulated top‐down design process, the actual practice of design in Kreis Osnabrück involves, in fact, a great deal of negotiations. They lead to the formalization of efforts and preparation of standards. These negotiations are obscured by the cultural emphasis on regulation, as Hofstede did indeed predict through high uncertainty avoidance. In comparison, the findings in King County support Hofstede’s characterization that Anglo‐American national culture involves negotiations at all stages of design. These findings lead to a reconsideration of Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions. Formal design documents replicate national culture characteristics, obscuring the details of practice. Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions provide a valuable framework, but the practice of design in both counties is ultimately a process of negotiation.
Harvey, F. (1997), "National cultural differences in theory and practice: Evaluating Hofstede’s national cultural framework", Information Technology & People, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 132-146. https://doi.org/10.1108/09593849710174986Download as .RIS
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