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Methodological issues in group-referenced measurement of Indian culture

Wolfgang Messner (MYRA School of Business, Mysore, India)
Norbert Schäfer (University of Applied Sciences Ludwigsburg, Ludwigsburg, Germany)

South Asian Journal of Global Business Research

ISSN: 2045-4457

Article publication date: 3 August 2015




The cultural dimensions of the Hofstede and Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) studies are often used to capture cultural differences and operationalize them in academic research, corporate business, and teaching. The purpose of this paper is to investigate if this context is appropriate for the Indian information technology (IT) offshore services industry; that is, if Indian culture can be measured with group-referenced items, averaged, and explained by discrete dimensions.


The authors devised items based on the GLOBE study, and conducted empirical research with 291 employees of two services sourcing providers in Pune and Bangalore, India. The authors then scrutinized the data set on item and dimension level using statistical methods, such as interrater agreement, t-test, arithmetic mean, and standard deviation.


An interpretation of the analysis posits that cultural assumptions based on dimensions and means are problematic in the context of the Indian IT offshore services industry. The two digit exact values of the GLOBE study (and similarly the ordinal scale by Hofstede) suggest a level of accuracy and absoluteness which could not be replicated in the empirical research. Therefore, one authors should be very careful referring to Indian national culture when conducting intercultural awareness programs and coaching international teams who are engaging with India.


The GLOBE study omits to report basic statistics of questionnaire development. Through this replication study in India, the authors provide empirical evidence that the construct validity of cultural dimensions and the concept of national/group averages may be flawed.



Messner, W. and Schäfer, N. (2015), "Methodological issues in group-referenced measurement of Indian culture", South Asian Journal of Global Business Research, Vol. 4 No. 2, pp. 226-250.



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