VŠE awarded an honorary doctorate to Professor Geert Hofstede

10 Oct

On Thursday, 6th October, 2016, the Dutch sociologist, Geert Hofstede, was conferred with the honorary degree of “Doctor Oeconomiae Honoris Causa” from the Rector of the University of Economics (VŠE), prof. Ing. Hana Machková, CSc.

The degree of Doctor Honoris Causa is awarded by the VŠE to those people who have made particularly important contributions to science, both theoretically and practically, especially in the sphere of economics. Professor Geert Hofstede is an expert in organizational anthropology and cross-cultural management. His identification of the five basic dimensions of culture is still valid and also the most widely used model in the study of cultures. He published his results in 1980 in his book Culture’s Consequences, which made him famous worldwide. During the 80s and 90s Hofstede lectured at Dutch and foreign universities.

The Scientific Council of the VŠE decided to award the honorary degree of “Doctor Oeconomiae Honoris Causa” to Professor Hofstede on foot of a proposal by the Scientific Council of the Faculty of International Relations of the VŠE. The conferral ceremony was held in the Vencovského auditorium of the University of Economics. It was attended by almost 350 guests, rectors, vice-rectors and representatives of twenty Czech and Slovak universities, as well as five ambassadors. H. E. Eduard W. V. M. Hoeks, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, was also present.

During the conferral ceremony Prof. Hofstede gave a speech on the topic ‘Developing an international perspective: how to become a World Citizen’. At the end of his speech he stated: ‘A society is like a jigsaw puzzle, the individuals are the pieces; each piece is different, but together they make one whole.’

Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede identified five universal cultural dimensions, which can characterize national, regional, community, organizational and class cultures. Four of them – power distance, individualism, masculinity and uncertainty avoidance – have emerged from research of IBM employees. The fifth long-term dimension was obtained from Chinese research of values. All dimensions are bipolar and are measured by indexes, which can reach values ​​in the range of 0-100.

Geert Hofstede first published his scholarly book Culture’s Consequences in 1980. In hindsight, it represented a paradigm shift in the comparative study of cultures. Since then, the amount of use made of his work, as well as the amount of research carried out in the area of culture, has continually been on the increase. Today, several dimensional frameworks of culture exist as well as various other conceptions of what culture is. Judging from the frequency of application, as well as from the continued validity of the Hofstede dimensions against other kinds of data, the Hofstede model is still the most valid, practical one to date.

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