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Chapter 11. WORLD WIDE DESIGN > CULTURALLY SENSITIVE DESIGN

CULTURALLY SENSITIVE DESIGN

Although it’s dangerous to make sweeping statements about any culture—after all, not all Americans enjoy baseball and apple pie—often you can identify personalities and predispositions common to the majority of people. Twenty years ago, cultural anthropologist Geert Hofstede set out to identify and classify these personalities and predispositions. He surveyed more than 100,000 IBM employees in more than 60 countries. In his groundbreaking book, Culture’s Consequences, International Differences in Work-Related Values, he theorized that because the employees all shared a common corporate culture, any major differences and similarities between nationalities could be largely attributed to national culture. Based on the research, Hofstede identified five dimensions of culture:

  • Power-distance

  • Collectivism vs. individualism

  • Femininity vs. masculinity

  • Uncertainty avoidance

  • Long- vs. short-term orientation


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