Could National Culture Influence Football Referees?

Could National Culture Influence Football Referees?

Huib Wursten, Public speaker, Author and Consultant

E-mail: huibwursten@gmail.com

Paulo Finuras, Ph.D.

E-mail: paulo.finuras@isg.pt

 Abstract

Football is the most popular sport on the planet. It contains tribal elements adorned by rituals that summon emotional aspects and ancestral elements associated with the evolution and interaction of human groups, including competition and cooperation. National culture, understood as the groups wise collective mental software is present in all societies and penetrates them in all areas so that the practice of this game cannot be, in different ways, immune to it or “cultural free”. In this article we propose to analyze the influence of cultural values both on the disciplinary aspect (total cards shown by referees in the games of various European Football Leagues) as well as the effective time played (ETP) that is, the one that results from the non-interruptions per action of the referee in response to situations that he interprets as being sanctioned (therefore the time required to mark a ball that comes out or a corner that is considered as playing).

Our research hypotheses are that the values of national cultures also influence both the number of cards shown and the effective playing time which means that effective playing time of a football match and the cards showing greatly varies according to cultural environment football leagues.

This should not, in fact, be a huge surprise because the human activities of interpreting the rules of the game and the use of the power instituted in the figure of the referee are not exempt from the unconscious influence of the cultural context of the referees’ origin.

In short, with this research we may claim that the cultural background of the origin of referees tends to promote inevitable distortions in the way they intervene in the game to exercise their regulatory power.

Keywords

Individualism, National Culture, Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Effective Playing Time, Total Cards Shown

Content

 

Abstract 1

  1. Introduction: The Hofstede Model and the Culture shock: 3

1.1 The implications for relationship trainer and player. 4

  1. Objective. 6
  2. Methods. 6
  3. Hypothesis, Discussion  and Results. 7
  4. From moderate (*) to strong (**) significant correlations. 14

Conclusion. 19

1. Introduction: The Hofstede Model and the Culture shock:

 

In an interview ( 20-12-19) with newspaper Nice-Matin, OGC Nice and Danish international striker Kasper Dolberg complained about the style of refereeing in Ligue 1. Comparing with his experience in the Netherlands with his new environment, France, he said:

“You can’t even speak with them (the referees) here. In the Netherlands, you speak man to man, you can ask for an explanation when a decision seems strange. Here, you get a yellow card even without looking at them! I don’t know if they don’t like me or whether there is another reason, but it is crazy. I’ve understood that I should not even try to speak with them.”

It is a clear example of that cultural differences can cause in playing soccer in different cultural value systems. Even if the countries are not very far away.

The social scientist Geert Hofstede proposes and defines culture as “a collective mental program of the human mind that characterizes and distinguishes one group or category from another”. In other words, culture is understood as a system of patterns and meanings about how to think, feel and act on common existential issues: how to deal: 1). with hierarchy; 2) the balance between the Individual and group loyalty; 3) the direction of motivation: competition or consensus seeking; and (4) the need to control uncertainty.

In its proposal, national culture, seen as mental software, is composed of ‘layers’. At its core are the values, understood as ‘general preferences for one state of affairs in relation to another, to which very strong[1] emotions and feelings are associated’.

The first three layers consist of symbols, heroes and rituals and are the most permeable to change and the most visible. The latter (values) is not visible mainly to a foreigner.  The dimensions, which are analytical constructions, reveal the meaning (high or low) and the intensity (strong or weak) in the way societies solve the four existential issues listed above. This is where the variations in values arise in the understanding of G. Hofstede (see next figure).

Figure 1

National Culture as a central tendency

The model based on the seminal study known today as the “IBM Study” has since been reinforced by the outcomes of repeat research, (Hofstede, 2010). The underlying idea is that when we compare the distribution of values between populations the rule of large numbers allows to find a central trend (what most people do most of the time) that can be compared to other national distributions.

Fig. 2

The first 4 Dimensions of the original Hofstede Model

 

Source: Authors adaptation from Hofstede, 2010

This model allows to anticipate some behaviors as more likely (because statistically predictable), from the comparison of central trends between national cultures. Let us look further as an example to the four dimensions and same of the characteristics more likely to happen in the relation between coach and players:

1.1 The implications for relationship trainer and player.

 

Low…………………. Power Distance ………………..High

 

Coaches expect/accept that players to initiate communication Players tend to wait until the Coach begins to communicate.
Players can/should find their own way, show initiative. Players know that coaching determines the direction.
Players can spontaneously open their mouths Players wait to speak until they are asked or invited to do
Players can ccontradict if they have different opinions Players in general never contradict the Coach.

 

Low IDV

(collectivist)

 

Individualism

High IDV

(individualistic)

 

Coach nor player should lose face Confrontation can be useful
Great loyalty to “in” group.

Other rules for outsiders.

Face loss is not that important.
Harmony must remain Coaches are impartial
Of coaches is accepted that they are traits based on background or recommendation of important person.  

The same rules for everyone

 

Consensus Masculinity Competitive

 

Players are supposed to be modest. Stars are allowed to profile and expect other treatment.
Coaches should avoid to publicly praise good players too much. Coaches can praise good players publicly.
Be critical to each other = keep each other sharp.

Help each other

Criticizing = negativism

Competition between colleagues is tolerated

If you come up with your head above ground level… you will pay the consequences Players very visible.

 

Low/Weak Uncertainty Avoidance High/Strong

 

Coaches don’t lose credibility right away when they say, “I don’t Know” Coaches are expected to have all the answers.
Players are rewarded for flexible solutions in the field and for creativity. Players are rewarded for precise follow-up of tactical clues.
Coaches are expected to suppress or control showing emotions during the game. Coaches may be emotional in public and private
Coaches interpret discord as potentially stimulating. Coaches see discord as personal disloyalty.
Coaches accept in principle input from all involved. Coaches see themselves as experts who can learn nothing more from others.

 

2. Objective

Following cross-cultural psychology Hofstede Model, we postulate that cultural values matters in referees’ preferences regarding the tendency to show more or less cards in football games (i.e., exercise sanctioning power) and in the impact, as consequence, on final effective playing time.

3. Methods

We present a study of original data to assess the amount of yellow and red cards showing and the effective playing time in several European football leagues with statistical and analytical methods including correlations between cultural values and those statistics (EPT, TCS). All the statists were kindle provide by the CIES Football Observatory, 2018

We have specific statistics of Red Cards Shown (RCS) from 25 football leagues in 2016-2017 and yellow and red cards from 2018-2019 and 2019 and 2019-2020 (until 17/02/2020) including statistics from the Effective Playing Time.

Our research hypothesis is that the dimensions characteristics from the cultural environment of the matches could influence referees in showing more or less cards and therefore the effective playing time could be reduced.

4. Hypothesis, Discussion  and Results

In addition to the actual time played we will analyze the total cards shown, red cards and yellow cards in 25, 31 and 73 leagues around the world,

We will consider several hypothesis, namely:

H1: In cultures with a higher PDI, referees show more cards in general (yellow and red)

H2: In cultures with higher PDI referees show more red cards than in cultures with lower PDI

H3: In cultures with a higher UAI, referees show more cards in general (yellow and red)

H4: The cultural dimensions PDI, IDV and UAI influence the effective playing time

H5. In cultures of strong uncertainty avoidance, the referees try to control the game by displaying yellow and red cards

The findings are consistent with the Hofstede Model theory presented here revealing great discrepancies according to the cultural background environment of the football leagues.

Our research suggest that referees are unconsciously influenced by Power Distance, Individualism, and Uncertainty Avoidance values where the match occur showing more or less cards and intervening and interrupting more or less the matches.

In conclusion, our data suggest that referees are more likely to demonstrate the power in high power distance societies, special with stronger uncertainty avoidance.

Fig. 3

Where Refs brandish yellow and red most

Source: CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 1

Source: Author’s research & data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

 

Table 1

Correlations Average Red Cards Shown in 2016-2017 for 25 European Leagues

RC

2016-2017

PDI IDV MAS UAI
Red Cards

2016-2017

Pearson Correlation 1 ,504* -,415* ,263 ,761**
Sig. (2 tails)   ,010 ,039 ,204 ,000
N 25 25 25 25 25
PDI Pearson Correlation ,504* 1 -,637** ,230 ,574**
Sig. (2 tails) ,010   ,000 ,184 ,000
N 25 35 35 35 35
IDV Pearson Correlation -,415* -,637** 1 ,000 -,573**
Sig. (2 tails) ,039 ,000   1,000 ,000
N 25 35 35 35 35
MAS Pearson Correlation ,263 ,230 ,000 1 ,177
Sig. (2 tails) ,204 ,184 1,000   ,309
N 25 35 35 35 35
UAI Pearson Correlation ,761** ,574** -,573** ,177 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,309  
N 25 35 35 35 35
*. The correlation is significant at level 0.05 (1 tail).
**. The correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).

Graphic 2 – RED CARDS & PDI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 3 – RED CARDS & IDV

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Graphic 4 – RED CARDS & UAI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Red Cards, Yellow Cards & Effective Playing Time in 2018-2019

Table N.º 2

Correlations TCS, EPT YC, Y2CRC & Cultural Values – 2018-2019

TCS EPT YC Y2C RC PDI IDV UAI MAS
Total Cards Shown

TCS

Pearson Corr. 1 -,560** ,996** ,826** ,370* ,377* -,557** ,623** ,314
Sig. (2 tails) ,003 ,000 ,000 ,029 ,026 ,001 ,000 ,066
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Effective Playing Time

EPT

Pearson Corr -,560** 1 -,581** -,380 ,037 -,151 ,475* -,537** -,370
Sig. (2 tails) ,003 ,002 ,055 ,856 ,463 ,014 ,005 ,063
N 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26 26
Yellow Cards

YC

Pearson Corr ,996** -,581** 1 ,782** ,332 ,364* -,539** ,602** ,326
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,002 ,000 ,051 ,032 ,001 ,000 ,056
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Second Yellow Card

Y2C

Pearson Corr ,826** -,380 ,782** 1 ,258 ,419* -,616** ,606** ,194
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,055 ,000 ,134 ,012 ,000 ,000 ,265
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
Red Cards

RC

Pearson Corr ,370* ,037 ,332 ,258 1 ,069 -,092 ,346* ,032
Sig. (2 tails) ,029 ,856 ,051 ,134 ,696 ,597 ,041 ,857
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
PDI Pearson Corr ,377* -,151 ,364* ,419* ,069 1 -,637** ,574** ,230
Sig. (2 tails) ,026 ,463 ,032 ,012 ,696 ,000 ,000 ,184
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
IDV Pearson Corr -,557** ,475* -,539** -,616** -,092 -,637** 1 -,573** ,000
Sig. (2 tails) ,001 ,014 ,001 ,000 ,597 ,000 ,000 1,000
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
 

UAI

Pearson Corr ,623** -,537** ,602** ,606** ,346* ,574** -,573** 1 ,177
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,005 ,000 ,000 ,041 ,000 ,000 ,309
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
MAS Pearson Corr ,314 -,370 ,326 ,194 ,032 ,230 ,000 ,177 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,066 ,063 ,056 ,265 ,857 ,184 1,000 ,309
N 35 26 35 35 35 35 35 35 35
*. The correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).

           Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and

Hofstede Database

 

Graphic 5 – PDI & Effective Playing Time

Graphic  6 – IDV & Effective Playing Time 2018-2019

Graphic N.º 7 – UAI & Effective Playing Time 2018-2019

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 8 – PDI & Total Cards 2018-2019

Graphic 9 – IDV & Total Cards 2018-2019

Graphic 10 – UAI & Yellow Cards 2018-2019

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018

 

5. From moderate (*) to strong (**) significant correlations

 

There is a strong negative association between Effective Playing Time and

  • Total cards shown (r = -, 560 n= 26 football leagues)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance (r= .537 n= 26 football leagues)

There is a moderate positive association between

Effective Playing Time (EPT) and

  • Individualism – IDV – (r= 475, n = 26 football leagues) and

There is also a moderate positive association between Total Cards and

  • PDI (r=.377 n= 35 football leagues)
  • UAI (r= .623 n= 35 football leagues)

There is a negative and strong correlation between Total Cards Shown and

  • IDV (r=.557 n= 35 football leagues)

There is a positive and strong correlation between Total Cards Shown and

  • UAI (r=.623 n= 35 football leagues)

 

Red Cards & Yellow Cards 2018-2019

Worldwide -73 National Leagues

Table N.º3

Association Between National Cultures and Total Cards Shown, Red Cards & Yellow Cards

2019-2020 for 73 Countries/Football Leagues Worldwide

 Correlations

TCS RC YC PDI IDV UAI MAS
TCS Pearson Correlation 1 ,752** ,997** ,294* -,453** ,524** -,018
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,012 ,000 ,000 ,880
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
RC Pearson Correlation ,752** 1 ,701** ,298* -,480** ,470** -,047
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,011 ,000 ,000 ,693
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
YC Pearson Correlation ,997** ,701** 1 ,285* -,436** ,515** -,014
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,015 ,000 ,000 ,906
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
PDI Pearson Correlation ,294* ,298* ,285* 1 -,704** ,310** ,129
Sig. (2 tails) ,012 ,011 ,015 ,000 ,008 ,278
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
IDV Pearson Correlation -,453** -,480** -,436** -,704** 1 -,330** ,104
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,000 ,004 ,381
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
UAI Pearson Correlation ,524** ,470** ,515** ,310** -,330** 1 -,060
Sig. (2 tails) ,000 ,000 ,000 ,008 ,004 ,612
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
MAS Pearson Correlation -,018 -,047 -,014 ,129 ,104 -,060 1
Sig. (2 tails) ,880 ,693 ,906 ,278 ,381 ,612
N 73 73 73 73 73 73 73
**. Correlation is significant at level 0.01 (2 tails).
*. Correlation is significant at level 0.05 (2 tails).

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 11

PDI & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 12

PDI & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 13

Yellow Cards Shown associated whit PDI

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 14

IDV & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 15

IDV & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 16

IDV & YELLOW CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 17

UAI & TOTAL CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 18

UAI & RED CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Graphic 19

UAI & YELLOW CARDS

Source: Author’s research based on data from CIES Football Observatory, 2018 and Hofstede Database

Conclusion

Football is a universally appreciated and practiced game and is based on relatively simple and equal rules wherever the game is played. The application of the rules resulting from its interpretation is however not exactly the same in all games and in all cultural contexts where the game is played.

Although the football teams of the top leagues in each country are increasingly composed of players from diverse cultures, in general the refereeing teams are composed of individuals from that specific league.

This is of course different in international games It is known that when a group (i.e., more than 3 people) moves from one cultural context to another, it carries with it the central tendency of the national culture of origin, that is, the characteristics of the mental software of their country and, probably, this can make oneself feel, albeit unconsciously, in the way the referees interpret what is happening in the field and if this is considered worthy of interruption and disciplinary sanction.

What the data seems to suggest is that, unconsciously, there is a sharp and persistent tendency for refereeing teams from cultures with mental software characterized by high power distance and a strong need for control, to show more cards.

Our suggestion is that the best way to cope with this reality is to make referees and players  aware of it. As it has long been known that it is part of cockpit resource management in aviation to train crew members for more direct communication that allows co-pilots, in particular, to be able to make negative criticisms in a constructive sense to captains, and not to hesitate to call attention to errors or even correcting them.

It might be a good idea to integrate this also in the training of soccer referees and coaches a set of knowledge about cultures as mental software’s that work unconsciously on individuals in order to gain awareness of their characteristics and, eventually, adopt other behaviors that reduce not only the number of cards shown in football matches, but also allow, in this way, to increase the effective playing time.

To think that the referees, coaches and players will be able to improve behavior themselves is a mistake. Why? Because the truth is that “the fish don’t know that they live in the sea”.

Literature:

CIES Football Observatory, 2018

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019) ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

[1] In fact, they are so strong that there are people who fight and give their lives for them.

The Impact Of Culture On Sports Coaching

The Impact Of Culture On Sports Coaching

Huib Wursten. Author and consultant

huibwursten@gmail.com 

Introduction.

Professional sports teams reflect globalization. You can for instance see that in soccer teams players of up to 11 nationalities are on the pitch.

There is a growing interest among coaches in understanding how to “manage” this diversity.

In this article, the emphasis is on a very important element in understanding human behaviors: culture. In addition to the general human traits that are valid worldwide and distinguish what characterizes us as an individual, there is something that makes the values of culture and culture different. These values” steer” the educational process and influence our preferences in dealing with people, organizations, and Institutions

The influence of these preferences is visible in the Sports world when integrating players from other cultures.

In his paper it will be shown how this works out on three levels:

  1. National cultures: per culture dimensions it will be outlined how this affects the interaction and expectations between coaches and players.
  2. How the combination of single culture dimensions (Mental Images) affects leadership styles and even preferences for style of play.
  3. Organizational culture as a strategical tool in sports

Keywords: Sports, Culture, Mental Images, Coaching, Globalization

Globalization and sports

Professional sport reflects globalization. In football, you can frequently see that players of up to 11 nationalities are on the pitch in the starting lineup.

Coaches are increasingly interested in understanding how to “manage” this diversity.

In this article, the emphasis is on a vital element in understanding human behaviors: culture. In addition to the general human traits that are valid worldwide and distinguish what characterizes us as individuals, there is something that makes our values different due to our culture. These values steer our education and influence our preferences in dealing with others.

The influence of these preferences is visible in the Sports world when integrating players from other cultures.

Culture. What are we talking about?

A few recent examples:

  • Globalization is strongly affecting professional sports. So, Gregor Aisch, Kevin Quealy and Rory Smith observed in 2018. They showed that most of the top professional sports leagues in North America and Europe share an important trait: They will be more international in composition than ever before.

In top football teams like Chelsea, Manchester United and Barcelona, sometimes more foreign-born players are in the starting team than natives. Coaching such teams requires an understanding of the culturally different communication styles and leadership expectations of the players in the team.

  • Recently (17 June 2022, speaking to Mirror Football, a former Manchester United defender said: “I think last season was a nightmare with the changing of the manager and finishing sixth. That was a real nightmare, so I don’t think [it can get worse]. He added about the new (Dutch) coach, Erik ten Hag: “Erik’s been successful because he’s got his own personality and his own management style. For United, you must embrace the culture, so he needs to do that. The work methods he knows, he should stick with what you know best. But he has to embrace the culture and the heritage of the Club. When addressing the players, you need to know what the Club is about. It will help motivate them. For me, that’s key.”
  • In 2021Rory Smith said in the New York Times that in recent years, the soccer world slowly accepted the idea that culture matters. Club owners and managers who adhere to a philosophy, a particular set of beliefs, like Louis van Gaal did as Manchester United coach, are no more seen as “wimps.” Smith wrote: “It is understood, on some level, that possessing a clear sense of what you want yourto be, offers a competitive edge: It helps recruit the right players, it makes coaching them more effective, it offers a barometer of success and purpose that is not reliant on individual results. At an executive level, it can even, at times, ease the transition between one manager and the next. Fans, increasingly, no longer see a manager talking about a philosophy and a vision as marketing jargon or corporate bunk. It is, instead, something to cling to and believe in, a reason to be proud.” (Smith Rory 2021)  

National culture, Mental Images and organizational culture

The above examples show that, in principle, we should distinguish between country and organizational cultures. In essence, the distinction is a matter of “deeply” culture is affecting behavior.

  1. The gravitational importance of National culture.

Culture has different layers. The outer layers (symbols, heroes, and rituals are visible but are also more superficial and, as a result, more changeable, for example, by trends, leadership, or fashion. The deepest layer concerns values and is fundamental in understanding diversity. This level is difficult to observe directly because, unlike the other layers, values are invisible as if they were the part of the iceberg that lies underwater.

The most extensive and fundamental research done on cultural differences comes from the hand of Dutchman Geert Hofstede. He is therefore seen as one of the 20 most influential thinkers in a ranking by the Wall Street Journal ‘ from a few years ago.

Based on his global research, Hofstede distinguishes four main dimensions of national culture: Power Distance (PDI), Individualism/collectivism (IDV), masculinity/Femininity (MAS), and Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI)

These dimensions are measured on a scale of 0 to 100 (some countries have a value higher than 100 in practice because they were measured after defining the original ranking). The original data was based on a pervasive IBM study with 116.000 questionnaires in 72 countries and 20 languages. The results were validated and revalidated with more than 40 follow-up studies from various disciplines. The scores for each country on these dimensions explain and behavioral preferences of people in, for instance, sports.

We will give the description and an overview of the consequences for each of the dimensions.

The first dimension is power distance. This is about the degree of Acceptance of hierarchy. All Asian, African, and Arab countries score high on this Acceptance of hierarchy.

The same is true for European countries like France, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. The trainer is the boss and must take the initiative. That is different in low power distance cultures like the USA, the Netherlands, and Scandinavia. Here the players are “programmed” to see themselves as autonomous and “empowered.”

Examples of the difference:

When an ex-Ajax Amsterdam player came to play in a Spanish club and discovered that he was used as a substitute, he was upset and wanted to discuss it openly with the coach. His fellow Spanish players warned him: If you do that, you’ll never play again.

At a Swedish club, several African players complained about the inaccessibility of the coach. The coach did not understand that. He was known as one of the most open persons in professional football. Interviewing them, I discovered that the coach assumed players with a problem would take the initiative to approach him: “My door is always open,” he said. In hierarchical cultures, however, the initiative always belongs to the coach. He is supposed to watch daily contacts and discover that something is wrong and then would instruct the players to come to him for a conversation.

The second dimension is masculinity/femininity, which does not describe gender, but the extent to which people are inclined to cooperate and align themselves with the team or are competitive and want to be recognized as the one who makes the decisive actions. For example, English and Scottish players are firmly masculine. When they perform well, they are more likely to claim privileges. When those players have a feminine trainer, who rejects special treatment for all, that can lead to conflicts. In feminine countries such as the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries, some sayings reflect the feminine mentality: if you put your head above the ground level, your head is chopped. An interesting consequence of the feminine culture dimension is that everyone is considered equal in their work. If you don’t participate in the game but only wait for the ball to score, it is seen as negative behavior and labeled as “star behavior” and gets negative commentary by the teammates and the coach.

The third dimension is that of individualism/collectivism. In individualistic cultures people focusses on the individual; in collectivist cultures people belong to in-groups who look after them in exchange for loyalty. In individualist cultures, values are in the person, in collectivist cultures, identity is based on the social network to which one belongs. In individualist cultures there is more explicit, verbal communication; in collectivist cultures communication is more implicit. The Netherlands is an ‘individualistic ‘ country where the same rules apply to everyone, which everyone should adhere to. South American countries like Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina are more collectivist, with different rules for different groups. The loyalty to your “in-group” are more important than the official rules. One consequence is that “dives” are part of the play. Players are astonished if their Individualistic coaches and fellow players do not appreciate this behavior.”

Two further important consequences of collectivism:

-Hypersensitivity to “loss of face. Players from such countries are susceptible to loss of face. Coaches and players should never be criticized in public. If negative feedback is to be given, then always under four eyes.

– Colleagues are also your friends. In collectivist cultures you are always part of a group. After the training, you go together to the restaurant, cinema, etc. Many players from collectivist cultures feel fatally lonely in Individualistic countries. After the training. Everybody goes home and has his own private life

The fourth dimension is about uncertainty avoidance. PLayers from strong Uncertainty Avoidant cultures like Italian and Portuguese clubs hold many players behind the ball to avoid risk as much as possible, while taking risks in Anglo-Saxon countries like England and the USA is positively appreciated.                                                                                      In countries with a high score on uncertainty avoidance, there is a high degree of need for structure. Emotionally players and coaches “need to know where they are. Only then can they function well.

The following is a systematic analysis of the dimensions and implications for coaches and players

The implications for relationship coach and player.

 

                     Low           Power Distance          High

Coaches expect players to: Coaches expect players to:
•       Initiate communication Wait until the coach begins to communicate.
•       Find their own way, show initiative. Know that he is determining the direction.
•       Spontaneously open their mouths Waiting to speak until they are asked.
•       Contradict if they have different opinions Never to contradict him.

 

Collectivist

Individualistic

Coach nor player should face lose Confrontation can be useful
Great loyalty to “in” group. Other rules for outsiders. Face loss is not that important.
Harmony must remain Coaches are impartial
Of coaches is accepted that they are traits based on the background or recommendation of an important person. The same rules for everyone

 

Feminine

Masculine

Players are modest. Stars are allowed to profile and expect other treatment.
Avoid Coaches to publicly praise good players. Coaches praise good players publicly.
Criticizing each other = keep each other sharp. Criticizing = negativism.
Just do normal then you are crazy enough… Players very visible.
If you come up with your head above ground level…

 

                             Low    Uncertainty Avoidance       High

Coaches don’t lose credibility right away when they say, “I Don’t Know” Coaches are expected to have all the answers.
Players are rewarded for flexible solutions in the field. For creativity. Players are rewarded for precise follow-up of tactical clues.
Coaches are expected to suppress emotions during the game. Coaches may be emotional.
Coaches interpret discord as potentially stimulating. Coaches See discord as personal disloyalty.
Coaches accept in principle input from all involved. Coaches see themselves as experts who can learn nothing more from others.

 

  1. The combinations of single dimensions: Mental Images

In practice, country cultures cannot be understood by the separate value dimensions one by one. “The whole is more than the sum of parts. Therefore, combining the four fundamental value dimensions leads to something new, a “Gestalt.” Seven of these Gestalts are identified (Wursten 2019). The word “mental images” is used to differentiate between the Gestalts. The term reflects an essential consequence of the seven combinations: they lead to seven different “pictures” in the mind of people of what society and organizations look like.   Even the approach to sports is affected by these Mental Images.

To fully appreciate the seven Mental Images, it is essential to understand that the countries belonging to a particular Mental Image have similar values. But that does not mean they are identical. Sharing the same “rules of the game” does not always lead to the same decisions! In every culture, different forces are at work. For instance: you’ll find different mixes in all cultures of conservatives and progressives. Issues like size, location, and geography all play a role. Even the personality of leaders can play a role.

Mental Images have a “gravitational influence” on behavioral preferences. In sports, this means, among other things:

  1. It influences the way the spectators prefer the game to be played
  2. It affects the profile of an effective coach
  3. It influences the expectations concerning the interaction between the coach and the players

Short overview of the seven Mental Images

  • The arrows indicate a low, middle, or high score.

Contest

  1. Playing style to satisfy the local spectators:

Offensive play, dynamic, stars crucial to attract the public, risk-taking,

Competition should be continuous to maintain interest. Nobody should win forever

Examples: salary caps, first draw

2. Special issue for the coach: accountability for everything that is happening in the team

3. Interaction between coaches and players

– a coach is expected to accept and welcome that players take the initiative and initiate

communication.

– players are expected to be empowered and find their way

– a coach is expected to accept that players argue if they have a different opinion

– a coach is supposed to be flexible and adaptive

– A coach is expected to reward unexpected solutions

– a coach is expected to accept the special treatment of successful players

Network

  1. Playing style. To satisfy the local spectators:

Dynamic, offensive without too many fixed roles. Defenders should be able to play offensive. Offensive players should be able (and willing) to put energy into defending.

Even weaker teams should not play destructive. Technical play is appreciated.

  1. Special issue for the coach: be seen as a coordinator between all interest groups
  2. Interaction between coaches and players

– a coach is expected to accept and welcome that players take the initiative and initiate

communication.

– players are expected to be empowered and find their way

– a coach is expected to accept that players argue if they have a different opinion

– a coach is supposed not to be afraid of confrontation

– a coach is supposed to be flexible and adaptive

– a coach is expected not to accept the special treatment of successful players

– a coach is expected to have the same rules for everybody

– coaches are supposed o be modest

– a coach is supposed to see verbal aggression in the team as keeping each other sharp

– Coaches are accepted to saying: I don’t know

– Coaches accept, in principle input of all

Well Oiled Machine

  1. Playing style to satisfy local spectators: Powerful and dynamic play with a balance between defensive and offensive approach is expected. Therefore, competitive players are preferred with many skills but also willing and able to fit the structured team approach.
  2. Special issue for the coach: expert behavior and attention to detail is expected.
  3. interaction between coaches and players         

– coaches understand that players emotionally need clear structures and procedures.

– the team approach is functionality (tasks and goals)

– coaches accept initiative from players

– coaches have all the answers (“to say: I don’t know is unacceptable)

– coaches are supposed to be up to date with the latest technological developments in their branch of sports

Solar System

  1. Playing style to satisfy local spectators:

Intelligent, strategic play with brilliant “playmaker.” Expected is technical and “clever” play

  1. Special issue for the coach: a good coach is well-behaved and “connected.”
  2. Interaction between coach and players:

– The coach takes the initiative in the communication (also concerning simple changes)

– To steer top down

– Understand that they wait for the initiative of the coach to speak up

– Not to tolerate contradiction from players

-To inspect visibly to see if decisions are followed up

– Now and then, act emotionally

– To apply the same rules for everybody

– Key players, however, expect special treatment             

Pyramid

                                            

  1. Playing style to satisfy local spectators:

Secure defense with brilliant individual players who are expected to make a difference.

Players should try to “trick” the opponent into making mistakes and then striking immediately.

  1. Special issue for a coach: be like a strict but parentlike person. Reward loyalty by taking care of players beyond the strict contractual relationship.
  2. Interaction between coach and players:

– the coach should take the initiative in the communication (also concerning simple changes)

– management style is top down

– the players should understand that they have to wait for the initiative of the coach to

speak up

– the coach is not supposed to tolerate contradiction

–  the coach is supposed to inspect visibly to see if decisions are followed up

– now and then, the coach should react emotionally.

– older players expect special treatment

– among players: colleagues are also friends. They do things together after the training.

– nobody should lose face

– Coach needs to structure the training to create “safety.”

Family

  1. Playing style to satisfy local spectators: Open, persistent, offensive play with age-determined hierarchy in the team
  2. Special issue for a coach: be like a strict but parentlike person. Reward loyalty by taking care of players beyond the strict contractual relationship.
  3. Interaction between coach and players:

– the coach should take the initiative in the communication (also concerning simple changes)

– management style is top down

– the players should understand that they must wait for the initiative of the coach to

speak up

– the coach is not supposed to tolerate contradiction

–  the coach is supposed to inspect visibly to see if decisions are followed up

– older players expect special treatment

– among players: colleagues are also friends. They do things together after the training.

– nobody should lose face

– No emotional need for structuring

Japan

  1. Playing style to satisfy local spectators: Dynamic, balanced, persistent, play with age-determined hierarchy in the team
  2. Special issue for a coach: be like a strict but parentlike person. Reward loyalty by taking care of players beyond the strict contractual relationship.
  3. Interaction between coach and players:

– the coach should take the initiative in the communication (also concerning simple changes)

– management style is top down. Coaches can ask individual players to give feedback privatly

– the players should understand that they must wait for the initiative of the coach to

speak up

– the coach is not supposed to tolerate contradiction

–  the coach is supposed to inspect visibly to see if decisions are followed up

– older players expect special treatment

– among players: colleagues are also friends. They do things together after the training.

– nobody should lose face

– Strong emotional need for structure

Organizational culture and country culture.

After defining the consequences of country culture, it is possible to define organizational culture. This is important because the standard theories of organizational culture promoted by the big consultancy firms mix up the two. Which leads to, for instance, a belief in “Universal leadership” models. A naïve belief that explains many misunderstandings in international organizations.

An example: One important element in leadership in the USA, Australia and the UK is accountability. This word can be translated in other languages. But the meaning in Anglo-Saxon cultures is special: you are held accountable for what you are doing. Your head is at stake and if you don’t reach your clearly defined targets, you can be fired or demoted. If you are appointed in a leadership position than the others tend to follow your lead because they naturally understand that you are accountable. This can be confused by people from other culture as hierarchical behavior. I found following in an interview with a famous Dutch swimming coach appointed to be the coach for the Australian Olympic team. He expressed his surprise and said: we think that we have the same opinions because we look similar. But that is untrue.

One of the surprises is that he had to get used to is (what he calls) hierarchical attitudes of the Australians. He is seen as the Boss.

In the interview he elaborates on this perception: Some of his predecessors dictated training schedules from a distance to all top swimmers, an idea that his completely contrary to his need for tailored work. He tries to break down the formality. He does not want to be above the others, but he realizes that this is what is expected from him in Australia. The way they look at leadership is totally different. If I enter the room somewhere the Head Coach is coming in. I’m not saying they are kowtowing, but in the beginning, they stopped the training. Sometimes they were apologizing that the training was probably not that interesting. They had the feeling they should show the head coach their best side.

Also, the control need of the Australians was surprising him. Too much is officially laid down in do’s and don’ts. He belief in freedom and responsibility. Even if younger swimmers are sometimes making mistakes. This is giving them the chance to learn. If you try to control everything than the own responsibility disappears!

Analysis: the key words here are “Hierarchy” and “Control”. Repeated cultural research shows that the Netherlands and Australia score quite similar in the relevant value dimensions explaining the acceptance of hierarchy and the need for control. Both countries score low(er). The reason for the misunderstanding lies in the different interpretation of accountability.

Club culture; Transfer prices, player careers and creating a winning team. The danger of taking culture out of the equation!

The Guardian of August 13, 2022, carried an article written by Jason Stockwood, the owner of Grimsby, a League two club in the UK. The heading was: While money is a huge help, it is culture that drives success in football.

Stockwood is talking about the influence of money in nowadays football world.

Rich clubs can pay enormous amounts of money to buy the best players in the world. Then they “own” the players. This creates a problem because: ” it reinforces to some clubs that the contracts they are creating are commoditized in nature.” He says:” To feel that your strategy and culture is subsumed by conversations about money feels grubby and unsatisfactory and decisions about people’s lives and families are reduced almost entirely to someone’s else’s decision on a price.

This makes it difficult for players and agents to assess the culture of an organisation and to weigh if they fit in the new environment and team and in this sense to be able control their destiny. As Stockwood says: “culture is the thing that drives success in any organization”

Stockwood refers then to The Second Mountain. In this book by David Brooks, the author says that: “purpose, togetherness, relationships and belonging matter more than we realize in our hyper-individual world. As we get older, we begin to understand that individual success is entirely pointless unless connected to family, community, and a bigger picture (whatever that might be).

The advice for players, their agents, and even club owners is:  Take culture into account! “In a career that is short and where top talent is incredibly scarce, there is a huge opportunity for clubs that can authentically show a collective home for individual brilliance.”

To take culture into account the suggestions by Brooks are:

  • Talk to the “owners”. The personal values and behaviours of owners will have a massive influence on how people are viewed and treated. One way to do this is to look at who controls the money, how they got it and how they act in their other businesses.
  • Speak to the manager or head coach about who makes the decisions on playing and coaching. Unless you have that expertise, I’d suggest owners shouldn’t be involved unless asked. This is most often not their domain of expertise and exerting control in this area is a sign of a lack of empowerment and trust in those they work with.

Dimensions of club culture

The question is which elements of (club) culture are essential for optimal performance. First, to describe club culture, a practical definition: “the way how we do things in our club.”

“The way we do things” can be analyzed with seven independent dimensions. (Hofstede Insights Group. nda). The dimensions are meant to create the unwritten rules of the social game in which managers, workers, players, and coaches can perform optimal. Levers like symbols, rituals, strategies, systems, structures, reward/sanction systems, competence profiles are developed, rolled out and implemented to assure the right environment.

Dimensions of Club Culture

D1 Resources – vs. Goal orientation

D2 Internal vs. externally driven

D3 Discipline: Loose vs. tight

D4 Local vs. professional

D5 Open vs. closed

D6 Employee vs. Work oriented

D7 Acceptance of leadership

D1 Resources vs. Goal-orientation.

This dimension describes the extent to which members of the organization identify with how they work versus identifying with goals and results. This dimension says something about the effectiveness of the organization. The more emphasis is placed on how the game is played, the less the focus is on the results. The characteristic of creative players is that they often do not fit into the pattern. Because they often find it challenging to adapt to the general approach, they are sometimes dismissed and referred to as not “steerable.” However, there are many examples of such players going to another club and becoming stars there.

Another example is that uniformity of approach at some clubs leads to a uniform group of players—only good midfielders, or only good defenders, etc. Putting results first also leads to an eye for the diversity of individual talent. The staff must have an eye for the personality traits of the player. Some players need to be confronted hard now and then to motivate them, and some players need to be supported.

D2: Internal vs. Externally driven

This dimension describes to what extent the organization is focused on the customer (supporters and sponsors) and their wishes. In other words, how do the sports club members relate to each other and to external parties. When a culture is internally focused, the organization members assume they know what is best for the customer and the outside world. In an externally driven culture, on the other hand, the emphasis is on meeting the customer’s wishes, and the members have a pragmatic attitude. When appointing trainers and attracting players, it is advisable to address this element. Not all trainers and not all types of players fit a specific club culture.

D3. Discipline: Loose vs. Tight

This dimension describes the degree of internal structuring and discipline. Here too, diversity is a point for attention. Players from countries such as Germany, Portugal and Japan experience the looser culture as somewhat unpredictable with little control. In such cultures, a need for structure is found, and the trainer/coach must actively monitor that. An example of a concrete tool that can meet this need for structure is an introduction program for new players. Good internal communication is essential; clearly communicate who we are, what we stand for, and do. Country culture plays a significant role in the degree of diversity in approach. It is typical for Individualistic countries that the rules apply to everyone equally. In cultures with a high degree of power distance and cultures with a “masculine” culture, different rules are often used for the team’s stars than for the others. This can even lead to significant conflicts if players from such cultures feel they are not receiving special treatment. They do not feel appreciated and acknowledged. Demotivation and underperformance are the results. Communicating with such players and the team about this is essential and creates mutual understanding.

D4. Local vs. Professional

The extent to which coaches and players identify with the traditional approach of the Club, or more with their profession or the content of the work. This dimension also says something about the tendency of those involved to conform to the social norm, which is higher as the culture is more locally oriented. Local culture is often focused on the short term, while a professional culture is focused on the long term. The professional orientation also means that coaches and players look beyond traditional knowledge. Experienced players and coaches, for example, look at how things are tackled in other sports and try to incorporate innovations into their approach.

An example is the incorporation of static data about the performance of players. This has led to surprising results in the Baseball world. Professional coaches in other sports make attempts to apply such techniques as well.

D5: Open vs. Closed

To what extent does the Club show that people from outside are welcome. To this end, a conscious policy must be pursued when fitting in new players. Here too, understanding differences in national culture is a “must ” Starting from the point of view of Individualistic cultures, there are two challenges: In collectivist cultures (South America, South Europe, Asia, and Africa), players are always part of a group. The fellow players are not only your colleagues but also your friends. You also deal with that group of friends after “working time .”You eat together, go to the cinema, or listen to music together. In IDV cultures, a distinction is made between colleagues you work with and friends. That means that after training, there is a tendency to say: “see you tomorrow” and then go home. This is experienced as cold by the players from collectivist cultures. They feel isolated and abandoned. This then influences their performance. The recommendation is to take this seriously and to act on this as a club, and not to leave this to individuals.

D6. Employee vs. work oriented.

This dimension is essential for the Acceptance of diversity. In work-oriented club cultures, there is no attention to the individual characteristics and needs of the players. You perform, or you are out. In employee-oriented cultures, the care for employees receives great attention. There is a great willingness to respond to individual characteristics and needs. In work-oriented cultures, no effort is made to keep those who do not like it in the team. A people-oriented culture is therefore desirable when hosting foreign players.

D7. Degree of Leadership Acceptance

There is a big difference in leadership models between cultures. In the Netherlands and Scandinavia, it is entirely accepted that the coach allows players to participate and that players take the initiative to do so. The coach can be confident that if players disagree with him, they will tell. That is why: no news is good news. This is different in the high-power distance countries and collectivist countries. Players, there are very reluctant to comment on the coach. That is not their place. The coach must take the initiative when asking about their ideas. In such cultures, another saying reflects practice very well: “people only respect what you inspect.” A modern coach’s leadership model will have to consider this diversity. That is not a matter of being friendly but of effectiveness. To motivate and be successful, the coach must adapt to the expectations that arise from the culture that the player comes from.

Conclusions.

We now have about 20 years of experience in coaching sports coaches. The importance of knowledge in this field has only increased in those 20 years. We have received positive feedback and recognition from different angles. Yet it is still an underestimated subject.

There are still stories about players and coaches who fail after an expensive transfer due to a lack of guidance.

We have the ambition of helping players and coaches to cope with the consequences of the globalization of professional sports.Two key factors:

  1. Consciously develop a Club Culture and a Long-term Strategy and align both. (‘CASA’)
  2. Sports- and Management Teams should become culturally intelligent (‘CQ’)

Literature:

Aisch Gregor, Quealy Kevin and Smith Rory.  Where athletes in professional sports come from, January 4 2018, The upshot

Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis. Global Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. doi: 10.1002/gsj.1098

De Volkskrant March 28, 2015. Interview with Jacco Verhaar.

Hofstede Geert, Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions and Organizations Across Nations, 2nd Edition. 596 pages. Thousand Oaks CA: Sage Publications, 2001, hardcover, ISBN 0-8039-7323-3; 2003, paperback, ISBN 0-8039-7324-1.

Hofstede, G., Hofstede, G.J., & Minkov, M. (2010). “Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind”, Third Revised Edition, McGrawHill 2010, ISBN 0-07-166418-1. ©Geert Hofstede B.V. quoted with permission

Hofstede Insights Group: Multi Focus model nda https://hi.hofsedeinsights.com/organisational-culture

Smith Rory, New York Times Febr. 6, 2021 Newcastle, Leeds, and the importance of being…something

Stockwood Jason The Guardian of August 13, 2022, While money is a huge help, it is a culture that drives success in football

Marsh Dan 17 June 2022 in Mirror Online, Mikael Silvestre explains why Man Utd’s “nightmare” can be positive for Eric ten Hag

Wursten, H. (2017). Mental images of culture, a perspective to understand misunderstandings in politics, business, religion &… Retrieved from https://www.academia.edu/34319656/

Wursten Huib. The 7 Mental Images of National Culture Leading and managing in a globalized word (2019)ISBN-10: 1687633347 ISBN-13: 978-1687633347

Note:

Repeated research is showing that these values and the scores of countries are not, or very slowly, changing over time.

– A Danish scholar, M. Søndergaard (5), found 60 (sometimes small scale) replications of Hofstede’s research. A meta-analysis confirmed the five dimensions and the scores of countries.

A replication, showing the same result was carried out by including Hofstede’s questions in the EMS, the European Media & Marketing Survey.

Aa replication by Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), “Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis”. Global Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. DOI: 10.1002/gsj.1098

Mental Images and Nation-Building

Mental Images and Nation-Building

Huib Wursten, Public speaker, Author, and Consultant

huibwursten@gmail.com

Introduction:

It’s still fresh in our memory. The chaos of the hasty withdrawal of the U.S. and NATO allies from Afghanistan and the earlier failure of nation-building in Iraq.

In both cases, the necessity to intervene was partly legitimized by the argument that the states in question were a threat to the international order and safety and the consequent need for regime change.

Nation-building is notoriously difficult. Even more difficult if another nation is involved. A report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace looking at U.S. attempts at nation-building counted more than 200 interventions. The conclusion was that only two could be seen as a success—Nation-building in Germany and Japan after the second world war. ( Pei Minxin, Kasper Sara, 2003)

In this paper, it will be shown that Cultural values, as defined by the most quoted scholar in the empirical approach in this field, Geert Hofstede, help to understand the difficulties. Furthermore, it will be shown that the 7 “Mental Images,” the combinations of these values developed by the author of this article, are crucial for the sustainability of all policy development in general, specifically for nation-building.

Most of the failures of the interventions in nation-building can be explained by

  1. A failure to understand the cultural requirements of the desired situation.
  2. A mismatch between the “rules of the game” used to manage change and the attributes of the culture at hand.

Keywords:

Nation-building,  Culture, Hofstede, Mental Images,  Imagined communities, Diversity.

Some definitions

Nation-states:

In this paper, we refer to nation-states in the following meaning:  Nation: people sharing a specific territory and having a shared national consciousness, who, in principle, accept the authority, legitimacy, and power of their political administration (= state).

Nation-building is constructing or structuring a national identity using the state’s power. Nation-building aims to unify the people within the state so that it remains politically stable and viable in the long run. The “shared consciousness” in the definition above is essential. Anderson (1991 and Norton (2003)) argue that what we aim at are “imagined communities.” Imagined, “because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.” In “imagining ourselves bonded with our fellow compatriots across space and time, we can feel a sense of community with people we have not yet met, but perhaps hope to meet one day.”

Imagined communities and dimensions of culture                                                           

Constructing and structuring an imagined community must address the value preferences of such an imagined community and the consequences for functional structures and the rule of law. Additionally, it must also provide a way for people to be heard and to be able to influence the imagined community. Finally, it should be clear how citizens can participate in shaping policy decisions.

We need some verifiable research about the game’s specific rules to analyze the requirements. Unfortunately, too much in the sometimes-overly aggressive- discussions about these issues are related to anecdotic and emotional storytelling. This is where the research of Hofstede comes into the picture. He focused his research on the value dimensions of national culture.(Hofstede 2001, Hofstede et al.2010)

The value dimensions of Hofstede

Geert Hofstede found and explained value differences on the most fundamental level among nation-states. The four confirmed value differences describe preferences per Nation-state about how to deal with the outside world and each other. Research by others (Beugelsdijk et al.2015) found that the differences Hofstede found are stable over time and are not disappearing because of globalization. This finding is relevant because some “globalists” believe that the world is turning into a global village with shared values and where differences only exist on an individual level.

The confirmed four dimensions of national culture identified by Hofstede are:

Power Distance (PDI) The way people accept hierarchy as an existential fact of life

or as just a matter of convenience in organizing a group or community.  

Individualism/Collectivism (IDV) The way people deal with the relationship between the individual and the group. In collectivist cultures, people prioritize loyalty to the ‘in-group’ they belong to (extended family, tribe, ethnic group, religious group, etc.), whereas, in Individualistic cultures, people put the rights of the individual first.

Masculinity/Femininity (MAS) The way people deal with motivation: a preference for competition (masculine cultures) or a preference for cooperation and consensus-seeking (feminine cultures).

Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI) The way people deal with unfamiliar risks. This concerns the need for predictability. The continuum goes from a weak appetite for predictability to a strong need for predictability.

These are not binary divisions but a continuum. It describes the central tendency of a bell curve per nation. It concerns the majority culture. Minority cultures need to define themselves in relation to the majority culture. Individuals can have other preferences than the majority. However, the majority culture decides the criteria for proper behavior in that culture and defines what is and what is not acceptable.

The majority frequently see being different as “deviant” and tend to neglect or even punish minority behavior. This explains why minorities though different in their preferences, tend to conform to the norms of the majority culture.

The position of about 180 countries on this continuum is charted. A meta-analysis shows that the repeat results are consistent over the +/- 50 years since Hofstede’s first conclusions. However, the latest significant research found that two ‘Dimensions’ scores are slowly changing. Everywhere the scores for power-distance are getting lower, and the scores for Individualism are getting higher. The relative distances between countries are however not evolving. That is, worldwide, we are moving in a cohort.

The scores describe the majority values of nation-states. The idea of nation-states is relatively recent. It is often associated with the treaty of Westphalia in 1648. In this treaty, the sovereign legal status of the nation-state was “cemented” (Spark notes: Nations and states).   Sovereign nation-states are vital because they shape their citizens’ values by their educational policies, the influence of institutions, and the national media.

Mental Images and the gravitational influence of culture

Wursten shows that country cultures cannot be understood by the separate value dimensions one by one. “The whole is more than the sum of parts. Combining the four fundamental value dimensions leads to a “Gestalt,” something new. Seven of these Gestalts are identified (Wursten 2019). The word “mental images” is used in this paper to differentiate between the Gestalts. The term reflects an essential consequence of the seven combinations: they lead to seven different “pictures” in the mind of people of what society and organizations look like.

Every Mental Image has a specific approach to the ‘rules of the game'”. (Wursten 2019). These ‘rules of the game’ influence almost everything relating to societal issues, including the shape of Governance and the st up of institutions in a culture.

To fully appreciate the seven different Mental Images, it is essential to understand that the countries belonging to a particular Mental Image have a similar mix of values. But that does not mean they are identical. Sharing the same “rules of the game” does not always lead to the same decisions! In every culture, different forces are at work. For instance: you’ll find different mixes in all cultures of conservatives and progressives. Issues like size, location, and geography all play a role. Even the personality of leaders can play a role.

The need for nation-building

The need for nation-building is nowadays felt mostly in Collectivist value systems with a high score for Power-distance, a combination that complicates one of the critical goals for nation-building: creating a broader identity, the feeling of belonging to a shared “imagined community,” Achieving this shared Imagined community proves to be very difficult in multi-ethnical, multi-tribal multi-religious environments. This is the challenge for new nation-states that have their origin in political decisions from the past. Decisions that were not taking cultural diversity into account and created artificial borders.

Short overview of the seven Mental Images

  • The arrows indicate a low, middle, or high score

 The Pyramid. Important issues.

Most cases of recent nation-building are in the Pyramid Mental Image. The Pyramid includes the combination of large Power distance, Collectivism, and High UAI. MAS is of a lesser consequence, mainly manifesting itself by the assertiveness in people’s behavior and their willingness for consensus-seeking.

Analysis of the value combination of the Pyramid will show that it complicates one of the essential goals for nation-building: creating a broader identity, the feeling of belonging to a shared “imagined community,” This is very difficult in multi-ethnical, multi-tribal multi-religious new nation-states. Unfortunately, it is precisely the situation of many new nation-states that have their origin in political decisions from the past. These decisions created rather artificial borders and did not consider cultural diversity.

Two historical examples

  1. Africa and the influence of colonial powers (Faal 2009) The African borders were drawn during the late 19th century, from 1870-to 1900. This was when imperialism dominated European foreign policy. This was the time when Europe conquered most of Africa. At the congress of Berlin in 1888, headed by German chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the rules for drawing up borders in Africa were determined, mandating that countries could only draw out their respective zones by military occupation, and if other countries were to control Europeans have already occupied areas what which, it would be seen as an act of war. There have been numerous other changes – with quite a few in the 1930s and further in the run-up to independence. For example, the border between Nigeria and Cameroon was modified as recently as 2008 following the resolution of the Bakassi dispute, while a new border appeared when Sudan split into two countries in 2011. After WWII, in the wave of decolonization, countries were granted independence to their respective control zones; thus, the previous borders were retained.
  2. 2. The Ottoman empire and the development of nation-states (Aviv 2016)

Nationalism as an ideology was alien to the Middle East. It first emerged within intellectual circles as a reaction to Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt, demonstrating the economic, military, and political development gap between the Muslim Middle East and Christian Europe. The Turkish elite of the Ottoman Empire shifted towards nationalism to close this gap and started a reform period known as the transmat. Until then, the empire had been divided into millets, comprising religious communities granted autonomy for internal affairs to pay taxes to the Sultan and keep local order. While the primary feature of identity was religion, local rulers struggling for independence, such as Mohammad Ali of Egypt, wanted to keep the money they had to transfer to the Sultan. This scenario changed fundamentally with the transmat. All inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire officially became citizens with the same rights and duties. The autonomy of the millets ended, but partly in contradiction to the reform, the Turkish elite pictured itself as the ruling millet, which meant discrimination against all non-Turkish citizens. This became most apparent in public administration as non-Turkish civil servants lost their posts while the share and influence of Turks grew. As a reaction to Turkish nationalism, the Arabs emphasized their ethnicity—Arab nationalism was thus a reaction to Turkish nationalism. Arab nationalism, however, remained a marginal phenomenon until the First World War. Michel Aflaq, a founding member and leading intellectual of the Ba’ath Party, defined an Arab first by his language

Nation-building and the attributes of the Pyramid.

Loyalty to the in-group and particularism.

One common attribute of all Pyramid countries is Collectivism. In the Hofstede framework, this is the opposite of Individualism. In Individualistic societies, people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only, whereas, in Collectivist cultures, people belong to “in-groups” that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.

In collectivist cultures, people are supposed to be loyal to, and in harmony with, the thinking and the interest of their own in-group (tribe, ethnic group, region, clan, religious group). In return, the in-group will take care of them. In these cultures, it can be dangerous to have ideas and behavior, not in line with the in-group. It can be seen as disloyalty which is punished by exclusion from the in-group. One is expected to adhere to the set of values for the in-group. For outsiders, different values apply. This is called particularism.

The consequence for nation-building: because the values don’t necessarily apply to other in-groups, it is more challenging to develop a nation with “shared national consciousness” in collectivist cultures.

Identity In a previous paper, I analyzed the difference between individualistic and collectivist cultures in the context of self-concept, a central element in our mental programming. In collectivist countries, the in-group is the primary source of one’s identity, and the only secure protection one has against the hardships of life. Consequently, identity is in collectivist cultures to a substantial extent derived from Group/category membership. In collectivist cultures, a person hardly thinks about himself as an individual. Hsu (Hsu1971) argued that the Chinese word for “Man” (ren) includes the person’s intimate societal and cultural environment., which makes that person’s existence meaningful. In a broad review of literature, Markus and Kitayama (1991) argued that our cognition, emotion, and motivation all differ depending on whether our culture has provided us with an independent or an interdependent” self-construal. Children in cultures with an Individualistic culture” learn to think of themselves as I. This I is an individual’s identity and is distinct from other people’s I’s, and these others are classified not according to group membership but individual characteristics. Playmates are chosen primarily based on personal preferences. (Hofstede,2001) In collectivist cultures, gender and religion are essential for identity. Not so much in IDV cultures. As an interesting example: In Individualistic cultures, the generic goal of psychotherapy has often been defined as “self-integration” or “self-actualization.”  Such goals would be condemned in Arabic societies, where collectivist identity is given precedence over the self. (Hofstede 2001) This cultural issue strongly influences the discussion on Nation-building in collectivist cultures. In collectivist cultures, in-group identity is an existential issue.

Trust and relationship: A condition for cooperation with others.

The rational or “functional” reasons for a joint effort in policy development or a project are secondary to the need to trust each other. This takes time but is a necessary condition for the sustainability of an endeavor.

Hierarchy: In the Pyramid, it is accepted that hierarchy is an existential part of life. People are raised to accept and respect power inequality. Superiors are viewed from a different stratum of society. As a result, subsequent to the acceptance of hierarchy, there is also latent mistrust between the levels. This has consequences for communication and feedback. To avoid disharmony and conflict, communication tends to be indirect. There is a real need to read between the lines.

Feedback: Upwards criticism is very uneasy. It can provoke the ire of the superior and it can create disharmony or loss of face for the superior or employee. This also applies to giving negative feedback to the superior. In small PDI cultures, the superior expects the employee to report immediately if something is not happening as expected. Because of this emphasis on equality, there is basic trust between the levels. Superiors can expect subordinates to volunteer direct feedback if things develop in an unexpected direction. If no such feedback is given within limits, a superior can rely on the expectation that things are developing as foreseen. “No news is good news.” In large Power Distance countries, the approach to this issue is different. In these countries, people are raised to respect inequality. However, the fear of creating disharmony and loss of face and the latent mistrust make people will not volunteer to give negative feedback to their superiors. Therefore, the superior needs to look for negative developments actively. The saying is:” People respect what you inspect.” Reviews of the work take place continuously. The inspection is done physically on location. Phone calls or Zoom meetings are inadequate. In small PDI cultures, the lack of visible inspection from the superior is perceived as positive. The perception is that the superior trust you in your competence and empowerment. In large PDI cultures, however, lack of visible inspection is frequently perceived as bad leadership: It is perceived as disinterest of the superior in what you are doing.

Leadership:  A power holder in the Pyramid functions like a family’s strict but caring father (or mother). In return for the loyalty of employees or citizens, the boss is supposed to take care of them. This is very effective on the local level where the boss and the subordinate ‘know” each other and are from the same in-group. This, however, is difficult if the superior and subordinate are not in close contact and are not from the same in-group. In such a situation, it is a must for the superior to overcome mistrust and show that the “caring” behavior is also happening to people who are more remote, literary in terms of distance, and belonging to another in-group. This is where it frequently goes wrong in nation-building. The need to develop and maintain trust with members of other in-groups tends to be neglected by the people in power. In the Pyramid, the leader is supposed to be a strict but fair fatherlike/motherlike person, rewarding the loyalty of the subordinates by taking care of them. People in his in-group expect preferential behavior and protection. This is the essence of mutual trust. The top person in the Pyramid feels entitlement for all kinds of privileges. This is accepted by the less powerful. This trust is valid inside the in-group. A superior from another in-group is not automatically trusted as he is also supposed to be loyal to the people of his in-group and not to outsiders.

A few micro examples from my practice as a consultant.

–  The Western CEO of a company active in Nigeria was married to a Yoruba woman.

In private talks, Nigerian employees from other tribes confessed that they mistrusted all his actions because of his affiliation to the Yoruba community

  • Recruiting people for the same company was a balancing act. Recruiting from the same tribe had one advantage: accepting (informal) leadership was clear-cut. Trusted locals warned me about one disadvantage: the employees were loyal in the first place to their in-group and not to the company. There was no reluctance to help others with extra money or even tools. Hiring people from different tribes had the advantage that people were watching each other in terms of favors and privileges. The disadvantage is that informal leadership was unclear. Age was respected, especially inside the in-group. Conflicts between people from different tribes were more difficult to solve Decision making and the “common good” The superior has the prerogative of decision-making and is supposed to make clear-cut decisions. Others wait for the powerholder to decide before they can act. The implicit expectation in these cultures is that the person at the top has a complete overview of what is happening and can decide the right thing to do. This means that the top person has the “right” to define the common good in the political environment.
  • Delegation: When the decision has been made, it is the task of the boss to delegate downwards by giving people clear instructions about what to do, how to do it, and with what level of authority. When things are happening that were not foreseen in the instructions, the subordinates are not supposed to act first and explain it afterward. They are supposed to go back to the boss for further instructions before taking action.                                                                                  
  • Meetings are meant to give the superior a platform to inform others about decisions and ensure in-group harmony. The superior can invite participants to a meeting to discuss. The superior will end the discussion by concluding: I heard what you said. This is my decision. If such a conclusion did not happen, no decision was made in the eyes of the participants.
  •  Rules: In-group rules are important and rules set by the system or boss. The rule of law is to be understood in this way. A distinction should be made between a broad and narrow definition of the rule of law
Broad (or formal) definition Narrow definition
  • Attributes of the broad definition are:
  • The rules should be clear
  • No retroactive action
  • Not too many changes
  • Consistency
  • Independent judges
  • Fair trials
The rule of law also encompasses:

  • a chosen parliament
  • a democratic system
  • human rights are recognized and respected

Many Pyramid countries adhere to a broad definition of the rule of law. The narrow definition is found mainly in individualistic countries. It includes human rights. Including human rights in the Pyramid is possible in the context of nation-building. It requires, however, a strong commitment by the powerholders to defend these rights. For example, to protect the equal rights of men and women against the possible resistance of the “tribal” cultures involved.

Reflections on nation-building in multi-ethnic countries.

Governance in Pyramid countries is not an issue, if the tribes, religious entities, ethnic groups, and language groups are independent with their own leadership rituals (law system), heroes, and Symbols. The challenge starts when multi-ethnic nation-states are supposed to accept a centralized power structure with a unified legal structure and often with a dominant in-group. As we already discussed above, initially, nation-building referred to the efforts of newly independent nations to reshape colonial territories that colonial powers had carved out without regard to ethnic or other boundaries. These reformed states would become viable and coherent national entities (Opio, 2000). This required constructing or structuring a national identity using the state’s power to unify the people. Building and structuring a shared national identity or imagined community should be based on generally accepted rules, norms, principles, and common citizenship. Institutions such as the judiciary, universities, civil service, and an army are created to symbolize the political entity. To be effective, it must address value preferences and the consequences for democracy, functional structures, and the rule of law

The separation of powers, as proposed by Montesquieu in 1748, is always difficult in Pyramid cultures. One lesson that emerges is the aversion many parties in power and their leaders show to the principle of coalitions and power-sharing. Yet, for producing political stability and democracy, it is a necessity. These have their downside, but, on balance, coalitions fare better than the elusive single-party majorities many parties in Africa continue to seek. There is a crying need for parties, leaders, and governments to appreciate this.

Political unity and dominant groups. After independence, new nation-states were frequently expected to develop political systems styled after Western democracies. It was assumed that ideology and class alliances would counter the potentially harmful effects of tribalism. However, voting behavior in the new Pyramid countries follows ethnic lines. Political parties rarely represent more than one or two cultural groups. As different parties came to power, they ruled with their own group’s interests coming first. As a result, plural societies did rarely develop. To create the appearance of political unity, dominant groups in countries in transition sometimes begin to ban other political parties. As a result, one-party states and military governments are sometimes the norms. (Batty 2011; Bratton et al.2012))

Democracy and in-group identity. There is little evidence that tribal identity is disappearing. On the contrary, many elections in the new nation-states are marked by ethnic voting. Voters choose their co-ethnic candidate before candidates from other ethnic groups. As an example: Cho (2012) found across Africa strong support for patterns of voting along ethnic lines, confirming an earlier analysis of Horowitz’s (1985), who described African elections as mere censuses for ethnic support, where ethnic groups maintain homogeneous preferences and compete for scarce resources in a zero-sum game.

Traditional democracy in multi-ethnic societies. The big tent ‘democracy.’

The aim of the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan was, as President George W. Bush put it in October 2001, “to bring al-Qaeda to justice.” Nation-building was not part of the original strategic plan. What happened was that the intervention took the shape of a transfer of power to local clans and power holders. Tragically it ended up in a transfer of power to corrupt warlords.                                                                                                                                             It is interesting to analyze the function of a long-existing instrument for involving different “clans” and power groups in decision making: the Loya Jirga. It can be seen as an attempt to create democracy in a multi-ethnic, tribal society. It combines elements of the tribal political culture with the Afghan court’s ceremonial ideals of Western parliamentary democracy.                                                                                                                          Continuous research by the Afghanistan Analyst Network (AAN 2020) gives an insight into the functioning of the Loya Jirga. They write: “The Loya jirga – or grand assembly – has been used as a political instrument by almost every Afghan king and president for the last century, with the first held arguably in 1915 and the last, for now, in August 2020. These jirgas typically bring together hundreds, sometimes thousands of delegates from the various ethnic and social groups from across the country. King Habibullah convened the first such gathering in 1915, “when he ‘invited 540 delegates from all parts of the country to Kabul to explain[!] the reasons for Afghanistan’s neutrality during the First World War,” as one of our reports says.                                                                                                                                          The Loya jirgas were then institutionalized by the reformer-king Amanullah, who, in 1921, for example, convened a jirga that led to the country’s first quasi-constitution. Later on, the Loya jirga became a quasi-parliamentary body. Today, it is enshrined in the constitution as “the highest manifestation of the [will of the] people of Afghanistan,” convened to “take decisions on the issues related to independence, national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and supreme interests of the country.                                                                                                                                     The question is: what authority did they have?  The research by Afganisthan Analyst Network (AAN 2020) provides some answers. The greatest focus of their reporting is on Loya jirgas held after 2001, following the fall of the Taliban regime. The conclusion is that, to some degree, leadership in Afghanistan acknowledged that involving at least Afghan elders or elites through Loya jirgas could help secure and legitimize their power. But participants had little room for decisionmaking. AAN authors have pointed out that critics have regularly criticized Loya jirgas, including some of those held since 2001, as undermining the democratic institutions of the country. Looking back, one author concluded that:

1. All too often, the outcome of jirgas is “designed in advance, making them essentially rubber-stamp bodies with a bit of (tribal-)democratic window-dressing.”

2. Another analyst takes a different argument: governments since 2001 have “undermined the institution of the Loya jirga.” It could, he said, play a much stronger role in times of national crisis, were it held properly.

3. AAN writes: “Actually, all the Loya jirgas convened since the introduction of the constitution in 2004 have been unconstitutional. The constitution prescribes who must attend a Loya jirga and they include members of district councils, elections for which have never been held.

4. All the gatherings held since 2010 have been called ‘consultative,’ ‘peace’ or ‘traditional’ Loya jirgas – another indication of their actual lack of authority. One analyst wrote, “For the time being, the government… must limit itself to convening quasi-Loya jirgas.” Often, these gatherings have provided the Government with political cover for difficult decisions. Occasionally, delegates have come to a different conclusion than the president had planned. Either way, however, their resolutions can be heeded or ignored by the president at will”.

Conclusions:

Identifying the characteristics of the Pyramid countries and stating the purpose for Nation building, it is evident that the Pyramid Mental Image with large Power-distance and specifically Collectivism creates a real challenge for the unification of heterogeneous in-groups.

Particularism and the clash of clans.

In his famous book, Samuel Huntington predicted a “Clash of Civilizations” (Huntington1996). In his opinion, religion is the dominant cultural issue. Increasingly, there will be a power struggle between religions, especially between Christianity and Islam. The problem with his approach is it is difficult to explain in this way that in Muslim countries in the Middle East, Sunnites are fighting Shiites and visa-versa, and both are fighting Kurds. Indeed, a better explanation is found on the level of cultural dimensions. The cultural dimension “collectivism” explains why this fighting is happening. Collectivism makes people, in the first place, “loyal to their “in-group” (clan, religious faction, region, ethnic group), and in return, expect help and support from this in-group. Collectivist people put the interests of their in-group first, and some rules and values are valid for dealing with your in-group. But these rules and values are not automatically applied to outsiders. This “clash of clans” is making nation-building in Pyramid cultures difficult.

Consequences of high acceptance of unequal distribution of power.

Significant in the internal characteristic of states is the organizational effectiveness and discipline of the military bureaucracy and the judiciary (Pei and Kasper, 2003). Where these institutions are strong, nation-building becomes a less difficult task, but where they are weaker than the individuals, nation-building becomes extremely difficult. In ethnically fragmented and heterogeneous societies, the distribution of political power often assumes a rational arrangement among the ethnic group. With the conviction of non-exclusion in the power equation by the ethnic groups, the tension would be lessened, and nation-building gradually begins.

 Building and maintaining trust is an ultimate priority.

A few years ago, the American author Fukuyama (1996.) wrote a book on trust as a crucial element for development. He made a distinction between high and low trust cultures. The criticism was that the distinction was too general. Trust is taking different shapes in the various cultural dimensions (Wursten 1999;  Finuras 2013)

High-power distance: In Large PDI cultures, trust relates that superiors take their moral competence seriously. The superior will take care of you like the father/mother of a family in return for the loyalty of the subordinate. In Multi-ethnic societies, leaders must continuously show their moral competence for other in-groups than their own.

Implications of the individualism/collectivism dimension for trust

In collective cultures, people derive their identity by belonging to the in-group. The expectation is that the in-group will support the members of the in-group. This frequently leads to particularism: the core values apply to a specific in-group.  In multi-ethnic nation-states, trust must be established and maintained that all in-groups are treated the same way by the law. This means a consistent “broad rule of law” as defined above. If the restricted rule of law is adopted for nation-building, including equal rights for women, the Government should also be trusted to defend these rights if a regime changes.

Implications of the masculinity/femininity dimension for trust

In “masculine” societies, the emphasis is on being competitive. The system is orientated to accepting the attitude of “winner takes all.” In principle, one can speak of a reward system that focuses on materialistic things. Trust is based on the feeling people should have in a fair system of winners and losers. Meritocracy is expected.

In “feminine” societies, the keyword is consensus. Trust is gained if the in-groups involved feel that they are “seen” and can participate in decision-making processes focusing on “shared interest.” Conversely, mistrust in society grows if governments appear to act from a one-sided view of what is important for only one segment of society and fail to consider the needs of diverse other groups.

Trust and Uncertainty avoidance “. It is a dimension that indicates people’s need for predictability and shows the extent to which they are willing to take risks. Countries that score high on uncertainty avoidance have a strong need for formality in social interaction. Clear rules are expected. High value is again given to a consistent application of the rule of law.

Understanding History is important.

William Faulkner (1950) once said: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,”. It is usually interpreted as a reflection on how the evils of our history continue to shape the present. Faulkner also added that the past is “not even past” because what happens in the present changes how we remember the past.

At an intercultural workshop for U.N. peacekeepers, one of the participants told me the following cruel joke: During the Balkan war, a Croat asked a Serb: why are you doing this to us? Killing our men and raping our women? Says the Serb: but you did the same to us. You killed our men and raped our women. But, the Croat says that was 200 years ago. The Serb replies, yes, but I only heard about it yesterday.

Understanding the historical sensitivities is utterly important for building the “Imagined communities.” What never should be acceptable is what happened in 2001. Richard Armitage, then the U.S.  deputy secretary of state, by his own account, cut off General Mahmood Ahmed, the head of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence, who was trying to explain to him who the Taliban were: “I said, “No, the history begins today.”(Fintan O’Tool 2021)

Literature:

AAN Dossier XXVI (August 31, 2020): Big Tent’ Democracy’ – Afghanistan’s Loya jirgas, 1915 to 2020

Anderson Benedict (1991), Imagined CommunitiesReflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso. pp. 6–7. ISBN 978-0-86091-546-1

Aviv Efrat (2016) Millet System in the Ottoman Empire Oxford Bibliographies LAST MODIFIED: NOVEMBER 28, 2016 DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195390155-0231

 

Batty Fodei 2011 Do Ethnic Groups Retain Homogenous Preferences in African Politics? Evidence from Sierra Leone and Liberia Author(s): African Studies Review, APRIL 2011, Vol.54, No. 1, pp. 117-143 Published by: Cambridge University Pres

Bratton, M., Bhavnani, R. & Chen, T. (2012). Voting intentions in Africa: Ethnic, economic, or partisan? Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 50(1): 27-52

Beugelsdijk, S., Maseland, R. and van Hoorn, A. (2015), Are Scores on Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture Stable over Time? A Cohort Analysis. Global Strategy Journal, 5: 223–240. DOI: 10.1002/gsj.1098

Cho, W. (2012). Voting behavior in Africa: Ethnic voting vs. economic voting. Review of International and Area Studies, 21(4)

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C.V.

Huib Wursten is specialized in Intercultural management. Since 1989 he has been working in this field with Fortune’s top 1000 companies, and private and public organizations in 85 countries on all continents.

He has experience in translating global strategies and policies into practical consequences for management.  In his work with complex worldwide organizations  Huib Wursten developed a tool to differentiate fundamentally different value systems,  leading to 7 “culture clusters” These clusters can be seen as cultural “grammar systems” with different approaches to political behavior, societal arrangements,  educational systems, leadership styles, business approaches, and even sports. He recently published a highly rated book: “The 7 Mental Images of national Culture. Leading and managing in a globalized world.” Huib also authored 26 papers on the impact of culture. Ranging from customer service and Marketing to recruitment and outsourcing.

He is fluent in English, German, and Dutch. He has also run courses in French (with a little bit of help)

Email: huibwursten@gmail.com