Hofstede and National Culture: a guest viewpoint by Charles Hampden-Turner

A Dutch colleague of ours, Geert Hofstede, measures national cultures. He found that China thinks very long-termbut Britain and the USA think very short-term. Likewise China is high in self-control while the UK and USA are much higher in self-indulgence, being much more related to consumption than production.  

This clearly relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Young people want to go to bars and beaches and indulge themselves, while it takes self-control to self-isolate and keep your distance. One reason China can build a hospital in 9 days, is that it thinks long-term and keeps building modules in reserve. What takes nine days is the assembly of what had been stored. The long-term includes the short-term. If you  exercise control now you can indulge later, but it does not work the other way around.   

Charles Hampden-Turner is a British management philosopher, and Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge since 1990. He is the co-founder and Director of Research and Development at the Trompenaars-Hampden-Turner Group, in Amsterdam.       

COVID-19: a guest viewpoint by Charles Hampden-Turner

China has dealt with COVID-19 incredibly better than the USA. It has suffered 3 deaths per million while the US has suffered 424 deaths per million at the latest count, so the PRC has less than 1% of America‚Äôs death toll. Why is this, when the US had so much more warning? 

My company measures the values of managers world-wide. The whole of East Asia, influenced over the years by Chinese civilization, is less individualist than it is community oriented. China grasps that the community is what preserves the rights of the individual, who must defer to that community if and when it becomes infected, so that parents and grandparents could die. Confucianism teaches fidelity to parents. In contrast Americans feel their liberties are infringed by lock-downs, by face masks, by interfering governments. 

Charles Hampden-Turner is a British management philosopher, and Senior Research Associate at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge since 1990. He is the co-founder and Director of Research and Development at the Trompenaars-Hampden-Turner Group, in Amsterdam.