Notes on Intercultural Communication

Posts Tagged ‘hofstede intercultural communication

The Core of Hoftede’s Onion Model

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Approches to the Core (Values) of Hofstede’s Onion Model


Onion Hofstede

Unfortunately, the nice intercultural website where I got the pic from was closed down: (retrieved 28.08.2009, disappearance noticed 22.11.2012). Sorry for this.

It is made of 3 layers around a core. The core stands for the values of a certain culture, which is not moving a lot. It mostly remains the same. Even if something seems to be outdated, it still can subconsciously play a role in the present. That includes individuals as well as groups.

Those values are laid in the early childhood and only change little. They mostly appear subconsciously. The outer layer appear more and more consciously. The Schemata – Theory was originally meant to describe mechanisms of learning, but can also be applied to cultures.


Bartlett’s Schema Theory

“(…) Bartlett proposed that people have schemata, or unconscious mental structures, that represent an individual’s generic knowledge about the world. It is through schemata that old knowledge influences new information. (…) For example, consider the representation of a generic (typical) elementary school classroom. The frame for such a classroom includes certain information, such as that the room has walls, a ceiling, lights, and a door. The door can be thought of as a slot which accepts values such as wood door or metal door, but does not accept a value such as a door made of jello. If a person or a machine is trying to represent a particular elementary school classroom, the person or machine instantiates the generic frame with specific information from the particular classroom (e.g., it has a window on one wall, and the door is wooden with a small glass panel). If, for some reason, one does not actually observe the lights in the classroom, one can fill the lighting slot with the default assumption that they are fluorescent lights. This proposal gives a good account of a wide range of phenomena. It explains, for example, why one would be very surprised to walk into an elementary classroom and find that it did not have a ceiling, and it accounts for the fact that someone might recall that a certain classroom had fluorescent lights when it did not. (…)

Read more: Learning Theory – Schema Theory – Knowledge, Representation, Schemata, and Information –

 (retrieved 13.09.2013 at


Dr. John Medina gives an example by leaving out the core-information when describing an everyday issue. He describes the schemata as “(…) the way of organizing thoughts about some aspects of the world. We call those framework schemas, and you have them about people, situations, objects. This means that something profound. (…)”

John Medina Brain Rules Schema

(retrieved 12.09.2013 at

Dr. Medina’s website Brain Rules! is definitely worth a visit


John Anderson on The Counsel Channel about Schemata

John Anderson Schemata


“(…) they encompus the beliefs we encountered in childhood and the beliefs, (which) we developed as a result of those beliefs and the way we maintain them.

They in a sense give us brinks, because they also determine the way we perceive events in the world and structure our thinking. Schemata (…) are made up of unconditional beliefs laid down in very early childhood – the child’s view of themselves and the environment, at the people – and the future or goals – are they achievable or not achievable.

In slightly later childhood, when the child becomes a manipulator of a situation – or trying to be – then they use to be developing conditional beliefs. If I do this, then that may happen., and if I do that, then this may happens – which become rules – I must do this, I must do that. I ought to do this – and which is also applied to other people too. (…) . And then you get ways of maintaining these beliefs. So people either replay them or because they don’t like the negative beliefs, they go great length to avoid them. (…)”

(retrieved 13.09.2013 at


(reviewed 13.09.2013)

Stan Shih 施振榮

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施振榮 (Shī Zhènróng or Chen Jung) / Dr. PhD. h.c. mult. Stan Shih

Stan Shih (Traditional Chinese: 施振榮, Hanyu Pinyin: Shī Zhènróng or Chen Jung, born December 8 ( or 18 ?), 1944 in Lukang Township, Changhua County, Taiwan. Former President and founder of the Acer Group.

Married to Carolyn Yeh (Yeh Chi Hua) on September 28, 1971, with whom he has 3 children.


Stan Shih 2008


Genealogy (Ancestors)

Father: Shih Chi Shen (owned “The Shi Family Beautiful Jade Incense Shop”) + 13.02.1948

Grandfather father`s side: Shih Yi Chou, + 1953

Mother: Chen Shiu Lien (nickname Ah Shiu) 1923 – 02.09.2001

Grandfather mother`s side: Chen Mu Sung

Grandmother mother`s side Chen Yu Chou

Grand- Grandfather mother`s side: Liao Yen (opened the “Temple of Heavenly Virtue”)

Grand- Grandmother mother`s side: Chen Fen

Wife: Carolyn Yeh (Yeh Chi Hua)

Father in Law: Yeh Hsin (*1944?)

Mother in Law: Wang Ai Mei


Biography of Stan Shih – Made In Taiwan by Robert H. Chen (abstract)

Childhood in Lukang until the 1944 – 1960

Photo from  an interview with Stan Shih from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here. (Ann. of the editor: this photo must have benn taken around 1950. It looks professional, so the little family must have paid money for this picture. How comes, they made a photo with this quite unhappy facial expression?  Was it taken 1948, after Chi Shen`s (his father`s)  death? What was the purpose of this photography? Can anyone help? )


When I was a child, I was an introvert and did not like to be in the spotlight. And my views were often different from others; neither did I like to follow the norm.

Shih in “Me Too is not my Style”


(…) Starting before dawn, Shiu Lien (Ah Shiu) would knit sweaters on the knitting machine. When the markets opened, she would sell duck eggs and patriotic raffles (ann. of the editor: betel nuts). When the grade school closed for the day, she would sell pens and paper to the homeward-bound students. In the evening, she would hurry to deliver duck eggs to the restaurants, and on the way, she would peedle lottery tickets and incense sticks. (…)

(…) ” Helping my mother do business when I was young greatly influenced my thoughts about business enterprise in the later years.” (…)

(…) Selling duck eggs and stationary goods in the same store provided an opportunity for comparison.The profit marge in selling duck eggs was very thin indeed: At the same time, one Jin (or catty, 600 grams or 1,33 pounds) of duck eggs sold for three dollars (7,5 U.S. cents). One could make 30 cents profit (,75 cents), a small profit margin of only ten percent. Further, duck eggs easily spoiled. If one did not sell it on time, they would become rotten, resulting a total loss. Stationary, on the other hand, had a very high profit margin, ten dollars of sale would usually result in at least four dollars profit, a margin of forty percent. Further, stationary was not perishable. One could leave them there for a year, two years, and they still could be sold. Clearly, it seems, it is better to sell stationary goods than duck eggs. “Actually”, as Stan liked to point out, “selling duck eggs makes a lot more money than selling stationary”. (…)


The Wiki about Lukang

“During the Qing Dynasty, the depth of Lugang’s harbour and its proximity to Fujian province on mainland China made Lugang an important trading port. During Lugang’s heyday from 1785 to 1845, Lugang’s population reached 200,000. Lugang was Taiwan’s second largest city after current Tainan and was larger than Bangka (now a district of Taipei), then the island’s third-largest city.

The subsequent silting of the harbour and the city’s refusal to allow railroads to pass through the city led to losses in trade in commerce, which, in turn led to Lugang’s decline. This same decline, however, averted the modernization processes that demolished historical buildings in Tainan and Taipei, leaving Lugang preserved as it was in its heyday. There are still many old temples in Lugang, such as Longshan Temple and Matzu Temple. The city boasts over 200 temples dedicated to a wide variety of folk deities.”


Youth in Chang Hua (Middle Taiwan)1960 – 1967

Shih in “Me Too is not my Style”:

While in high school, my academic performance was not outstanding and could only be rated above average. However, during my junior year, I surprisingly won first place in a school wide mathematics/science contest. In fact, I did not pay special efforts to the science subjects; I worked hard on the liberal arts subjects but I did not get good grades in return. This incident gave me great confidence and laid the foundation for my future development in engineering.


(Last row, second person on the right) Photo from  an interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.


(…) During his High School days in Chang Hua in central Taiwan, (…) Stan had never left Chang Hua. He was a typical country boy, who was shy, introvertedand thoroughly lacking social graces. On the few occasians he had to speak to a girl, his face would turn beet red.   (…)

(…) In high school one day, a group of students were caught gambling in the classroom. Luckily Chen Jung was only watching at that time (although he was fully prepared to join in the fun) and was not named when the school counsellors used the transgressing students in a campaign to eradicate gambling among students. The transgressors were rounded up and taken to the school disciplinarian who assessed a severe demerit for each student and informed the parents. (Once afoul  of the law or other authorities, the offender and his family are stigmatized for life.) (…)

(Ann. of the editor: Stan Shih must have finished high school around 1962. It is not clear how he spent his time during the years 1963 – 1967. He probably prepared to pass the exams for entering a “good” university. Depending on the marks, the students could choose what university they wanted to go to.)

1967 (…) The first time Stan took the examination, he made it into Chen Kung University`s mathematics department. (…)


Student Years at the National Chiao Tung University (Chiao-Ta) 1968 – 1970

“In 1968, Stan passed the examination for Chiao-Ta`s Electronic Engineering Research Institute. (…) His plan at that time was to pursue an academic career. (…) Stan made arrangements for deferred registration at the Chiao-Ta and then began his military service. Wit his background in electronics, he easily passed the examination to become a training officer and was assigned to the Phoenix Mountain Army Officer`s School in Southern Taiwan as an assistant instructor in physics. After the obligatory thirteen months of service, Stan returned to Chiao-Ta to begin graduate studies.”

1969, “In his second year at the institute, Stan attended a conference on “Modern Engineering” where he was exposed to many new ideas about industrial management.”  This must have widened his view to see all aspects of an electronic product like branding, production, marketing, service or sales.

At college, most of the ambitious student went to the US in order to return with the best possible qualification for becoming chairmen or presidents of major local (public or privately owned) enterprises. But Stan Shih was obviously more interested in practical business rather than research and development.

In those years Stan Shih changed his character. With his clear visions he suddenly had an approach to other people. From an “nerd” he emerged to a successful organiser.

Like many Chinese, Stan Shih liked to play ping-pong. At Chiao-Ta he became the captain of the official school team: “As captain, he had administrative duties which he enthusiastically performed, including a (2 month!) student competition. (…) Stan was also captain of the volleyball team, and president of the camera, chess and bridge clubs. (…) The shy introverted bumkin he become an engaging and forceful student leader.” Chen cites Stan Shih: ”In organising the ping-pong competition, I became to know and I became friends with all the other students. I learned how to organise and serve. It was a great help to me in later days in business.”

This change in Stan Shih`s character must have happened with a very short period: ” In the summer of his first year at Chiao Ta (1970), Stan invited all college and university students from Lukang for a dance party at the house his mother built for him. The house became a center for chess, bridge and dancing lessons and so on, a sort of Lukang student union building.”

This surely caused some concern to his mother, “who would often ride her bicycle from her store to check on what was going on with her now seemingly hyperactive son.”

Stan was a very promising young student, so his professors (as well as his mother) urged him to go to the USA. But getting in contact with modern industrial management ” made him begin to believe that a career could be successfully developed in industry as well as in academia. “ In 1970 Stan must have had developed clear visions about his career: to bridge the gap between engineering and management. In 1971, at Unitron, Stan brought his visions to life: “Maybe because it was because I was thinking about the final product while I was in the research and development stage. (…) I also tried to form an image of how the final product would look and what it’s markets would be. (…) I would package my circuit and take it to a local acrylic sign maker and have him making a casting for it. I was then able to present a finished product to my boss for his appraisal, and he could access it with an eye on how it would sell. I would also include a product cost analysis in my report, so I could also offer my opinion on weather my product was commercially feasible or not.”

In Chinese society the individual is more embedded into the surrounding than in western societies. It was an act of rebellion especially towards his hard working mother not to go for further studies abroad.

Chen indicates another motive in his book, which may also have played a role. “But thoughts of leaving his mother alone were a powerful dissuasive factor.”

Chiao Tung University Chinese:

Chiao Tung University English:


Yeh Chi Hua / Carolyn Yeh

1968 Carolyn was introduced to Stan Shih by a classmate. “ One day, during Stan`s junior year , his classmate was writing a letter to his girlfriend at the Fu-Jen University (Carolyn`s classmate) and Stan, noticing what he was doing, suggested a note at the end of the letter asking for help in finding a girlfriend for him.”

Carolyn tells: “In my sophomore year, my best friend and classmate told me one day that she wanted to introduce a boy to me. But she said: This boy does not know anything; in fact, he is less sophisticated than the least sophisticated boy in our school. (Ann. of the editor: today we would use the word “nerd”.) I thought to myself, if he is so out of it, why is she introducing him to me? Whereupon, as if reading my thoughts, she said, >But he is smart! And he is very well-behaved and dependable.< I thought to myself, well, why not? There is nothing to lose. I`ll have a look on him”

Stan Shih tells. “I was so taken by her that I began to write to her every day. (…) In the beginning I must say, she wasn`t very enthusiastic.” Stan kept on writing letters and waited for a reply. “Sometimes her classmate would try to shame her into writing, and if that didn`t work, sit her down and force her to write return letters to Stan.” Also Carolyn`s mother seemed to work towards this relationship “sometimes inviting Stan in for dinner”, while he was in Taipei jobbing in summer vacation.

1969, only one year later, Carolyn and Stan opened their engagement plans to their families. Carolyn recalls: “ Our family family was relatively well-off; Stan`s family had only his mother. My father was concerned that Stan was marrying me for the money and that my future Mother-in-Law would make life difficult for me. (…) Fortunately, Carolyn`s mother was for the marriage and pushed things through. Still, Yeh Hsin sent an emissary to Lukang to check up on the Shih family`s situation, and upon receiving a satisfactory report, finally agreed to the engagement. In accord with a certain “secret engagement” custom of the time, the engagement was not celebrated with an announcement and reception. Only the parents were present at a small ceremony where rings were exchanged.“

After 13 months of military service, and “about four months after graduating from the Research Institute, Stan and Carolyn were married on Teacher`s Day, September 28, 1971 (…).”


Unitron 1971 – 1972

Unitron was established 1969 by the “father of Taiwanese semiconductor industry” Prof. Shih Ming and the young engineer Andrew Chiu. Chen describes Unitron as “Taiwan`s first semiconductor company (and first high-tech enterprise).” The main investor was the family Lin, so the eldest son Mr. Lin Pei Yuan became president of Unitron. “When Stan started at Unitron, he was assigned to the R&D division together with his fellow Ciao-Ta graduate Lin Chia Ho (Fred Lin)” (without any bounds to the investor).

Chen: “Stan developed Taiwan`s first desktop calculator at Unitron and it came to market on April 26, 1971 (1972?) (…) Although the desktop calculator was not a commercial success, in Taiwan`s technological history, it must be considered as a milestone as one of the first truly technically commercial products, produced entirely by a Taiwan company. (…) He was doing such a great job that Unitron`s principal investor, the Lin family, began thinking about closing Unitron down and having Stan start up a new company, named Qualitron, to concentrate on manufacturing calculators.(…) He had been at Unitron for exactly 14 months.”


Qualitron 1972 -1976

Stan Shih recalls in his book “Me too is not my Style” : “I had been at Unitron for about a year and three months when Vincent Lin, the third son of the Lin family, invested in another company called Qualitron and invited me to join the start up company. Qualitron was positioned as a professional manufacturer specializing in calculator manufacturing, with its own brand name and OEM business. With its own brand name, technology and stable profit, it was one of the most popular companies at that time. (…) As president of the company, Vincent Lin was responsible for marketing andindustrial design; while as the vice president, I was responsible for R&D, manufacturing, business development and purchasing. (…) During the second half of 1976, as Qualitron’s financial problem became irremediable, George Huang, Fred Lin, and I, who were in the R&D department, had to leave the company. Together, we hastily founded Multitech with the initial target being the new microprocessor market. ”


Stan Shih goes on (tells the story of his career)

stan shih 2012 02

(retreived 14.09.2013 at


To be continued…

“Made in Taiwan – The Story of Acer Computers” by Robert H. Chen, Linking Publishing Co., Taiwan, 1996 ISBN 957-8496-24-9 if not marked differently.



Stan Shih about Stan Shih

(…) He also said that at the APEC conference, someone mentioned he had a strange accent. In fact it was an accent of Lu-kang (…).

Changhua County Government, 06.11.2007, in the web or here.



Sharing is one form of happiness. When you obtain interesting information, you naturally share it with others. This kind of thinking has brought me certain advantages. It’s a little like religion – like believing that Jesus gives you eternal life. I for one believe that helping others is the best way to help yourself. Although the connection is indirect, it’s sustainable. That’s my winning strategy,

By Yu-chi Su, from CommonWealth Magazine Published: July 03, 2008 – Get the whole interview in the web or here.


About his Family

(…) My mother taught me how to treat my wife and children well. My mother-in-law taught my wife how to be a good daughter to my mother and a good mother to my family. Whenever my wife visited her own mother, my mother-in-law would ask her to go back home at around nine o’clock at night to stay with my mother. They were considerate. And this was of great help to my marriage. (…)

(My wife) is of great help indeed. First, she took care of my mother and my children so that I could concentrate on my business without looking behind. Second, she also took up a great deal of responsibilities in the development of my company. She was also a part of the management team. I felt secure concerning the items given to her responsibility. Third, sometimes, when encountering width difficulties, she would go forth to play the role of the “bad guys” and allowed me the comfort of being the “nice guys”. Many difficult problems were solved through such means.

Well, I don’t consider myself to be romantic. I don’t have sweet words for her. But I give her security and comfort through my actions. (…) In fact, up to now, I had never bought flowers to my wife.

I allow my children to grow and develop naturally without any pressure. However, in the past, I did have some expectations for myself to achieve in order to help win respect for my mother.

Interview from 2002 by Ow Ying-Chuan / ReadersDigest in the web or here.



When globalizing, you always have limited resources of talent and capital. The best way to globalize is therefore to localize, to integrate the local resources of talent and capital and integrate it with the parent company. We think in terms of “global brand, local touch,” and try to for a group that leverages the size of the parent company but still draws on the experience of the local partners.   You must have a common vision and a goal, but implementation must be based upon the local leaders’ management style.

In the past, control is controlled by who owns 51% of the company.  It makes much more sense to control a company by managing the common interest of the people inside of it. This kind of approach, however, takes longer to establish because you have to establish a consensus, which requires a lot of communication and mutual trust.  And then we can share the common vision and common goal and reach strategies that serve the mutual benefit.

Leadership is the process of achieving a dream together, especially when that dream seems impossible to achieve.  Leaders have to be open minded, and have to accept the ideas of others, even when they might lead to mistakes.  The best training for leadership is to learn from your mistakes. This means that leaders never argue and they never try to shift blame onto others.  When something goes wrong a leader always asks “what’s wrong with me,” not “what’s wrong with them.”

We have a saying in Taiwan: “it’s better to be the head of a chicken rather than the tail of a cow.” What this means is that most entrepreneurs would prefer to run their own small businesses than work for a big company. The key to recruiting such entrepreneurs is a management philosophy that respects independence,coupled with employee ownership of the company. In a truly effective company, every employee should be a shareholder in a big way.

Abstract from an interview by Geoffrey James on July 2009 at Get the whole interview in the web or here.


It’s important to at least break through many of the conventional approaches. I’m not sure my way is better. I will say it’s a new alternative, at least. I think my personal contribution over the last 25 years has really been to give a lot of young entrepreneurs a lot of hope: Acer can, they can. Stan can, they can.

Read the full interview with the SanFranciscoChronicle by Carrie Kirby 2002 in the web or get it here.


Success and Fate

(…) “Having to take up the challenge when the going gets tough seems to be decreed by fate. It’s not that fate has it in for me in particular, but rather that everybody’s turn comes sooner or later. It’s important to recognize this, otherwise you’ll always blame everyone but yourself. You have to save for a rainy day and be prepared for future challenges, but unforeseeable things will always happen, and when they do you just have to face them.” Shih jests that he will naturally shoulder whatever responsibility comes his way, but he will also let others share responsibility because “it makes me feel better when everyone’s in the same boat.” (…)

Read the full interview from November 2004 by Teng Sue-feng in the web or here.



• “Global Branding Building Strategies” – 2005, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese).

• “Millennium Transformation” – 2004, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese), by Acer Foundation (in English)

• “Growing Global” – 2000, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in Chinese), by John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd (in English).

• “Fresh The Perspective” – 1998, published by Linking Publishing House (in Chinese).

• “Me-Too Is Not My Style”: 1996, published by Commonwealth Publishing Group (in traditional Chinese), by CITIC Publishing House (in simplified Chinese), by Acer Foundation (in English), (in Japanese, and re-entitled Re-Engineering Acer) Download the full text in the web or here.



id SoftCapital

Stan Shih offers “expertise in asset and fund management, and consulting services” with  iD SoftCapital

See a pdf about Stan Shih`s visions in the web or here.


iD TechVentures Inc.

“iD TechVentures Inc., formerly known as Acer Technology Ventures, is a leading early stage tech venture investor in Greater China.”



His website (Chinese version only) (and the English Google version).



Written by NoToes

19/06/2010 at 08:25

Posted in All Articles, China, Intercultural Economy

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Hope in Different Cultures

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Hope in Chinese Language


Traditional: 希望
Simplified: 希望

First Character: 希 (xī) – rare; infrequent
Second Character: 望 (wàng) – hope; expect; to visit; to gaze (into the distance); look towards; towards

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


The Tao Te King


Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don’t see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Chinese Symbol for Hope (“we always have hope to face fate”)

The Chinese characters have developed long time ago and haven’t undergone many changes in the course of time. The hope symbol in Chinese culture has a mysterious appearance and is painted with the help of a brush. Traditionally, the hope symbol is drawn on a white rice paper. The paper is decorated with a floral silk pattern that is blue in color. The Chinese art of drawing such symbols is known as calligraphy. The hope symbol is also used as a wall hanging artwork. Bamboo could be used to frame this artwork.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at – sorry, broken link)


In Chinese language, fear and hope refers to 恐惧和希望(kǒnɡjù hé xī wànɡ). Symbols for fear are ghosts, diseases, death, and so on. All these things make people feel hopeless in life, so they try their best to avoid them. Symbols for hope are spring, the color green, the rising sun, and sunflowers. People think green means life is vigorous. The rising sun and sunflowers means life is coming again.

If you have any other questions related to Chinese language, please feel free to contact me at I would be glad to help.-Jennifer

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Hope in Western Culture

The Bible

Röm 15,13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at – please make sure, you get the English version)

Hope is termed a theological virtue because its immediate object is God, as is true of the other two essentially infused virtues, faith and charity. St. Thomas acutely says that the theological virtues are so called “because they have God for their object, both in so far as by them we are properly directed to Him, and because they are infused into our souls by God alone, as also, finally, because we come to know of them only by Divine revelation in the Sacred Scriptures”. Catholic Encyclopedia

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at


Greek Mythology – Pandora

The theory of Hesiod,[8] the oldest of all the Greek poets, was that the Titan Prometheus, the son of Iapetus, had formed man out of clay, and that Athene had breathed a soul into him. Full of love for the beings he had called into existence, Prometheus determined to elevate their minds and improve their condition in every way; he therefore taught them astronomy, mathematics, the alphabet, how to cure diseases, and the art of divination. He created this race in such great numbers that the gods began to see the necessity of instituting certain fixed laws with regard to the sacrifices due to them, and the worship to which they considered themselves entitled from mankind in return for the protection which they accorded them. An assembly was therefore convened at Mecone in order to settle these points. It was decided that Prometheus, as the advocate of man, should slay an ox, which should be divided into two equal parts, and that the gods should select one portion which should henceforth, in all future sacrifices, be set apart for them. Prometheus so divided the ox that one part consisted of the bones (which formed of course the least valuable portion of the animal), artfully concealed by the white fat; whilst the other contained all the edible parts, which he covered with the skin, and on the top of all he laid the stomach.

Zeus, pretending to be deceived, chose the heap of bones, but he saw through the stratagem, and was so angry at the deception practised on him by Prometheus that he avenged himself by refusing to mortals the gift of fire. [25]Prometheus, however, resolved to brave the anger of the great ruler of Olympus, and to obtain from heaven the vital spark so necessary for the further progress and comfort of the human race. He accordingly contrived to steal some sparks from the chariot of the sun, which he conveyed to earth hidden in a hollow tube. Furious at being again outwitted, Zeus determined to be revenged first on mankind, and then on Prometheus. To punish the former he commanded Hephæstus (Vulcan) to mould a beautiful woman out of clay, and determined that through her instrumentality trouble and misery should be brought into the world.

The gods were so charmed with the graceful and artistic creation of Hephæstus, that they all determined to endow her with some special gift. Hermes (Mercury) bestowed on her a smooth persuasive tongue, Aphrodite gave her beauty and the art of pleasing; the Graces made her fascinating, and Athene (Minerva) gifted her with the possession of feminine accomplishments. She was called Pandora, which means all-gifted, having received every attribute necessary to make her charming and irresistible. Thus beautifully formed and endowed, this exquisite creature, attired by the Graces, and crowned with flowers by the Seasons, was conducted to the house of Epimetheus[9] by Hermes the messenger of the gods. Now Epimetheus had been warned by his brother not to accept any gift whatever from the gods; but he was so fascinated by the beautiful being who suddenly appeared before him, that he welcomed her to his home, and made her his wife. It was not long, however, before he had cause to regret his weakness.

He had in his possession a jar of rare workmanship, containing all the blessings reserved by the gods for mankind, which he had been expressly forbidden to open. But woman’s proverbial curiosity could not withstand so great a temptation, and Pandora determined to solve the mystery at any cost. Watching her opportunity she raised the lid, and immediately all the blessings which [26]the gods had thus reserved for mankind took wing and flew away. But all was not lost. Just as Hope (which lay at the bottom) was about to escape, Pandora hastily closed the lid of the jar, and thus preserved to man that never-failing solace which helps him to bear with courage the many ills which assail him.[10]

Having punished mankind, Zeus determined to execute vengeance on Prometheus. He accordingly chained him to a rock in Mount Caucasus, and sent an eagle every day to gnaw away his liver, which grew again every night ready for fresh torments. For thirty years Prometheus endured this fearful punishment; but at length Zeus relented, and permitted his son Heracles (Hercules) to kill the eagle, and the sufferer was released.

Read the whole “Myths and Legends of Ancient Greece and Rome” from E.M. Berens online at the Gutemberg Project or download the pdf here.

(retrieved 29.05.2010 at



Those of us raised in Western culture were never taught that fear is the price of hope. Rather, we can’t envision life without hope. Hell, according to Dante, is the place devoid of hope; he warned Christians condemned there to “abandon all hope, ye who enter herein.” The Hebrew prophets warned that without vision, the people perish.
Hope is what propels us into action. We’ve been taught to dream of a better world as the necessary first step in creating one. We create a clear vision for the future we want, then we set a strategy, make a plan, and get to work. We focus strategically on doing only those things that have a high probability of success.
As long as we “keep hope alive” and work hard, our endeavors will create the world we want. How could we do our work if we had no hope that we’d succeed?
Motivated by hope, but then confronted by failure, we become depressed and demoralized. Life becomes meaningless; we despair of changing things for the better. At such a time, we learn the price of hope. Rather than inspiring and motivating us, hope has become a burden made heavy by its companion, fear of failing.

Margaret Wheatley

(retrieved 29.05.2012 at – sorry, broken link)


(reviewed 20.02.2014)

Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Learning Chinese Language

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Funny video about how hard it is to learn Chinese language

Sheldon learning Chinese on Youtube.

“You just called Leonard a syphilitic donkey.”


Or enjoy Sheldon speaking Chinese.


Revised 01.04.2012

Hofstede`s Cultural Dimensions – Comparing by Cultural Parameters

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Gerard (Geert) Hendrik Hofstede (born 3.10.1928) defined a model of 6 cultural dimensions/indices to compare different cultures

Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. (…)

Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. (…)

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. (…)

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. (…)

Later added: Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation.(…) and the Indulgence or Restraint Index (IRI).

 USA vs. China by Cultural Dimensions (click on the pic to compare other countries)

Hofstede USA vs China

(received 27.03.2013 at

See his website at: or check the website of The Hofstede Centre at

For a short & handy ppt click here.

Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here.

For practical applications of Hofstede`s model see this page.

For Hofstede`s theories and their application on genetics click here.


Hofstede’s Country Classification 25 Years later

Abstract: Nearly 3 decades have been passed since Hofstede (1980) collected the data used to classify countries by their underlying work-related structures. The present study, in which recent data from 9 countries and 4 continents was collected, is a re-examination of his country classifications. The results suggest that many shifts have occurred since Hofstede’s study in 1980. These shifts are related to some of the major environmental changes that have occurred.


Discussion: Overall, the findings of the present study suggests that there have been significant shifts in value classifications in some countries since Hofstede conducted his original study. Many of the countries examined in the present study showed a shift in ranking when compared with Hofstede’s original data. This finding underscores the fact that, although a nation’s work-related values are deep-seated preferences for certain end states. they are subject to change over the years as external environmental changes shape a society. Managers and scientists should use caution before attempting to use work-related values to understand human behaviour in organisations. At the least, managers should make an effort to determine the values currently prevailing and not rely on classifications or labels placed on cultures by researchers.

D. R. Fernandez, D.S. Carlson, L.P. Stepina, J.D. Nicholson at The Journal of Social Psychology, 1997, 43-54

Download the full article as pdf here.


Geert Hofstede interview January 2013 (introducing the IRI – Indulgence or Restraint Index)



(Retrieved at 06.06.2011 at


About the practical application of Hofstede’s theories read this post:


(revised 16.07.2013)

Written by NoToes

09/01/2010 at 12:21

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Communication, Communication in Different Cultures, Comparing Cultures, Cultural Dimensions, Emotions in Different Cultures, Hofstede, Intercultural Economy, Intercultural Management, Surveys, Time in Different Cultures, Tools / Software, Uncertainty Avoidance

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Practical Applications of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

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Organizational Culture as a Root of Performance Improvement


(Organizational Culture as a Root of Performance Improvement:Research and Recommendations; R.C. Rose, Naresh Kumar, Haslinda Abdullah; Universiti Putra Malaysia – download pdf here).

Map of Corporate Cultures

Nation Branding in Pop-Culture

Sources: (retrieved 22.11.2012)


Somewhere in western Europe a middle-sized textile printing company struggled for survival…

Cloth, usually imported from Asian countries, was printed in multicolored patterns according to the desires of customers, firms producing fashion clothing for the local market. The company was run by a general manager to whom three functional managers reported: one for design and sales, one for manufacturing, and one for finance and personnel. The total work force numbered about 250.

The working climate in the firm was often disturbed by conflicts between the sales and manufacturing managers.

The manufacturing manager had an interest, as manufacturing managers have the world over, in smooth production and in minimizing product changes. He preferred grouping customer orders into large batches. Changing color and/or design implied cleaning the machines which took productive time away and also wasted costly dyestuffs. The worst was changing from a dark color set to a light one, because every bit of dark-colored dye left would show on the cloth and spoil the product quality. Therefore the manufacturing planners tried to start on a clean machine with the lightest shades and gradually move towards darker ones, postponing the need for an overall cleaning round as long as possible.

The design and sales manager tried to satisfy his customers in a highly competitive market. These customers, fashion clothing firms, were notorious for short-term planning changes. As their supplier, the printing company often received requests for rush orders. Even when these orders were small and unlikely to be profitable the sales manager hated to say ‘no’. The customer might go to a competitor and then the printing firm would miss that big order which the sales manager was sure would come afterwards. The rush orders, however, usually upset the manufacturing manager’s schedules and forced him to print short runs of dark color sets on a beautifully clean machine, thus forcing the production operators to start cleaning allover again.

There were frequent hassles between the two managers over whether a certain rush order should or should not be taken into production. The conflict was not limited to the department heads; production personnel publicly expressed doubts about the competence of the sales people and vice versa. In the cafeteria, production and sales people would not sit together , although they had known each other for years.


Different cultures choose different approaches for the dilemma about

(1) the diagnosis of the problem and

(2) the suggested solution

These two dimensions, Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance, affect our thinking about organisations. In addition to the affected business areas listed in the tables below, taking these two dimensions together reveals differences in the implicit model people from different cultures may have about organisational structure and functioning. Organising demands answers to two important questions:

(1) Who has the power to decide what?

(2) What rules or procedures will be followed to attain the desired ends?

The answer to the first question is influence d by indigenous cultural norms of power distance; the answer to the second question by the cultural norms about uncertainty avoidance. Taken together these two dimensions reveal a remarkable contrast in a society’s acceptance and conception of an organisation and the mechanisms that are employed in controlling and co-ordinating activities within it (Hofstede, 1991).

Same researchers have tried to measure the link between the ‘implicit’ models of organisation and objectively assessable characteristics of organisational structure. Inthe 1970s, Owen James Stevens, an American professor at INSEAD business school in France, presented his students with a case study exam which dealt with a conflict between two department heads within a company (Hofstede, 1991). His students consisted primarily of French, German and British students. Inthe graph below their countries are located in the lower right, lower left and upper left quadrants respectively. Stevens bad noticed a difference in the way 200 students of different nationalities bad handled the case in previous exams. The students bad been required individually to come up with both their diagnosis of the problem and their suggested solution. Stevens sorted these exams by the nationality of the author and then compared the answers. The results were striking.

The majority of French diagnosed the case as negligence by the general manager to whom the two depart­ment heads reported. The solution they preferred was for the opponents in the conflict to take the issue to their common boss, who would issue orders for settling such dilemmas in the future. Stevens interpreted the implicit organisation model of the French as a ‘pyramid of people’: the general manager at the top of the pyramid, and each successive level at its proper place below.

The majority of the Germans diagnosed the case as a lack of structure. They tended to think that the competence of the two conflict­ing department heads bad not been clearly specified. The solution they preferred was to establish specific procedures, which could include calling in a consultant, nominating a task force, or asking the common boss. According to Stevens, the Germans saw the organisation as a ‘well-oiled machine’ in which intervention by management should be limited because the rules should settle day-to-day problems.

The majority of the British diagnosed the case as a human relationship problem. They saw the two department heads as poor negotiators who would benefit from attending, preferably together, a management course to improve their skills. Stevens thought their implicit model of a ‘village market‘ led them to look at the problem in terms of the demands of the situation determining what will happen, rather than hierarchy or rules.



A society’’s position on these two dimensions does seem to influence the implicit model of the organisation in that society, and the kinds of co-ordination mechanisms that people in that culture would tend to rely upon.

Employees in high power distance and low uncertainty avoidance countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Indonesia tend to think of their organisations as traditional families. The patriarch, or head of the family, is expected to protect family members physically and econo­mically in exchange for unwavering loyalty from its members. The most likely co-ordination and control mechanism for the family is a standardisation of work processes by specifying the contents of work – who does the chores.

Employees in countries such as France, Brazil, Portugal and Mexico that are high on both dimensions tend to view organisations as pyramids of people rather than as families. Everyone knows who reports to whom, and formal and activating lines of communication run vertically through the organisation. Management reduces uncertainty and provides co-ordination and control by emphasising who has authority over whom and in what war this authority can be exercised.

Where high uncertainty avoidance and low power distance are combined, in such countries as Israel, Austria, Germany and Switzerland, organisations are perceived as well-oiled machines; they are highly predictable without the imposition of a strong hierarchy. Uncertainty is reduced by clearly defining Tales and procedures. Co-ordination and control are achieved primarily through standardisation and certification of skills, specifying the training required to perform the work.

In cultures where there is low uncertainty avoidance and low power distance, the relevant organisational model is a ‘village market’. Countries such as Denmark, Ireland, Norway, the UK and the USA are representative of this model. People will feel less comfortable with strict and formal rules or with what would be perceived as unnecessary layers of hierarchy. Control and co-ordination tends to take place through mutual adjustment of people through informal communication, and by specifying the desired results.

Download an introduction to Hofstede’s theories here or online at – retrieved 24.11.2012


More Applications of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Intercultural Management

Having or Making – The Transformation of Danish Culture and Chinese Culture in Sino-Danish Business Settings in China by Xiaomin Li  Click here to download the PPT or get it in the internet:

AM+A used Hofstede’s system for an analysis of website design in different cultures/countries. Get the .pdf here or visit the website

Xiang-Hua Lu of the School of Management, Fudan University (China) and Michael S. H. Heng of the National University of Singapore did a great work on applying Hofstede`s theory on the Chinese/Asian approach to IS (Information Systems: all systems related to the information exchange by computers). Get the .pdf here.

C. Becker and S. Palmer compared Mexican and German approaches to decision making and found out, that often “the type of business indicates more how decisions are made rather than the impact of national culture.”  Download the essay as pfd here or online from provides more quality stuff about Hofstede:

International business negotiation in the South and North China online or download as pdf here.

(retrieved 27.01.2013 at


Sexual Harassment

Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to explain sexually harassing behaviours in an international context

Vipan K. Luthar and Harsh K. Luthar, Using Hofstede’s cultural dimensions to explain sexually harassing behaviours in an international context, Int. J. of Human Resource Management 13:2 March 2002 268–284 or download pdf here or online at – retrieved 24.11.2012


Nation Branding in Pop-Culture

Pavinee Potipan and Nantaphorn Worrawutteerakul from the Malerdalen University in Sweden wrote their master thesis about the financial and cultural background of modern Thai, Korean and Japanese culture. Using Hofstede’s Cultural Onion they examined Asian pop cultures. It describes how Korean pop culture “Hallyu” has an immense success by serving all layers of the onion. Download the full pdf here or download here (retrieved 24.12.2012)


See more about the importance of Nation Branding at Simon Anholt`s website or the GFK Custom Research North America


reviewed 27.01.2013

Written by NoToes

08/01/2010 at 21:49

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Communication, Comparing Cultures, Cultural Dimensions, Germany, Hofstede, Intercultural Economy, Intercultural Management, Sexuality, Surveys, Uncertainty Avoidance

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Genetics, Cultures and Happiness

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Genetics, Cultures and Happiness / 5-HTTLPR

Joan Chiao and Katherine Blisinsky took a research on the worldwide spreading of the 5-HTTLPR – gene, which is identified as responsible for the mood (anxiety and mood disorder) of it`s carrier by transporting serotonin. It was published from the Royal Society Publishing.

Using Hofstede`s model of cultural indices/dimensions to define cultures into individualistic and collectivistic, they crossed these data with the spreading of 5-HTTLPR.

(…) Here, we demonstrate for the first time a robust association between cultural values of individualism–collectivism and allelic frequency of the serotonin transporter gene, controlling for associated economic and disease factors. (…) Critically, our results further indicate that greater population frequency of S allele carriers is associated with decreased prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders due to increased cultural collectivism. (…)


Results from correlation analysis between Hofstede’s individualism–collectivism index (reverse scored) and frequency of S allele carriers of the 5-HTTLPR across 29 nations. Collectivist nations showed higher prevalence of S allele carriers (r(29) = 0.70, p < 0.0001).

Geographical coincidence between serotonin transporter gene diversity and cultural traits of individualism–collectivism across countries. Colour maps include all available published data for each variable of interest. Grey areas indicate geographical regions where no published data are available. (a ) Hofstede Colour map of frequency distribution of IND-COL from Hofstede (2001). (b) 5-HTTLPR Colour map of frequency distribution of S alleles of 5-HTTLPR. (c) anxiety Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of anxiety. (d) mood disorders Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of mood disorders. Yellow to red colour bar indicates low to high prevalence.

Get the full article online here or download pdf here. It is packed with additional downloads.

(Chiao, J.Y. & Blizinsky, K.D. 2009 Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene. Proc. R. Soc. B (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1650)

(retrieved 20.05.2015 at

Hofstede`s Intercultural Tool is found here.


Background Info: World`s Haplogroups

This Map of Haplogroups (J.D. McDonald) shows the distribution of certain genetic characteristics. It is widely used for genealogical research because certain cell structures are inherited matrilinear or patrilinear. Click here to download from the the University of Illinois/School of Chemical Sciences. You can also download the full pdf here.


(retrieved 20.05.2015 at


Additional Material

Happiness and Income

10life_satisfaction happiness


From R.Inglehart and H-D.Klingemann, “Genes, Culture and Happiness,” MIT Press, 2000.Check out for more at


Read a different view on the categories “Cultures and Genes” and “Culture influences Brain” or view the World’s Map of Happiness.


(reviewed 21.05.2015)