Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner developed the Trompenaars’ model of national culture differences from a corporate training- and consultancy background. The underlying research involved more than 8,000 professionals from 43 different countries. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner classified cultures on behavioral and value patterns. Their research focuses on the cultural dimensions of business managers and therefor share with Hofstede the critique that as their survey sample includes mostly managers who work for a multinational company, that this makes the results biased for that specific role. In their book “Riding The Waves of Culture” (1997), Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner identify seven value orientations. Some of these value orientations can be regarded as nearly identical to Hofstede’s dimensions. Others offer a somewhat different perspective.
It is evident from his work that Fons Trompenaars tried to make the model as applicable and useful as possible from a professional point of view. This model of national culture differences has seven dimensions, partly based on Hofstede work and on basic assumptions.
- Universalism vs. Particularism. This is about the question ‘What is more important, rules or relationships?’ This can be compared with doing or being cultures from Kluckhohn.
- Individualism vs. Communitarianism. Individualism refers to people regarding themselves as individuals, while communitarianism refers to people regarding themselves as part of a group. Can be compared with the individualism index of Hofstede.
- Neutral vs. Emotional. A neutral culture is a culture in which emotions are held in check whereas an emotional culture is a culture in which emotions are expressed openly and naturally.
- Specific vs. Diffuse. A specific culture is one in which individuals have a large public space they readily share with others and small private space guard closely and share with only close friends and associates. Can be compared with personal space of Hall.
- Achievement vs. Ascription. In an achievement culture, people are accorded status based on how well they perform their functions. In an ascription culture, status is based on who or what a person is. Does one have to prove himself to receive status or is it given to him?
- Sequential vs. Synchronic. This is about Human-Time relationship, a sequential time culture is the one in which the people like events to happen in a chronological order. In synchronic cultures, they see specific time periods as interwoven periods. Compared with polychronic and monochronic of Hall.
- Internal vs. External control. This is about Human-Nature relationship, do we control our environment or are we controlled by it? As compared with ‘dominate nature or live in harmony with nature?’ of Kluckhohn.
Trompenaars and Hampden- Turner’s communitarianism/individualism value orientation seems to be virtually identical to Hofstede’s Collectivism/Individualism and the achievement/ascription value orientation, has a link with Hofstede’s power distance index.
Their universalism/particularism value orientation, describing a preference for rules rather than trusting relationships, looks like Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimension.
Human-Time relationship is almost identical to Hall’s polychronic and monochronic time perceptions. The Human-Nature relationship appears to be closely related to the Human-Nature relationship in Strodbeck and Kluckhohn’s Value Orientations.