Reaction to “Developing alternative frameworks for exploring intercultural learning”

The article “Developing alternative frameworks for exploring intercultural learning: a critique of Hofstede’s cultural difference model” by Paola Signorini, Rolf Wiesemes and Roger Murphy, seeks to expose the flows in the cultural difference educational model as presented by Hofstede’s. The authors further propose new cultural dimensions that can be put into consideration when exploring the concept cultural effect on education. The article discusses the five cultural dimensions presented by Hofstede with the view to critic them. These five these dimensions are power distance, masculinity, individualism, uncertainty avoidance and short term/ long term orientation.

This article discusses flaws in each of these cultural dimensions. According to the authors, Hoftede urges that countries with small power distance exhibit interpersonal interactions that are independent of people’s social status. The level of interaction in large power distance countries is shaped by people’s social standing. This leads to an informal teacher student relationship and consequently freedom and student centered learning in SPD nations while the teacher is seen as the undisputable source of information in LPD nations (Signorini, Wiesemes & Murphy 2009).

The second dimension that the article discusses is the individualist-collectivists dimension. The authors argue that this dimension categorizes society into two: collectivist nations and group nation. According to the article, teachers in collectivist nations handle students as a group. The students work together as a group. Individualistic community, on the other hand views success as the effort of an individual.

Muscular feminist society dimension urges that muscular dominated nations are more assertive and competitive as compared to their feminist counterparts.

The article further depicts uncertain avoidance as a measure of level of threat towards uncertain situations.

The main problem that this article addresses is the flaws and the short comings of the cultural difference model proposed by Hofstede. According to the authors, the ideas presented by Hofstede are not entirely true and may not be relevant in the contemporary cultures and education settings.  The article addresses several limitations of Hofstede’s model. To begin with, the empirical data that Hofstede presents are not from the education sector and cannot therefore be used to draw conclusions in the education sector. Secondly, Hofstede has oversimplified the cultural differences in making his argument. Thirdly, there seems to be no consistency in the categories he presents. This, according to the article, makes his argument baseless. The article therefore seeks to expose these limitations and propose a better model (Signorini, Wiesemes & Murphy 2009).

Read also Culture Analysis Using Geert Hofstede’s 6 Dimensions – USA, Mexico, China, Israel And UAE

The major arguments that this article is presenting is the fact that there is a problem in holistic adoption of Hofstede’s model since it has several flaws. The author argues that Hofstede assumes that culture and nation are the same yet they are different. The author further argues that Hofstede’s model does not take into account the ever changing nature of culture and hence has run irrelevant in this current world. He further urges that the model does not specify the level of education.

The author has made a number of assumptions while making his argument. While disregarding the muscularity and femininity element, for instance, the author assumes that the nature and of both male and female changes with change in age and level of education. It is worth noting that the feminist and masculinity nature remains with both the female and the male throughout all the levels of life. Moreover, in their conclusion the authors disregard equating nation to culture. By doing so they make the assumption that nations don’t have specific cultures. The truth is that every nation has a culture and a way of life that is associated to it.

The strength of this article lies in the fact that the authors have strongly defended his argument. They have been successful in showing the flaws in Hofstede’s model step by step rather than just generalizing the argument. He breaks down Hofstede’s model into the five elements and exposes the specific flaws in each of the elements. The article further makes specific recommendation that should be put into consideration when reviewing the Hoftede’s model of teaching. By doing so, the authors have not only criticized Hofstede’s model but have given a way forward as well.

The article is however, not without weakness. The major weakness of this article is the fact that the authors do not give empirical and statistical data to authenticate their argument. Their point of view is based on statistical data presented by the very article that they purport to critic. This denies the article originality and authenticity of arguments.        

The argument that I find most interesting in this article is the fact that, by disputing Hofstede’s cultural point of view, the article suggests the cultural layers notion. This notion suggests that an individual can have several and deferent set of values and cultures that are independent of each other and each depends on the cultures of the deferent groups to which the individual belongs. I find interesting that one individual would have several cultures and exhibit several sets of values. In conclusion, the article has presented ideas and arguments that are valid and should be put into consideration in the process of reviewing Hoftede’s cultural model of education.

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