Fashion Founded on a Flaw: The Ecological Mono-Deterministic Fallacy of Hofstede, GLOBE, and Followers

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Purpose – To comment on Brewer and Venaik’s review of the misapplication of the national culture dimensions of Hofstede and GLOBE at the individual and other sub-national levels. This paper
supports and extends their critique.
Design/methodology/approach – The implausibility of deterministic claims about the multi-level power of national culture is described and discussed by drawing on a wide range of disciplines
(including anthropology, geography, sociology, and historiography).
Findings – Descriptions of the characteristics and origins of sub-national level behaviour based on a priori depictions of national culture values are invalid and misleading.
Practical implications – There are important implications for practitioners. The paper highlights the unsoundness of descriptions of the sub-national (individuals, consumer segments, organization and so forth) which are derived from national-level depictions of culture and the dangers of ignoring the independent causal influence of non-national culture and non-cultural factors.
Originality/value – The ecological fallacy in the national culture literature is located within a wider and long-standing critique of that fallacy. The paper is the first to show that the fallacy in the national culture literature is often an extreme causal version. It not merely supposes cross-level equivalence, as
in the standard version, but more aggressively, it attributes deterministic power to national culture thus excluding other independent influences and agency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)483-504
JournalInternational Marketing Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Causality, cross level analysis, ecological fallacy, Hofstede, GLOBE

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