Dealing with Japanese-Dutch cultural differences

  • Dieko Boekel

Student thesis: Master's Thesis: Humanistic Studies


Cultural differences are a growing concern for companies that do international business and the ability to deal with them is becoming more important for employees. In this case study, I researched Japanese-Dutch cultural differences in one company and looked at which cultural differences there are, which problems they caused and how employees dealt with them. Then I compared the results with the literature about cultural differences and examined how the literature could help predict, understand and deal with the cultural differences in the company. My case study shows the importance of looking critically at models and theories that are often used for research on cultural differences, such as Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Edward Hall’s model of high and low-context communication. My conclusion is that case studies are more helpful to predict and understand cultural differences in practice than these models, because culture is too dynamic to capture in models that try to reduce its complexity to fit it in their models. Instead of categorizing cultural differences, it is better to focus on developing a framework and consistent methods for researching them in practice. Alexander Thomas’ model of cultural standards is a promising starting point for this.
Date of Award1 Jan 2014
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorA. J. J. A. Maas (Supervisor) & F. Suárez Müller (Supervisor)

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