Change in scores of Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions in Iraq by using Individual Level of Measures, a case study of Iraqi Kurds

Sardar Hassan


The mean purpose of this paper was to highlight some of the key features of Kurds cultural values in Iraq. This paper has been divided into too many parts. The first part culture and some of culture definitions were examined. In the field of cross cultural study Hofstede’s work on cultural dimensions has been regarded as a paradigm. Therefore, in the second part of this paper, Hofstede’s study, arguments in support and against his work has been discussed broadly. In the third part the author have looked at Iraq’s culture in Hofstede’s cultural dimensions study and what each index means. It was argued by many scholars that Hofsted’s typology can only work best when measurements are on national level which it looks at the whole nation as homogenous society. Therefore, it was regarded as not applicable at individual level.


In the light of this criticism a new framework was introduced by Dorfman & Howell (1988) later it was extended to five dimensions by Yoo, et al. (2011). In the fourth part CVSCALE framework as a self-administered quantitative survey questionnaire was discussed and explained why it can be a better alternative to Hofstede’s scale which measures culture at individual levels.  Based on the CVSCALE cultural orientation of Kurds in Iraq have been discovered and discussed.  Even though, still many scholars still refer to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the validity of measurements holds no guarantee after almost three decades. This paper suggests cultural values can change over time, thus culture is not static.


The sample of this study was based on 743 individuals from one of the biggest public university in Erbil the capital city of Kurdistan region but only 441 were valid to be used. The result of this sample seemed to be not in line with Hofsteded’s finding. Although there were some limitations with size and scope of sample, the finding demonstrates that Iraqi Kurds culture have some major differences compared with the original study done on Iraq by Hofstede, for example this research has indicated a decrease in PDI, MAS and moved from being short term to long term oriented culture compared to the original study.


Therefore, the author concludes that there is a shift in the result of these cultural dimensions and it needs to be re-investigated every so often. It is hoped that the new finding will benefits the literature in general and culture of nations in particular, also it would help international managers understand cultural values of people in this part of the world.

key words: Culture, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, Kurds, comparison, CVSCAL

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