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VOLUME 3 (2001), ISSUE 5  (SUMMER)


TWO WONDERLANDS : Japan and The Netherlands through the looking-Glass




This article presents a comparison between Dutch and Japanese cultures notably in the managerial field. The complementary aspects of the two cultures do not mean that the Dutch should learn Japanese management nor that the Japanese should adopt the Dutch poldermodel. Both suggestions are equally naive. Actually, popular media want to make us believe that new communication technologies like the Internet and mobile telephones will unite people round the world in a "global village" where cultural differences will cease to matter. But the dominance of technology is an illusion. Electronic communication will not eliminate cultural differences, as little as faster and easier travel has reduced cutural rifts. The software of the machines may be globalized but the software of the minds that use the terminals is not .The need for intercultural learning and understanding will thus remain with us.


Japan - Dutch - The Netherlands - Management - Cultures


Geert HOFSTEDE is a researcher at the IRIC (Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation), Tilburg University, the Netherlands. 


This article is based on the author’s address to the conference "Mirroring Consensus: Japanese-Dutch Decision-Making in Business" on the occasion of 400 years Netherlands-Japan relations, Maastricht, 2 June 2000. 


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