The consequences of "Culture's consequences": A Critical Approach to Culture as Collective Programming Applied to Cross-cultural Crews

Fabienne Knudsen, Lisa Loloma Froholdt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review



In this article, it is claimed that research on cross-cultural crews is dominated by one specific understanding of the concept of culture, which is static, evenly distributed and context-independent. Such a conception of culture may bring some basic order while facing an unknown culture, but it may also have unintentional outcomes. It may lead to a deterministic view of other cultures, thereby reinforcing prejudices and underestimating other forms of differences; it risks blinding the participants of the specific context of a given communicative situation. The article opens with a critical review of the theory of Geert Hofstede, the most renowned representative of this theoretical approach. The practical consequences of using such a concept of culture is then analysed by means of a critical review of an article applying Hofstede to cross-cultural crews in seafaring. Finally, alternative views on culture are presented. The aim of the article is, rather than to promote any specific theory, to reflect about diverse perspectives of cultural sense-making in cross-cultural encounters.

Udgivelsesdato: Oktober
Original languageEnglish
JournalWMU - Journal of Maritime Affairs
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)105-121
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1. Oct 2009


  • culture, Hofstede, seafaring, cross-cultural crews

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