Cultural Profile: Fons Trompenaars

Matthew MacLachlan

14 Dec 2009

Name: Fons Trompenaars
Nationality: Dutch
Born: 1952 in the Netherlands

Known for:

  • Seven Dimensions of Culture
  • Universalism vs. Particularism
  • Individualism vs. Communitarianism
  • Specific vs. Diffuse
  • Affective vs. Neutral
  • Achievement vs. Ascription
  • Sequential vs. Synchronic
  • Internal vs. External Control

Key publications:

Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business (1993). New York: McGraw-Hill

The Seven Cultures of Capitalism (1993). London: Piatkus Books

Building Cross-Cultural Competence: How to Create Wealth from Conflicting Values (2000). London: Yale University Press

Managing People across Cultures (2004). Oxford: Capstone

Fons Trompenaars studied Economics at the Free University of Amsterdam and completed his Ph.D. at Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.  He grew up in a multicultural family of French and Dutch and later worked for Shell in nine different countries.

Trompenaars was a student of Geert Hofstede who had a strong influence on his research in the intercultural field.  After working closely with Hofstede’s five cultural dimensions, Trompenaars decided to expand them into seven slightly different dimensions of opposing concepts adding some elements of cultural difference which were not in the original model.

Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner, also heavily involved in the field of international business research and intercultural theory, have joined together to conduct further research in the field.

Trompenaars’ Seven Dimensions of Culture is a model often referred to indirectly in online cultural tools and cross-cultural training programmes such as Communicating Effectively across Cultures to help increase understanding of cultural relativity and cultural difference.

 



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