Geert Hofstede (b. 1928) is a Dutch social psychologist known for his groundbreaking research in the areas of cross-cultural groups and organizations. Hofstede developed the cultural dimensions theory, which describes the effects that a society has on the values of its members.
Hofstede developed this theory while working for IBM in the 1960s and 1970s. Hofstede was born in Haarlem and graduated from Delft Technical University in 1953, and received his Ph.D. from Groningen University in The Netherlands in 1967. During his graduate work, he joined IBM, working as a management trainers and the manager of personnel research. Hofstede created the Personnel Research Department at IBM, where he introduced employee opinion surveys at IBM facilities worldwide. Taking a sabbatical from IBM in 1971, he was able to analyze the vast amounts of data he had collected, and while lecturing at IMEDE in Switzerland, discovered that his students, also from around the world, answered the IBM surveys similarly. This led him to conclude that his data was not specific to IBM, but to culture.
In 1980, Hofstede cofounded the IRIC, the Institute for Research on Intercultural Cooperation. Although not without criticism, his work has been translated into twenty-three languages, and he remains Europe’s most cited social scientist. In 2006, Maastricht University created the Geert Hofstede Chair in cultural diversity.