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The Culture Factor Leiden

February 11 2016

The Netherlands

A great afternoon of discussion and reflection on cultural relativity and its consequences for global politics took place in February this year.
Our guide on this journey:  Prof. Dr. Geert Hofstede, the Dutch social psychologist well-known globally for his pioneering study of cultures across modern nations shared with us the wisdom of his forty years of personal experience and academic research, to illustrate the following message:
Cultural differences between nations include different unconscious values acquired in childhood.

In international politics, business, communication and cooperation, this cultural relativity of values is often overlooked or denied. Dominant players presume their country’s value systems and theories to be universal, sometimes with devastating results. So far, empirical research across the world has found no universally shared values. Human societies share basic problems to which over time they have developed different answers. Using research by Prof. Dr. Geert Hofstede and others, itim International has since 1985 devoted itself to helping clients deal with this cultural relativity.

Prof. Dr. Geert Hofstede’s intervention was followed by a reflection on Dutch Culture by itim consultant Masako Kato, and a panel discussion focusing on democratic rights and values moderated by itim consultant
Candida Snow.

Geert Hofstede (1928) is a Dutch mechanical engineer and social psychologist. Since the publication of his book “Culture’s Consequences” (1980, new edition 2001), he has been considered a founder of comparative intercultural research; his ideas are used worldwide.

Candida Snow has been an accredited associate of itim International since 2001. She trains major multinationals in the professional service sector, engineering, retail and industry as well as non-profit organisations and NGO’s. She is also a regular guest lecturer on the subject of intercultural management at a number of international business schools and universities.

Masako Kato is an intercultural and organizational culture management consultant at itim international. She believes that intercultural competences (awareness, empathy and skills to deal with cultural differences) are the essential life skills for all of us living and working in this culturally diverse world. She is on a life long journey to develop her own competences and during this journey it is her passion and life work to help others develop these competences at individual, team and organizational levels.

Bob Waisfisz founded itim International in 1985 and still plays an active role in its international network.

Huib Wursten (panel member) has been involved with itim International since 1989 as a senior consultant. During his career in intercultural management he has assisted international organisations such as the IMF the World Bank, the ECB and the Peacekeeping Forces in raising their intercultural competences.

Umar Mirza (panel member) is a television host, moderator and columnist. A graduate of the TU Delft in Technical Administration and the Erasmus University in Sociology, he was television host for two NTR shows. He was Editor in Chief of an online authors’ platform. In 2015 he ranked 3rd in the Top 100 of Young Professionals in the Netherlands. A Jordanian institute ranked him among the Top 500 most influential Muslims globally.

Roel Gans (panel member) is director of international affairs at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. Before joining the civil service he was a management consultant and director of training and education at an institute for international relations.

Karin Straus (panel member) is a Dutch politician and former human resource manager and management consultant. As a member of the People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) she has been an MP since October 26, 2010.

#theculturefactor conferences take place in locations around the world. Their aim is to gather industry, academia, (supra)governmental institutions, and not-for-profits around themes where culture touches policies and practices.

Outcomes are shared with the community and serve as input for the next #theculturefactor conference.