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Abstract

We review applications of Hofstede’s cultural theory to IT research. The objective of this paper is to integrate disparate applications of Hofstede’s framework in IT research and provide a detailed synthesis of the existing literature grouped by specific IT areas across each of Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. In this review we carry out an exhaustive quantitative and qualitative analysis of articles that applied Hofstede’s framework to IT-related research and find that, despite inherent limitations, a national culture perspective has proven useful to all areas of IT-research. We also identify gaps in the existing literature and propose several streams of potential research. Some gaps are due to recent developments in Hofstede’s framework. Long-Term Orientation, for example, is a recent development and has been applied to IT-research in only a few instances. Other gaps are due to the sporadic and seemingly random application of Hofstede’s framework to IT-research. There are only a few instances, for example, of applications of Hofstede’s framework to software development research. The findings of this review will benefit IT researchers wishing to conduct cultural research and will allow researchers to uncover differences and similarities in complex populations that characterize today’s IT-enabled workforce. By using value-based cultural indicators, such as the dimensions developed by Hofstede (2001), researchers can readily examine a variety of important issues facing the field of IT in today’s global environment.

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