38 Pages

A Hopscotch Hike

WithGeert Hofstede

In my 1980 book, Cultures Consequences, I wrote in an Appendix on “The Author’s Values:”

Research into values cannot be value-free. In fact, few human activities can be value-free. This book reflects ... between the lines the values of its author ... The origins of my value system, like everyone else’s, are found in my national background, social class and family roots, education, and life experience. I was born in the Netherlands in 1928 and lived there until 1971. I was the youngest of three children of a high civil servant. Our family relationships were reasonably harmonious; my father had a modest but fixed income, so that we did not suffer from the 1930s economic crisis. There was enough of everything but not luxury; money was unimportant and rarely spoken of. What was important was knowledge and intellectual exercise, at which we were all quite good. I went to regular state schools and liked them. We lived through the German occupation (1940-1945) without physical suffering but detesting the occupants. I was too young at the time to understand the full scope of the ethical issues involved in Nazism, but I had seen my Jewish schoolmates being deported never to return. Only in the years after 1945 did I fully realize that for five years we had lived under a system in which everything I held for white was called black and vice versa; which made me more conscious of what were my values, and that it is sometimes necessary to take explicit positions...