The culture placements on the dimensions are a combination of the three data sources below, each of which builds on the previous one:
- Merged data of leading cross-cultural researchers: The culture placements on the dimensions were originally derived from the merged data of leading cross-cultural researchers such as Hofstede, Schwartz, McCrae, and Inglehart. They were empirically derived, statistical averages of available country data on the five cultural dimensions as they existed in the research literature.
- GlobeSmart Profile User Data: Since some of the original research used in deriving the culture placements on the GlobeSmart Profile dimensions is now a few decades old, the data from over 2,000,000 users of the instrument — each of whom filled out demographic items before completing the Profile — was also reviewed and combined with the earlier research data to update a number of the culture placements.
- Expert Judgment Data: Finally, expert opinions from a dozen Aperian Global trainers and associates living and working in countries around the world was incorporated to make final adjustments to the culture placements. There were three rounds of expert input in this revision process, with each round receiving higher levels of convergence on the placements of cultures on the dimensions by the group of experts.
Note: The purpose of Aperian is to help you on your journey towards more productive engagement with people from different backgrounds. It is important to understand that the culture placements on the dimensions are not absolutes. To arrive at these placements we have combined the data sets mentioned above, and it is expected that many people from a particular culture will fall to the left or to the right of their culture's average placement on the chart, similar to a bell curve. This is the case when averaging any large set of data.
It is also true that cultures evolve over time, and typical behaviors along the selected dimensions of culture can change. Because of this, Aperian Global continues to update the culture placements in the GlobeSmart Profile every few years.
The GlobeSmart Profile is one of the more statistically robust tools in the intercultural field. Having said that, no one instrument should be used as a definitive statement about peoples' behavior in different cultures. People are unique, and while there are clearly social and cultural norms that should be considered when working with others, the GlobeSmart Profile should be seen as a useful starting point for discussions of similarities and differences in work styles - not the end point.
If you would like to see how your individual profile is created, see the article on GlobeSmart Profile Statistical Validity and Reliability.