Practice Exam 2015/2016: Cross-Cultural Management - RUG


Ernest Renan (1882) “What is a nation?”

This is the text of a lecture Renan gave in 1882 in Leiden, The Netherlands. It was a time when the nation state was developing quickly which finally led to World War I. It is not an easy text, but it is famous ever since. And for good reasons. Most importantly, Renan discusses some essential ideas people had and (still) have related to the genesis and nature of `nations’. More in particular, Renan is rather specific on the limits of teleological and deterministic views on nation building processes. His arguments leads him to conclusions with far reaching consequences (and predictions).(He foresaw the establishment of the European Union!).

In the Cross-Cultural Management course, we mainly focused on cultural differences. These cultural differences, however, are often related directly to differences between nations. Think for instance about dimensions of Hofstede and the GLOBE project which ascribe cultural characteristics to national identities.

To guide you through the complexities and many details, we formulate three questions about the text of Renan. The questions are given below. You can try to answer these when you are reading the text, so before the examination. One or two of these questions will be used in the examination. So discuss with your friends and remember your answers well!

Questions

Question 1

If Renan was confronted with the 6 cultural dimensions of Geert Hofstede, how do you think he would respond? Would he see these dimensions as an important building block for nation building processes? Or would he be skeptical about their validity? Why do you think this is the case?

Question 2

According to Renan, what is a nation? And what are, according to Renan, not sufficient arguments to explain the establishment of modern nationalities?

Question 3

Looking at the Dutch national anthem, would Renan see its text as a further proof/reflection of the points he wanted to raise in his lecture? Or would he oppose this text and argue that it is based on the arguments/ assumptions he opposes against? Please argue why.

Answers

Question 1

Hofstede has Power Distance, Masc.-Fem.,

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