Examining the Use of Hofstede's Uncertainty Avoidance Construct in International Research: A 25-Year Review

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Published in: International Business Research, Vol. 4, No.1, 2011.


The goal of this research was to determine the manner in which Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance construct has been incorporated into international research. Hofstede’s work is often referenced in this realm of work, but how, specifically, is it used? This study provides a framework of this dimension from Hofstede’s work that other researchers can use as a resource for planning articles and/or as a benchmark upon which to develop further studies. During our data gathering, we identified 118 articles in the Journal of International Business Studies (i.e., the outlet for his initial article) that used Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance. Three articles mentioned uncertainty avoidance in the research notes and 15 used uncertainty avoidance to support positions taken in the literature review. Forty-one articles used uncertainty avoidance while explaining their research hypotheses. Of the remaining 59 articles, 29 used Hofstede’s data to compare countries using composite indices, and 30 used uncertainty avoidance as an independent or control variable.