An improvement to Kogut and Singh measure of cultural distance considering the relationship among different dimensions of culture
National cultural distance construct has wide-spread use in the international business literature, with many applications. Despite its limitations as summarized by Shenkar (2001), the method in Kogut and Singh (1988) is commonly adopted by researchers to measure cultural distance. This article demonstrates that this method is a special case of the distance measure in Mahalanobis (1936) under the assumption of zero covariances between different dimensions of culture. Further, it demonstrates that this assumption is not valid for several cultural dimensions of countries measured by Hofstede (1980), and suggests a simple modification to the method that corrects for this invalid assumption, and hence produces more accurate measures of cultural distance. The article concludes with a comparison of cultural distances as measured by the original and the modified version of the method.
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