We examine the impact of ethno-linguistic fractionalization (ELF) on existing cultural measures employed in various social sciences. Not only do high levels of fractionalization affect the use of statistical means to account for cultural distance, we show that it is not constant and therefore the dynamics of change need to be addressed. This provides us with an opportunity to bridge the cultural distance and institutional distance literature as institutions impact upon culture and MNEs, and institutional development is, in turn, affected by these. We call for a more realistic assessment of what is being captured in cultural measures and for recognition of the complexity of the notion of identity formation and its dynamics. Countries may have different underlying cultural schisms, including ELF, and its introduction will allow for a richer exploration of distance and diversity in the social sciences.