Definition of Culture and Its Importance
Definition of Culture and Its Importance
Human beings are considered the highest form of animals, behaving passionately social as a group, using language and understanding, and doing teamwork and intergroup rivalry. Culture then relates to everything that humans have, think and do as a member of the social group. Both existent and make-believe, humans have stuff like tools, weapons, languages, laws, music, art, material resources, technologies and systems that when taken jointly will give details of the past and describes the present.
On the other hand, when ideas, values, attitudes, beliefs and ideologies are taken as a group, help explains religious partiality, political directives, mores and extensive range of social associations. In addition, humans do or perform activities among specific group or society based on nationality, religion, ethnic boundaries and even occupation and academic, which later on collectively form the prescribed accepted behavior. (Holt, D. & Wigginton, K. 2002). In 1997, culture was described by Geert Hofstede in his book, Cultures and Organizations as the “software of the mind”.
While individuals all have the identical “hardware”, which is the human brain, their “software” or “programming” is rather diverse. It is an identical experience when interrelating with somebody from a dissimilar culture – their language, suppositions, body language and movement, morals, and other facets of their culture will not be logical when relocated to another’s orientation structure. There are three fundamental logical reasoning when it comes to culture, namely: 1. Superiority of experience in the fine arts and humanities; 2.
A combined blueprint of human knowledge, trust, and manners that relies upon the aptitude for figurative thinking and social knowledge; and 3. The set of divided outlooks, principles, purposes, and practices that distinguishes an association, society or group. According to Holt and Wigginton (2002), culture is a concept in the field of anthropology that concerns with shared structure of attitudes, way of life, ownership, traits, tradition and morals that describes group actions, which can be observed in a family, ethnic group, a business organization or a society.
Authority, leadership, work attitudes and ethical practices on the part of management are influenced by this shared structure. Workers also are influenced by cultural antecedents on how they recognize and understand quality performance, work responsibilities, their function in decision-making and attitude in following orders from superior, as well as insight of human rights. The daily demeanor of workers in terms of punctuality, following rules on safety standards and personal hygiene are also affected.
Slight differences between any two or more cultural groups can be observed, which therefore requires sensitivity to understand cultural differences, especially in manners of proper handling of business transactions. This way, when difficulties are encounter they will be solved readily with positive results. Understanding Differences in Culture The basic requirements for human survival are standard, which means for people to live they need water, food, clothing, housing and security. However, scarcity of these necessities compels human to creatively expand manners of acquiring them in order to give solutions to these survival problems.
For simple societies, economic and social behavior consists of uncomplicated activities like looking for and cooking food, crafting clothes, building houses and rearing children. On the other hand, for developed societies, roles go beyond work and domestic related actions and extend to production and distribution of goods and services in order to sustain their big areas of responsibilities. It is essential to know that differences in culture would mean that different cultures have a diversity of styles in looking at things, ways of dressing and expressing individuality and/or goodness.
Education, social rank, religion, individuality, belief composition, precedent experience, warmth shown in the domicile, and a countless of other factors will influence an individual’s manners and mores. A good deal of dissimilarities in culture has something to do with foodstuff preparation, music, and what each culture considers good manners. There are really cultural and philosophy disparities and it is fine to have an appreciation about a civilization’s way of life. Hofstede’s Model of Cultural Dimensions
A Dutch researcher by the name of Geert Hofstede made a cross-cultural study of organizational behavior using managers from different countries to produce profile of cultural differences. This model is the most famous Hofstede’s Model composed of five dimensions namely power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and long term orientation, which gives a comparative evaluation of group attributes. Said dimensions when used jointly, provide management sensible outlook regarding contradicting values and prototypes of manners among countries and groups.
Power distance as a dimension relates to the degree of human inequalities. Hierarchical position and authority are the main focuses of a culture with high power distance. Less dominant member of the society acknowledge just being subordinates, who should always follow those who are leading. In societies with high power distance as exemplified by Japan, formal authority comes from the hierarchy where employees hardly ever go against a chain of command or subject into scrutiny the decisions of top management.
The reverse is true with societies like the United States, Australia and New Zealand with low power distance, where both higher-ups and subordinates coordinate their decisions with one another and authority is not a big deal. However, for societies like Great Britain, Israel and Canada in particular, though they refuse to accept parity in social level, still they value the right of each person’s accomplishment (Holt, D. & Wigginton, K. , 2002). Individualism pertains to the degree of initiative in becoming independent against that of collective endeavor.
Societies with high individualism placed importance on personal triumphs, advancement, escapades and self-sufficiency. This implies ignoring the extensive necessities of the society and making oneself and ones family the priority. Contradictory, culture with low degree of individualism supports family relationship, group synchronization, social order and devote to compromised ideas. Uncertainty avoidance (Holt, D. & Wigginton, K. , 2002) is the degree of open-mindedness for uncertainty and ambiguity, particularly to man’s search for Truth.
It means the feeling of contentment and discontentment in shapeless circumstances which are unusual, unknown and unexpected. For majority of the societies, their religious beliefs stand as their manner of knowing the Absolute Truth. Japanese culture for instance, typifies a society that avoids uncertainty by creating detailed laws and standards in consonance with the norms of the society. There are also societies with dual philosophical beliefs that they do not consider any Absolute Truth and so they accept uncertainty within their organizations. Canadians, as an example do not prioritize ceremonies and company rites unlike the Japanese.
The degree of motivational behavior based on value systems that are depicted in terms of being masculine or feminine is another dimension in the Hofstede’s Model termed masculinity. The focus of the said model is not on biological perspectives; however, the behavior is portrayed using gender. In countries with high masculinity, like Japan, men work and hold top positions in organization, while women stay at home to perform household chores and nurture children. In other words, there are distinct roles that women and men do in society. The priorities of people living in societies with high masculinity are achievement, wealth and expansion.
Working professionals spent much of their time in work related activities and seldom take vacations to relieve their stress. When confronted with problems, the manners of settling these conflicts are done aggressively. On the opposite, countries that score low in masculinity give significance to their family, relationships and quality of life. There is equality in terms of positions for both men and women which could be observed in all aspects of their lives. Negotiation for people in societies with low masculinity is the best way to resolve misunderstandings and disagreements.
They are also fond of working in flexible hours to give way for more vacations and relaxation. The fifth and newest cultural dimension is the long term orientation, founded on the teaching of Confucius on the East. Countries with high long term orientation can be described as being persistent, thrifty, having a sense of shame and organizing and observing relationship by status. On the other hand, those cultures with short term orientation have personal control and firmness, shield ones “face”, value ritual and give back to greetings, favors, and gifts.