Culture: learned shared behaviour of members of society
Defining terms “culture” and“cultural norms”
Culture is a complex concept used inmany different ways. It can be explicit(written) or implicit (simply understood). As
defined by Matsumoto (2004), it is “a
dynamic system of rules, explicit andimplicit, established by groups in order toensure their survival, involving attitudes,
values, beliefs, norms and behaviours”.Rohner defines culture as “an organised
system of meanings which provides ashared way of making sense of different
aspects of the world”.
Hofstede describesculture as mental software, which isshared by the members of a socio-culturalgroup. Culture is dynamic; it changes overtime and exists on many levels, two ofwhich can be distinguished:
First is the surface culture, whichchanges at a relatively rapid rate(music, fashion, entertainment).
Second is the deep culture, whichis slow to change (life, religious,philosophical beliefs, values inhuman relationships).Clearer culture boundaries may be seen at
the “deep culture level”. Culture is no
tinnate; it is a learned shared behaviour ofmembers of society. Culture includes:
Norms: accepted and expectedways of behaving.
Beliefs: explanations for whathappens, statements about whatis true and real.
Values: views of what is good,worthwhile and worth striving for.
Cultural norms are behaviour patterns thatare typical of specific groups that arepassed from generation to generation by
observational learning by the group’s gate
parents, teachers etc. Arrangedmarriage, forbidding alcohol consumptionand child abuse are examples of culturalnorms. Norms vary from society to society.
In Bedouin society of North Africa, sheep’s
eyes are considered a delicacy and a loud,prolonged burp at the end of the meal isconsidered a compliment to the host. Bothdo not conform to Western norms. Someof the reasons why most people conformto social/cultural norms are becausehuman beings need social/cultural normsto guide their behaviour, provide order andto make sense and understand each
Examining the role of twocultural dimensions onbehaviour
Cultural dimensions are the perspectivesof a culture based on values and culturalnorms.
Cultures and subcultures direct action,shape perception, influence thought andconstitute world views. For most of
culture was ignoredcausing cultural bias, such as:
Ignoring culture: it leaves out oneof the most important consistuentsof human behaviour.
Culture doesn’t matter: cross
-cultural research shows that theassumption that findings from