Culture is a set of beliefs, r…

Culture is a set of beliefs, rules, institutions, practices and customs that distinguish members of one group or category of people from others. The word ‘culture’ comes from the Latin cultus, which means ‘care’, and from the French ‘colere’ which means ‘to till’. The comprehension of the word culture has transformed from its root meaning as an action to an action of being developed or cultivated. It is how we think, act, feel and behave which have been imbibed in us or we have learnt from our society that can be recognised in actions or structures. Culture consists of patterns which are explicit and can be seen through our behaviour or implicit, which influence our ways of thinking.

These behaviour or ways of thinking are acquired and transmitted by symbols, constituting achievement of human groups, including their embodiment in artifacts; the essential core of culture consists of traditional (historically derived and selected) ideas and especially their attached values shared by almost all members of some social group (Kroeber and Kluckholm, 1952).It forms the basis of rules for a society, sets its norms, shapes their values and has a great influence in forming the personality of the individuals by influencing their attitudes, beliefs and opinions towards life.Culture is an integral part of our existence yet it differs from people to people or group to group. The various important characteristics of culture include: 1) Culture is learntIt is not genetic or biologically passed from generation to generation but rather learnt through one’s experiences as they grow up.2) Culture is sharedEach culture is shared by a group of people that belong to the same community or geographical area. 3) Culture is SocialIt is learnt through interactions and experiences that one goes through. The norms, values, beliefs, rituals and traditions of the culture help in shaping the individual4) Culture is integratedThe various parts of culture have an intimate interconnection.

All the parts of culture (rituals, practices, beliefs, traditions, customs, norms, language) are interlinked and are thus, influenced by each other. 5)  Culture is based on symbolsLanguage, art and money all are symbols. These symbols help in easily identifying and distinguishing one culture from the other. 6) Culture is dynamicCultures undergo gradual change but this change is necessary. Change is what helps the culture to survive and further help its members to adapt to the changing environment.Although culture normally serves as the collective memory of a society, it may in certain situations be necessary for younger generations to generate new patterns of thinking and acting. The development of technology or specific historical events can serve as examples of factors that can lead to differences between generations in terms of symbols, heroes, and values (Hofstede 1991).

CULTURE AND ORGANISATIONAL BEHAVIOURA culture is learnt and absorbed as the various activities, rituals, values, customs and norms it possesses, influence the upbringing of an individual and play a role in shaping the personality of that individual. It helps in giving them a unique identity in the society. So, when an individual enters an organisation they will also make an effort to conform to the wider social norms within the organisation, and if they are not able to do so, they might feel awkward or uncomfortable about it. If an individual is works in an organisation in which he/she is not familiar with the values and beliefs, then they may have trouble in adjusting and working efficiently. Indicating that it is vital for the culture of the organisation is compatible with the culture of the society in which it is established, and thus it is important that the cross-national organisations take into consideration that how different cultures influence different patterns of behaviour. Adler (1997) and Adler, Doktor and Redding (1986) set out four very critical predispositions with respect to this matter:1.Patterns of behaviour in organisation are likely to differ as wider social cultures in different parts of the world result in different attitudes and values.

2.Factors like different standards of living can account for some of this variation in behaviour, but wider social culture also plays an essential role as a major influencing factor.3.Organisations in distinctive cultural settings have a tendency to become increasingly similar in terms of organisational design and technology, their employees can still differ in terms of culture, but a person who moves from a different cultural setting to another may need to change his or her behaviour to match the cultural norms of the new location or cultural setting.Consequently, it is not safe to assume that the same motivational techniques, job designs and reward systems will be equally successful everywhere, and so cross-national firms need to formulate global strategic approaches while dealing with a diverse workforce. Cultural norms of a society can influence people to behave in many ways that are different from other cultures. These are propensities and not inevitabilities.

Around the world, people have different personalities which can temperate the effect of cultural beliefs and values. Some cultural characteristics that can give rise to differences in behaviour include: People’s relationship to their world, religion, the individual and society, Social protocols, the perceived importance of time, orientation to activity and language and proxemics.”Culture can thus be also defined as the “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from others” (Hofstede, Hofstede and Minkov 2010). According to Hofstede (1997) people within in the same culture may carry several layers of mental programming within themselves. Different layers of culture exist at the following levels:• The national level is related with the whole country.• The regional level is related with ethnic, linguistic, or religious differences that exist within a nation.• The gender level is related with gender differences (female vs.

male)• The generation level is related with the differences between grandparents and parents, parents and children.• The social class level is related with educational opportunities and differences in occupation.• The corporate level is related with the particular culture of an organization. Applicable to those who are employed.

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