Culture can be defined as “collective programming of the mind; it manifests itself not only in values, but in more superficial ways: In symbols, heroes and rituals” (Hofstede, Gert, & Michael, 2010). Different people, groups or nations have got many problems premised upon their differences in thinking, actions and feelings.
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The world faces similar problems such as the crisis in the economics. One key reason why people on the global arena find it difficult to solve problems affecting humanity is that they ignore the differences amongst them.
There is a need to look into how people feel and act. The differences in how people think or behave could actually be the basis for solving common problems (Hofstede, Gert, & Michael, 2010).
Culture is described as mental programming. Most of what a person does is dependent upon the way such a person is brought up. The formative years in a person’s life play a vey crucial role. As a child, one learns more and copies more (Englis, 1994).
This means that a person acquires a given pattern in which they act, feel or think and for one to learn something different from that already learned in child, he or she would have to unlearn what is already learned earlier.
Unlearning is harder than learning. A person gets programmed based on the environment in which they grow. Culture applies to a group of people and hence people from a given area have certain patterns of behaving.
In the definition of culture, emphasis has been laid on the premise that it involves people adapting to the conditions in which they live (Englis, 1994). To develop a culture, people are responding to problems which afflict them in a place that they live.
The difference in environments explains why people from different localities tend to have different cultures. Culture happens to be shared. Members of a given group want to behave in a given way. It would, therefore, be wrong to talk of culture being universal though it is a recognized fact that certain things find universal application.
Culture has various elements. Among the elements of culture, we have rituals, rites and ceremonies. Rituals represent actions done over and over again whenever a specific thing occurs (Steers, Carlos, & Luciara, 2010). There is a reason why the specific actions are done.
Culture is also premised upon heroes. These are people who act as role models and they would be said to represent the perfect behaviour. Heroes could include founding presidents of organizations or even the local teacher whose students perform well in a certain subject. In different cultures, there are also stories and legends and also jokes which have the intention of aiding in learning.
In my life, I find the concepts of culture very relevant. It is quite evident that people from different parts of a given country have different ways of doing things. The way people behave appears certainly to be determined by the place where they abound.
A good example of this is where one finds that people who hail from harsh environments tend to be more militant and more often than not take hard line positions. These people would be taken to act in that way owing to the harsh environment in which they grow up. It appears that it is only natural that a person would react in a similar way they are treated. A person from a harsh environment will definitely be harsh.
The issue of culture being learned can be seen in religion. Nowhere is the collectivity of behaviour more evident than in sects. People tend to be taught to follow certain edicts, and they tend to worship certain people who more often than not exercise a lot of control over them.
In the religious circles, people are indoctrinated in different ways. People from different religions observe different days of worship. Religion also affects culture in the sense that people get to be ‘programmed ‘ to act in a certain way, and this explains the reason why some people would kill in the name of religion.
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Englis, G. (1994). Global and Multinational Advertising (Advertising & Consumer Psychology). Philadelphia, PA: Psychology Press.
Hofstede, H., Gert J., & Michael, M. (2010). Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind: Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Professional.
Steers, M., Carlos J., & Luciara, N. (2010). Management Across Cultures: Challenges and Strategies, Management Across Cultures. London: Cambridge University Press.