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Unformatted text preview: 1 HOFSTEDE: Cultures And Organizations - Software of the Mind Culture as mental programming In Western languages 'culture' commonly means 'civilization' or 'refinement of the mind' and in particular the results of such refinement, like education, art, and literature. This is 'culture in the narrow sense; ' culture one ' Culture as mental software, however, corresponds to a much broader use of the word which is common among social anthropologists: this is culture two. In social anthropology , 'culture' is a catchword for all those patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting referred to in the previous paragraphs. Not only those activities supposed to refine the mind are included in 'culture two', but also the ordinary and menial things in life: greeting, eating, showing or not showing feelings, keeping a certain physical distance from others, making love, or maintaining body hygiene. CULTURE It is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another. It is a collective phenomenon, because it is at least partly shared with people who live or lived within the same social environment, which is where it was learned. Culture is learned , not inherited. It derives from one's social environment, not from one's genes. Culture should be distinguished from human nature on one side, and from an individual's personality on the other: 2 Cultural relativism there are no scientific standards for considering one group as intrinsically superior or inferior to another. 'Cultural relativism affirms that one culture has no absolute criteria for judging the activities of another culture as "low" or "noble". Symbols, heroes, rituals, and values Cultural differences manifest themselves in several ways - symbols, heroes, rituals, and values. The onion diagram: Manifestations of culture at different levels of depth Symbols are words, gestures, pictures or objects that carry a particular meaning which is only recognized by those who share the culture. The words in a language or jargon belong to this category, as do dress, hairstyles, Coca-Cola, flags. New symbols are easily developed and old ones disappear. Heroes are persons, alive or dead, real or imaginary, who possess characteristics which are highly prized in a culture, and who thus serve as models for behavior. Snoopy in the USA, Asterix in France. Rituals are collective activities, technically superfluous in reaching desired ends, but which, within a culture, are considered as socially essential: they are therefore carried out for their own sake. Ways of greeting and paying respect to others, social and religious ceremonies are examples. Symbols, heroes, rituals can be subsumed under the term practices ....
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- Fall '11
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