Conceptualizations and Definitions of Culture
(Adapted from Lenartowicz, T. (2001) “Does
Subculture Within A Country Matter?”
Journal of International Business Studies
, Vol 32(2).
Culture is a very complex, and still not very well defined, construct in the social sciences which
refers to human behavioral characteristics common to groups.
The culture phenomenon is rooted
in the biological reason humans have to seek groups to fulfill their needs and thereby acquire the
behavior patterns of the group.
One of the main characteristics of culture is its stability over
Changes in a group's behavior generally take long periods of time and require a significant
Due to the wide range of cultural concepts, origins and implications, this construct has
been studied by many fields of social sciences, most notably psychology and anthropology.
Since it affects human behavior, it has influence on virtually all human activities, including
Since culture refers to groups, different levels of culture result from the different
groupings of people, the result being what may be referred to as subcultures.
Unfortunately, culture is a fuzzy concept which still does not have a clear and unique
In 1952, Kroeber and Kluckhohn listed 164 definitions of culture.
compilation, other definitions have been formulated but with a similar content (Erez and Earley
To illustrate the range of definitions a few examples follow.
"Culture is a complex which includes knowledge, beliefs, art, morals, law, customs, and any
other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society" (Tylor 1896).
"Culture consists of patterned ways of thinking, feeling, and reacting, acquired and transmitted