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Conceptualizations and Definitions of Culture

Human behavior derives from the way the groups

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Human behavior derives from the way the groups satisfy their needs, and to satisfy their needs the individuals are taught by the group with which they live. By learning from the members of a group, individuals are "contaminated" by the behavior of this particular group. In learning to satisfy his/her needs, an individual becomes acculturated to the group. One of the main characteristics of culture is its stability over time. Since people need a frame of reference against which to plot their experiences, cultural changes come very slowly (Kolde 1982). As an example of this stability, Poland and Norway ceased to exist as nation- states for long periods of time, yet, after they were reestablished, their original cultural characteristics were essentially intact. Another example, is the former Czechoslovakia which, after several years of existence as a single nation state split into two countries, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, due to the fact that the different cultures which made up the country had continued to maintain their distinctive identities. Culture has been studied in many of the social science fields. The first field to adopt cultural studies was anthropology with the research of Tylor (1896). Since the behavior of individuals is the focus, psychology has also examined cultural phenomena and has accumulated a large body of cross-cultural research (e.g., Triandis 1972, Osgood 1964, McClelland 1961, Rokeach 1973, and Schwartz and Bilsky 1987). Sociology has also undertaken cross-cultural studies with the emphasis being the individual as part of a group (Parsons and Shils 1951, Kluckhohn, 1951). In business administration, the fields of international business, marketing, management, and organizational behavior also have addressed culture. International business has started to pay more attention to cultural issues and has identified culture as one of its main dimensions (Boddewyn 1992, Toyne and Walters 1988, Dunning 1992).
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