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Conceptualizations and Definitions of Culture

Since culture shapes the behavior of individuals

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(Boddewyn 1992, Toyne and Walters 1988, Dunning 1992). Since culture shapes the behavior of individuals, marketing has focused attention primarily on the area of the influence of culture on consumer behavior (Engel, Blackwell and Miniard 1990, Kahle, Beatty and Homer 1986). Management has been examining how culture affects the decision-making process and the formulation of strategy (Hambrick and Mason 1984, Clark 1990). Since organizations may be considered as groups of individuals, cultural phenomena also are found in firms (Adler 1986), and the concept of "organizational culture" has been addressed by organizational behavior scholars like Shein (1985), and Smircich (1983). In summary, culture appears to be a powerful construct in the social sciences, related to learned behavior of individuals in groups. In addition, it seems that culture is responsible for differences in behavior between people from different cultural groups, and appears to be a contributing factor in explaining business phenomena. Since culture is a group phenomenon, it may appear in many different levels of peoples' groupings, countries, regions, towns, villages, or even districts, forming the concept of subculture which is presented in the next section.
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QUESTIONS FOR CASE DISCUSSION 1) How could you best summarize the definition of culture? 2) Although the article presents culture as stable over time, what is your personal perception regarding this characteristic? Nowadays do people behave the same way they behaved 20-30 years ago? If not, can we still say that people from different countries (cultures) behave differently? 3) Which fields of business do we apply cultural concepts and why? 4) Please provide an example of culture application in business (preferably from your personal experience).
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