Culture and Change

Culture is not monolithic and fixed. Culture is due to change and adapt. Well, then why do we experience cultural differences in the era of global culture? With the technology of communication and transportation we get closer and closer. With the language we use, tendencies we share or boundaries we exceed, we seem to be like members of a single culture. Still, we are “us and them”, and it is not just invented cultures (popular culture, adhocrarcy culture, vegan culture, etc.) that make us differentiate.

Most of us still identify themselves with their nationalities, ethnicities, belief systems all of which stand for their culture. Some of them may be living and behaving differently from the previous generations of their cultures. They may even be the citizens of different nations as well. It is clear that they have changed and adapted to the challenging environment. However, they still define themselves with fixed cultural identities.

Change is real on the surface, but how deep is it? Hofstede’s “layers of culture”1 approach provides us a tool to deal with this contradiction. Practices, as the visible part and outer layer of culture, may change. Your symbols may adapt to the new political environment, your rituals may fade away, your heroes may be questioned. However, the core, the inner part, the values of culture will still resist change.

1Hofstede, & Hofstede, & Minkov (2010). Cultures and Organizations, Software of the Mind Intercultural Cooperation and Its Importance for Survival. McGraw Hill