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Understanding Cross-Cultural Management

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Understanding
Cross-Cultural
Management
Second Edition

Marie-Joëlle Browaeys & Roger Price

Part One
CULTURE AND MANAGEMENT

Concept 1.1 Facets of culture

Introduction to Part One

Setting the scene
This introductory chapter will give an outline of the research in the field of culture and management, which in turn serves as a framework for Part One.

The concept of culture
Many experts in their fields have wracked their brains to come up with what they consider to be their concept of ‘culture’. Those working in the field of cultural anthropology, alone, for example, have come up with a long list of definitions of the concept, based on their analysis of ethnological, social, psychological and linguistic data. The attempt made by
Bodley (1994) to summarize these (Table I.1) gives an idea of all the facets of culture that need to be taken into account from an anthropological perspective.
Although acknowledging the multiplicity of cultures, the authors of this book consider that the fundamental aspect of culture is that it is something all humans learn in one way or another. It is not something people inherit, but rather a code of attitudes, norms and values, a way of thinking that is learnt within a social environment. Family, the social environment, school, friends, work – all these help to form this code and determine how people see themselves and the world. The national culture and the particular region which people live in also help to shape a person’s cultural profile.
Although culture is reflected in individual behaviour, it is a way of thinking shared by individuals in a particular society that makes culture what it is.
Table I.1 Diverse definitions of culture
Topical

Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories, such as social organization, religion and economy

Historical

Culture is social…...

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