Culture Definitions and Traits


    Traits:  Seven (7) Major Traits of Culture

    1.  Learned
    2. Not innate but something acquired because of where one is raised.  If you are conceived in one culture but born and raised in another (i.e. transferred at birth) — you acquired the culture of the second, not the first.   
          Learned through interaction, observation, and imitation
              Conscious — being told, reading
              Unconscious — most culture is learned unconsciously — i.e. through language for example
        Learned from a variety of sources
            Folk tales and folklore
            High Culture: poetry, art, music
          Mass media (especially TV in this generation)

    3. Transmitted
    4. Each generation (older) passes it on to the younger — and constantly reinforces it.   If not transmitted, a culture dies.
    5. Based on Symbols
    6. Language (verbal and nonverbal) is key element / but also from images, icons.
    7. Changeable
    8. No culture is static.  The culture of your grandparents or parents is not identical with your own (a major cause of the so-called generation gap).
        Changes occurs from:
        • innovation (discovery) e.g. television, computer, women’s movement
        • diffusion (borrowing) e.g. McDonalds worldwide
        • acculturation (long-term contact with another culture) e.g. Taco Bell?
    9. Integrated
    10. One dimension affect other dimensions.  Consider how the civil rights movement in the US (initially concerned with voting rights) spread to encompass multiple parts of the USA.
    11. Ethnocentric
    12. A trait found in every culture — the belief that one’s culture is superior and more worthy than another.  While it is important to have a positive view of one’s self, ethnocentrism can be a major hindrance to intercultural communication — can shut others out, lead to derogatory viewpoints.
    13. Adaptive
    14. In order to survive, culture must adapt.  Example — roles of women in USA after WWII.

BSAD 560, Intercultural Business Relations