What is culture

What is culture?

Simply said, culture is how you were raised. It developed while you grew up. With a computer metaphor, culture is the software of our minds. We need shared software in order to communicate. So culture is about what we share with those around us.

In action in social life, culture constitutes the unwritten rules of the social game.

These rules do not specify any details, but they specify the basic structure of the social landscape. They are about things such as independence, belonging, love, hate, respect, fear, and loyalty.

They specify which contrasts matter in life: small versus big, clean versus dirty, man versus woman.

Note that culture is about what we share with others. It is NOT something like personality, which is unique to an individual.

If you like to read more, browse the site. For a longer story, go the article by Geert in Online Readings in Psychology and Culture: "Dimensionalizing Culture: the Hofstede model in context". The best source is our book Cultures & Organizations

‘High’ and ‘low’ culture

There is a narrow sense in which 'culture' is only used for the arts: music, painting, literature. In our work we also consider all other human social activities as cultural. Greeting, eating, tweeting and cheating are all affected by culture.