Culture is the set of values, norms, and practices that shape how individuals, communities, and groups think, act, and feel. These include everything from what we eat and drink, how we communicate with others, to how we treat each other in relationships.
Cultural awareness is the ability to understand and appreciate the values, beliefs, and perspectives of another group of people. It is a key part of being a good global citizen and it can improve the quality of life for all involved.
Having a clear understanding of the cultural differences between the people you work with is helpful for everyone, and can help to ensure that you are providing your best possible care to all who need it. It can also improve your relationship with members of a different culture, and increase the likelihood that they will feel comfortable and trust you.
A strong company culture fosters a collaborative atmosphere and promotes empathetic and inclusive behaviors. These cultures encourage a diverse team and are tolerant of all people, including those with disabilities.
Companies that have high energy and are constantly innovating thrive with this kind of culture. These are often tech-based and thriving businesses like Google, Facebook, and Apple.
Adhocracy is a great example of a company with this kind of culture, as they are always trying to push the boundaries of what the market can offer. It’s a fast-paced environment and can be overwhelming for some employees, but it is also very rewarding to see a product come to fruition.
Long-term orientation is another important part of having a strong culture. These values are based on the idea that a culture’s traditions should be respected as important in the long-term, rather than just as a way to fulfill societal obligations or provide gifts and favors.
In this sense, this view of culture is a variant of the so-called “cultural defense,” which holds that a group’s main norms, values, and practices should be protected from change. This view, however, is criticized for being essentialist and a danger to minority cultures in particular.
One of the criticisms of this way of thinking about culture is that it can give rise to “stereotypes” and “mobilize culture in ways that encourage absurdly large generalizations about people from particular cultural groups,” as Phillips explains. Moreover, it can allow the use of a “cultural defense” to justify policies that are harmful to members of a particular culture.
Ultimately, though, this type of account of culture is a valuable tool in the fight for equal rights, because it can highlight the role of power, and the importance of recognizing and respecting that power in making political and legal claims. It can also make the case that some forms of cultural oppression are not just wrong in the sense of being unfair, but can actually be incompatible with a free and open society.
Nevertheless, there are many challenges to this kind of account of culture. The first challenge is that it is difficult to identify the boundaries of a particular culture, and who legitimately counts as a member of that culture. The second challenge is that it is difficult to define who is entitled to a distinct set of rights, protections and benefits as a result of that particular culture. This is particularly the case if the underlying political and legal basis for the claim involves discrimination on the grounds of religion, race or ethnicity, or other similar categories.