When we hear the term “culture” we tend to think of race, ethnicity, gender or religion. Although these are nifty cultures the content of one’s character is made up of a blend of many cultures. In reality a culture is a group of people with shared experiences that shape how the group acts and reacts to situations or that share personality traits based on the experiences of their life relative to their community.
Dictionary.com perpetuates the belief that culture is a racial, ethnic, gender or religion-based aspect of our lives. Their definition Is “the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:”
Although they have added age group the lack of expansion on social can be misleading.
Yahoo’s dictionary expands their definition by saying, “These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population.”
Using this more expansive definition provided by Yahoo we begin to see the complexity of the cultures which are the foundation of the content of our character as spoken about by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Max Impact of getmaximpact.com, an educational website dedicated to business strategy and leadership development based in Rochester Hills, Mich., has identified more than two dozen elements of culture.
“We all represent a blend of cultures that make up the content of our character,” says Guillermo Williams, spokesperson for getmaximpact.com. “When we begin to understand the characteristics of the cultures we can better understand, relate to and empathize with our coworkers, friends and new family members.”
Williams cautions people not to fall into prejudicial practices relative to cultural awareness.
“When we think about the characteristics of culture,” he says, “we see that the positive characteristics of culture tend to apply across the culture will negative stereotypes do not.”
The organization has more complimentary information on their website to help people understand the many cultures that flavor our own lives as well as the lives of others.
©2014 Max Impact, used with permission.
- Employment Diversity in Michigan, a human resources networking group on LinkedIn.
- Cultural roadmap, look at the contents of the character within each of us.
- Cultural Faux Pas and Culture Quizzes are interesting quizzes to test your diversity knowledge.
- Max Impact offers free leadership training and development materials.
- Keep your workforce motivated with these motivational quotes.
- Diversity books and training materials.