Dynamics of Culture as Multilevel, Mutilayer Construct

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The proposed model consists of two building blocks. One is a multi-level approach, viewing culture as a multi-level construct that consists of various levels nested within each other from the most macro-level of a global culture, through national cultures, organizational cultures, group cultures, and cultural values that are represented in the self at the individual level, as portrayed. The second is based on Schein’s (1992) model viewing culture as a multi-layer construct consisting of the most external layer of observed artifacts and behaviors, the deeper level of values, which is testable by social consensus, and the deepest level of basic assumption, which is invisible and taken for granted. The present model proposes that culture as a multi-layer construct exists at all levels – from the global to the individual – and that at each level change first occurs at the most external layer of behavior, and then, when shared by individuals who belong to the same cultural context, it becomes a shared value that characterizes the aggregated unit (group, organizations, or nations). In the model, the most macro-level is that of a global culture being created by global networks and global institutions that cross national and cultural borders. As exemplified by the effort of the Davos group discussed earlier, global organizational structures need to adopt common rules and procedures in order to have a common ‘language’ for communicating across cultural borders (Kostova, 1999; Kostova and Roth, 2003; Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000). Given the dominance of Western MNCs, the values that dominate the global context are often based on a free market economy, democracy, acceptance and tolerance of diversity, respect of freedom of choice, individual rights, and openness to change (Gupta and Govindarajan, 2000). Below the global level are nested organizations and networks at the national level with their local cultures varying from one nation, or network to another. Further down...
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