The concept of culture (Bodley 1994:9)
Topical Culture consists of everything on a list of topics, or categories,
such as social organization, religion and economy.
Historical Culture is social heritage, or tradition, that is passed on to
Behavioural Culture is shared; learned human behaviour; a way of life.
Normative Culture is ideals, values, or rules for living.
Functional Culture is the way human solve problems of adapting to the
environment or living together.
Mental Culture is a complex of ideas, or learned habits, that inhibit
impulses and distinguish people from animals.
Structural Culture consists of patterned and interrelated ideas, symbols
Symbolic Culture is based on arbitrarily assigned meanings that are
shared by a society
The concept of culture
Culture: the unique pattern of shared assumptions, values, and norms that
shape the socialization, symbols, language, narratives, and practices
of a group of people.
Shared assumptions: the underlying thoughts and feelings that members
of a culture take for granted and believe to be true.
Value: a basic belief about something that has considerable importance
and meaning to individuals and is stable over time.
Levels of culture
Culture operates at three levels:
1. Observable or tangible level: Artefacts and attitudes can be observed in
terms of architecture, rituals, dress codes, language, eating and so on.
2. Norms and Values: Norms- are statements of fact about the way things
are. Simply rules of the society.
Values- are to do with general preferences as to what
is good and what is bad.
3. Deepest level – basic assumptions – difficult to explore.
Observable elements: Practices, symbols, socialization, language, narratives.
Hidden elements: values, norms and basic assumptions.
Elements of culture
Language: a shared system of vocal sounds, written signs,
and/or gestures used to convey special meanings among
members of a culture.
Narratives: the unique stories, sagas, legends, and myths in a
Taboos: culturally forbidden behaviors
Ceremonies: elaborate and formal activities designed to
generate strong feelings
One perspective views culture as an ideological entity
encompassing values, norms, customs and traditions.
Other perspective views culture as a combination of
ideological and material elements such as what and how
people eat, what they wear and what they use.
(Reisinger and Turner 2003: 10)
Which perspective is more relevant to the tourism and
Like nations, industries, organizations and occupational groups
have their own culture.
The tourism industry culture is more customer-oriented than
Different functions in organizations – finance, production,
marketing are also characterized by distinct cultures – they
have different task requirements, time frames and customers.
(Cartoon: Functional caricatures – Schneider and Barsoux 2003:66)
Tourist, host and tourism Culture
Tourist culture is the culture that tourists bring on vacation.
May be their own or that of their country.
Host culture is the culture of the host country.
All participants involved in the tourism process creates a
distinct ‘tourism culture’, which is distinct from that of their
routine and everyday culture.
Tourists when abroad are in different state of mind and the
hosts provide them hospitality service. However both groups
retain a residue of their own culture when in contact.
(Reisinger and Turner 2003: 10)
Tourism cross-cultural studies
Members of different societies have opposite cultural
orientations and expectations.
What one culture regards as normal and acceptable behaviour
the other one may regard as insulting and irritating.
American: Being yourself, open, friendly, direct, confident,
outspoken and informal.
Can be seen by Asian as: aggressive, lacking grace, manners
It is important to analyse cultural differences and understand
the effects. (Reisinger and Turner 2003: 28)
Tourism cross-cultural studies
Cultural differences are specially relevant to the tourism
It’s a service industry where people from different cultures
Most studies found that national cultures influence tourist
and host behaviour. Therefore, national culture of tourists
warrants more detailed examination.
On the other hand, tourism industry need the knowledge and
skills necessary to lead and motivate workforces across many
different cultural backgrounds.
(Reisinger and Turner 2003: 29)
Behavior of employees is governed by formal rules and standard
operating procedures, and coordination is achieved through hierarchical
Focuses on predictability, efficiency, and stability
Tasks, responsibilities, and authority
clearly spelled out
Behaviors of employees are shaped by tradition, loyalty, personal
commitment, extensive socialization, and self-management
Formal rules and procedures minimized
High sense of member obligation and identity to the
Long and thorough socialization process
Mentors and role models
Strong peer pressure
Andres Smith, Accountant, Analytic Graphics, Inc., Easton,
“There’s a family mentality here as opposed to just being
another number. That trickles down from the top. He [the
CEO] knows everyone’s name and says ‘hi’ everyday
when I see him during morning workouts at the gym.”
Clan Culture: Snapshot
External focus and flexibility create an environment that encourages
risk taking, dynamism, and creativity
Encouraged and rewarded
Commitment to experimentation, innovation, and being on the
Creates change and quickly reacts to change
Individual initiative, flexibility, and freedom seen as fostering
Values and norms reflect the importance of achieving measurable and demanding
goals, especially those that are financial and market based (e.g., sales growth,
profitability and market share)
Hard driving competitiveness dominates
Profits orientation and quantifiable performance goals prevail
Minimal informal social pressure on members
Superior interactions with subordinates focus on performance-reward (economic)
agreement and resource allocations
Sub-culture exists when assumptions, values, and norms are
shared by some—but not all—organisational members
Departments and divisions within the organisation have their
• Occupational subcultures
• Geographically based subcultures
• Subcultures created by managers
Positive cultures are created by managers who:
recognize personal milestones, such as birthdays and
hold public celebrations for professional achievements;
sponsor picnics and parties; and
listen to their employees and recognize the efforts they put into
Diverse workforce demographics create subcultures
Gender and other demographics
Ethnicity refers to a wide variety of groups of people who share a
language, history, religion and identity themselves with a common
nation or cultural system.
Ethnic cultural traits are passed on to children.
Cultural diversity has been defined as “the representation, in one social system,
of people with distinctly different group affiliations of cultural significance.”
Researchers have gone further to define diversity in primary and secondary
Primary dimensions being age, ethnicity, gender, physical abilities/qualities,
race, and sexual/affectional orientation.
The primary dimensions “shape our basic self-image as well as our fundamental
Additionally, they have the most impact on groups in the workplace and society.
The secondary dimensions include educational background, geographic
location, income, marital status, religious beliefs and work experience.
These impact our “self esteem and self definition.”
These dimensions are not exact—there are times when the secondary
dimensions will have as much impact as the primary dimensions.
Managing cultural diversity and inclusion
Cultural diversity: encompasses the full mix of the cultures and subcultures to
which members of the workforce belong
Organisational goals for managing cultural diversity include:
Creating a positive culture for employees
Create greater economic value for the organization
Disney Expands Global Empire to
Cultural Diversity Management: Theories