And who we are at the core is largely what defines our character.
Joe Marasco Published on December 15, We are seeing a renaissance of interest in culture and values in business these days 1which I view as another example of nature abhorring a vacuum: Culture and values are coming into focus now because we simply haven't given them much consideration in recent times.
While revelations about errant companies and company officers continue to multiply, those who have hewn to the true path seem to be forgotten. It's always that way: The foibles and follies of rascals sell newspapers and media air time, and the honest folks don't get much publicity--even if they represent the majority.
In this piece, we'll delve into the relationship between "culture" and "values. But this is not an accident. In mapping out the territory from my own perspective, it goes without saying that my own set of values aligns pretty closely with those of Rational; otherwise, I would not have spent more than sixteen years here.
We'll start by examining what a culture is and then see how values play into defining and supporting culture. What Is a Culture? We define a culture as a set of characteristics that sets one group of people apart from another.
For example, we sometimes attribute differences in the way the English act as opposed to the French as the result of "cultural differences. Some characteristics are transcultural, though. For example, we more or less expect that all children, everywhere, will grow up to love their parents.
The way they express that love may depend a lot on the culture in which they are raised, but the loving feelings are culturally agnostic. Another way to think about this is that a culture defines how a set of abstract principles is translated into day-to-day behavior.
That is, we all have a set of nearly instinctive "default behaviors," programmed into us from infancy, which represent accepted norms and modes within our local environment.
Of course, we can consciously choose to behave outside these norms, which we may well do in unusual situations. For example, if we live in a culture that believes violence is bad, then when disagreements arise, our default behavior, according to that cultural norm, is to use our words and not our fists--to resolve conflict verbally.
However, if it becomes clear that someone who is threatening another person's life will not "listen to reason," then the culture admits violence as a "last resort" for the potential victim--or a law enforcement officer.
But this is an exceptional case. In general, there are sanctions, both formal and informal, for violating cultural norms when exceptional circumstances do not apply. Perhaps my colleague Philippe Kruchten said it best when he wrote the following in an unpublished paper: Our behavior is driven by three forces: If we're not exposed to other cultures, we have a difficult time distinguishing culture from human nature.
We naturally assume that all these aspects are universal, but they are not. It is also important to distinguish those characteristics that are cultural--that is, generic to a group of individuals--as opposed to attributing such characteristics to individual personality quirks.
It is somehow easier to condone someone for not having surmounted a cultural barrier than it is to forgive what we perceive as a personal deviance.
Strong and Weak Cultures Continuing down the same path, I believe there are two different kinds of cultures: This speaks to how a culture translates its underlying principles, or values, into everyday life.
In a strong culture, the abstract principles values are translated very directly into people's day-to-day lives. The military, for example, has a definite set of values and a very strong culture.
Whether or not you agree with these values, you have to admit that they are translated into daily use very rigorously and consistently; they are enforced through external rules and regulations, as well as education that is absorbed internally. The prevailing culture of the s was also a strong one, characterized by distrust for authority and a desire to question all social conventions.
Once again, whether you agree with these values or not, you have to acknowledge their powerful influence on people's behavior at the time. I remember, for example, how difficult it was to "organize" a peace march, because the participants were so anti-authority--leaders had to explain and justify every "request" they made, 2 and "enforcement" came almost entirely from peer pressure.
Not all cultures are that strong, though. Some have a set of generally accepted abstract values, yet these do not really inform daily life. In Western culture, for example, the degree to which church-goers apply their religious values to daily life varies widely.
Some churches and sects have a very strong culture and strive to place religious tenets at the core of every act and thought, day in and day out. Other sects, in contrast, are much more laissez faire with respect to regulating daily behavior, and treat faith as the most important value.
The strength of a culture depends, finally, on two factors. One is the degree to which the values of the culture are codified and effectively transmitted to all.Ethics, also called moral philosophy, the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad, right and wrong.
The term is also applied to any system or theory of moral values or principles.. How should we live? Shall we aim at happiness or at knowledge, virtue, or the creation of beautiful objects?If we choose happiness, will it be our own or the happiness of all?
moral universalism (universal ethical principles or standards) and moral cultural relativism (local or cultural ethical norms as the exclusive source for ethical standards) 2.
In law and ethics, universal law or universal principle refers as concepts of legal legitimacy actions, whereby those principles and rules for governing human beings' conduct which are most universal in their acceptability, their applicability, translation, and philosophical basis, are therefore considered to be most legitimate.
One type of Universal Law is the Law of Logic which prohibits. Moral Values are the inbuilt and inclusive ideology and logicale of a person. Surprisingly we find it both the ways: 1. Understanding yorself; and 2.
Thank you so much, Marianne! That’s so true. It is when we are in those moments of extreme difficulty, when life feels like it’s beginning to ebb, that we tend to have crystal clarity about what in life is most important.
2 Performance Values: Why They Matter and What Schools Can Do to Foster Their Development s they come of age in a new century, our children face great and growing challenges.