The Differentiating Characteristics of Societal Cultures: An Examination of Societal Values, Practices and Potential for Change
AbstractThis paper explores the difference between societal cultural practices (the way societal culture is perceived to be, or “as is”) and cultural values (the way societal culture “should be”) using the GLOBE project’s (House et al, 2004) published data and findings from 62 societies. The difference between cultural practices and values is referred to as ‘cultural differentiation’. The paper suggests that cultural differentiation can be an indicator for potential for societal change. GLOBE’s overall data as well as those for selected countries are examined. The latter is done by focusing on several developed countries from Europe and several developing societies from the Middle East and by measuring and comparing their cultural differentiation scores and their potential for and patterns of change. The implications of this approach to cultural differentiation for societal change and for leadership and organizational practices across cultures are discussed.
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