Underneath the Behavior & Institutions layer are the third layer of culture – Cultural Values. Values are deeply held ideals, principles and feelings.
People have personal values, but we are looking for the shared values of a group. For example, it is fair to say that Americans value individual identity and direct communication while another culture might value group identity and indirect communication.
Values drive how decisions are made and how people interact. They shape Behavior & Institutions and give meaning to the Signs & Symbols of a culture.
Cultural Values are below the surface-largely invisible. Understanding them accurately requires observation as well as participation and interaction.
Questions for understanding Cultural Values:
- Do people like to work independently, or together?
- What makes a hero? Who are considered heroes?
- Are status and honor achieved or ascribed?
- What are the major areas of societal pain and suffering?
- Who are recognized as leaders in the community? Why are they seen as leaders?
- What traits do people value in others?
- What are the popular proverbs?
- Describe the people’s attitude concerning money and property. Does property have a symbolic or utilitarian value? Is it freely shared or not?
Common Cultural Values
|Identity as an INDIVIDUAL
|Identity as member of a GROUP
|A ‘me’ culture in which individual self-expression is the ultimate goal.
A ‘we’ culture in which group harmony and consensus are ultimate goals.