Continuing my investigation of paradoxes and paradigms, today I write about culture as the third of ten paradigms from the past. My theory is these paradigms are currently presenting as paradoxes or contradictions which are significantly influencing our behaviour and our world.
Since the 17th century, anthropologists have been studying culture “that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Edward Tylor, 1871). By the 20th century, these early cultural anthropologists evolved their perspectives, which included racism and ethnocentrism (“interpreting and judging other cultures by the values of one’s own”) to a contemporary working definition. Bates and Plog (1990) define culture as a “system of shared beliefs, values, customs, behaviours, and artifacts that the members of society use to cope with their world and with one another, and that are transmitted from generation to generation through learning.
Although anthropologists typically study culture within the context of civilization, since the advent of social institutions such as organizations, the business world has become increasingly more aware of culture’s significance in growing and sustaining the corporate life cy