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Defining Culture : A Challenging Task For Academics

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Defining culture appears to be a challenging task for academics, this is why there are possibly more than 150 definitions of culture and it is difficult to actually find a universally accepted definition because the word holds different meanings to different people and as a consequence it is open to many interpretations. Even if academics find it hard to define, it is possible to see that different statements have some common patterns. Academics agree on the fact that culture is something that has to be learned and consequently shared; moreover, culture involves thinking, feeling and acting. Often culture goes way beyond what meets the eye; Edgar Schein stated that even if it is possible to observe and to get to know the artefacts that are…show more content…
The word was also used with the meaning of taking care of something, honoring something. But behind the word còlere there is actually an ancient linguistic root: KwEL, which means “to spin”, “to rotate”. This root was used to generate words with a similar meaning in different Indo-European languages; for example the ancient greek κύκλος (kyklos), which means circle or even the English word wheel. The meaning of all these different words takes us back to the original meaning of the Latin verb to cultivate, but from this original meaning the use of the word has been extended to all the activities that require taking care or nurturing something. However, the present meaning comes from the past tense of the verb: cultus. This word, in fact, was not only used to indicate something that was cultivated but it was also used to indicate religious practices and practices that involved the nurturing of young people’s mind. The current meaning of culture so, comes from the word cultus and it indicates knowledge, traditions and everything else that a nation considers fundamental and worth sharing and passing to next generations.
Just like people do, every organisation has its own personality; we refer to it as its culture. Even if it’s not visible, organisational culture is what shapes the behaviour of the people working in a company. Tichy (1982) said that organizational culture
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