'Culture' is a very broad term, but cultures tend to break down to innumerable sub-cultures, like increasingly tight concentric rings, with each of those rings connecting and disconnecting with innumerable mutually exclusive and inclusive rings. Generally, the smaller the ring, the smaller the group. Members of smaller groups tend to form tighter cultural identifiers.
And now, drumrollÖ Iím not a soccer player. Iím not really a soccer enthusiast. However, Iíll admit, I watched parts of the World Cup. Itís the world gathering together to battle on the field. Some of those games are played like team members are going to war. But, the best part is, theyíre not.
Thereís no war in World Cup (or, at least there shouldnít be). War in the World Cup would be just plain wrong. So why does it seem right to have wars at all? I see tons of children watching and even participating in the games. They accompany the players as they enter the field. War (the reckless killing of others) would ruin those kidsí lives. Here they are, enjoying the hype of the games and then when over, the countries go back to not trusting each other or worse, shooting at each other?
Take two countries, oh, for example, the United States and Russia. I happen to be a member of the U.S. I see U.S. leaders who feel that everything wrong in the world should be blamed on the Russians. And, Iíd imagine the same is true in Russia, that leaders there blame everything wrong in the world on the U.S. I donít get it. I donít understand the pain and agony our countries put on each other.
The United States and Russia are two large cultures. Each can be broken down into sub-cultures, like concentric rings, with each of those rings connecting and disconnecting with innumerable mutually exclusive and inclusive rings. Yep, our two cultures are made up of thousands and possibly millions of intertwined sub-cultures.
How do we handle that intertwining? We stereotype the overall machine, turning it into a monster. Thatís a shame. Now, Iím not so stupid to not see that there are, indeed, evil people in the world. Theyíre all over. Gee, the U.S. is overrun by bad humans, people who will kill for a dollar. Sigh. And, Iím sure Russia has its fair share of evil humans, too.
I plan to visit Russia in a couple of years, assuming theyíll let me in. I expect to see working humans, serious humans, playful humans, competitive humans, sad humans, happy humans. The list goes on forever. I will probably run into some people who donít care for me because Iím American. But, if my intelligence research tells me anything, itís that most Russian people will accept me as a cultural friend, for lack of a better expression.
Cultures are very complicated. Thousands of doctoral theses have been written on them, Iím sure. I wish I knew the whys of those complications, as to why one culture doesnít trust another. I wish none of those soccer children would ever have to see a war. I wish the world would turn nice, today. My major wish is the only wars to land on our earth would be played on a soccer field (or baseball, or football, or swimming, or whatever).
And, what does all this have to do with company culture and relationships? Everything. Think about it, the same cultural stereotypes that get applied to countries also get applied to companies. Thatís a shame, really. Something to think about, I suppose.
ďThe culture of power versus the power of culture. One side always loses.Ē [Ausma Zehanat Khan].