Culture Types – Definition & Examples

Culture Types

In this article, we will look at Culture Types – What it is and how it affects us, along with Elements, Levels, and Examples. Culture is a complex concept, and it is easy to misunderstand if you don’t understand what it means to be part of a particular culture.

What is Culture?

In human life, every person internalizes a culture, including the patterns of thought and behavior that determine what a person does or says. The culture we grow up with determines the outer limits of our actions. 

For example, the mental programming we develop as adolescents is similar to programming a computer. Different cultures will have different interpretations of the same situations. So how do we define culture? Let’s explore some common definitions of culture.

First, culture is a set of shared attitudes, beliefs, and practices. A culture is a group of people who have learned from each other over time and from each other. It also teaches us the proper behavior, attitudes, and perspectives. It is the sum total of these elements, which form our unique cultures. Cultures may be a product of evolution, or they may be the result of human adaptation. 

Culture is a patterns of behavior that people exhibit in certain circumstances. These patterns are visible or invisible and serve as sociological norms. Most members of society conform to the rules that define acceptable behavior. To define a culture, we need to consider how people have adapted to the environment that surrounds them.


The examples of a culture that are most readily identifiable are customs, traditions, and social standards. Other cultural examples include religious and traditional practices. 

Symbols of culture are a combination of experiences and traditions. They can be factual or fictional and represent shared experiences, beliefs, and ethics. These cultural symbols often have a shared source of knowledge and are integral to a group’s identity. There are many different types of cultures. 

For example, a traditional culture may have rituals and ceremonies that mark a particular milestone in a person’s life, such as marriage and childbirth. Similarly, a cultural holiday may be a common example of a symbolic element.

Another example is the phenomenon of glocalization. In this process, global cultures combine with local ones to create a third culture that is unique in its own right. For example, the Metis people of Canada are a result of a mix of Indigenous and European cultures. This resulted in unique dance, food, and traditions. Similarly, the Santeria religion developed in Latin America from the blending of Indigenous spirituality and Catholicity.

Elements of Culture

Source: CrashCourse

The elements of culture are the social practices, values, norms, symbols, and language that shape people’s lives. These elements may be viewed in various contexts through time and geography. For example, S7 and PS2 explain the meaning of civic life, politics, and economic systems. Task students with creating personal and group forms to evaluate culture. 

After analyzing each element in-depth, students can develop their own definition of culture based on their own life experiences. One of the most important elements of culture is beliefs. Beliefs determine the norms of a culture. Japanese people, for instance, place a high value on social harmony and minimize conflict in their society. 

Christians, on the other hand, wear a cross or a cotton thread around their neck. All of these aspects form a society’s nature. Without a clear understanding of these factors, marketers can make disastrous decisions.

Cultural Levels

There are three levels of culture: artifacts, beliefs, and assumptions. 

  • Artifacts are tangible items, like ping pong tables, free lunches, and office layout, while beliefs are more abstract concepts. 
  • Beliefs include things the company says it believes, such as its mission statement or code of conduct. These ideas are often a talk during all-staff meetings. 
  • Similarly, assumptions are the underlying assumptions that employees don’t necessarily recognize. The third level of culture involves the inner values and beliefs of the individual employees within the organization.

In contrast, subcultures are smaller groups of people who share cultural characteristics within a single country, often with regional or societal differences. These subcultures may have their own symbols and meanings and are sometimes considered to be subcultures of a larger culture. Their own cultural traditions and behaviors can make them distinct from other groups. They create a sense of self or an idioculture.

Types of Culture

People differ widely in their ideas about what is culture. They define culture as learned collective behavior that differs from instinctive behavior. Culture includes ideas, beliefs, and practices passed down through generations. 

One way to different cultures is to examine popular culture. It is the shared attitudes, values, and practices that are most appealing to a large number of people. Dominant culture depends on the environment the organization operates in, the management style, and the beliefs of its employees.

In a typical competitive culture, employees follow a strict hierarchy and focus on building relationships with external parties to gain competitive advantages. Another type is collaborative. 

This kind of culture emphasizes working together as a team and being supportive of one another. Different types of cultures illustrate how different people define and experience the culture. What are some examples of popular culture? Check them out! 

Societal Culture

Society’s societal culture can greatly impact the effectiveness of leadership and the evolution of organizations and states. It also impacts how leaders behave, which may indicate their leadership style or the understanding required to achieve a goal. 

In the world today, societal culture plays a crucial role, and the effectiveness of contemporary leaders will depend on how they deal with it. This article will explore the different aspects of societal culture and how it affects organizations and states.

Societal cultures are usually classified according to their degree of dominance in a group. These cultures can be either homogeneous or heterogeneous, with the former being the more predominant and having a unified set of cultural beliefs. 

Some societies are homogenous, while others may include diverse groups and exhibit a diverse mix of values. Here are some examples of cultures and organizations in different environments. To better understand the differences between cultures, consider the characteristics of the culture in each location.

Organizational Culture

close-up photo of color pencil
Source: Steelcase

An organization’s culture consists of shared beliefs, values, traditions, and practices common across all members. These beliefs are expressed in the members’ self-images, behaviors, and interactions with the outside world. 

It is often difficult to change an organization’s culture, which contains patterns of assumptions and behaviors that are shared by all members. They can also be unconscious, making them difficult to measure and analyze. 

In essence, organizational culture is a way of life for an organization, and it can be used to understand the working conditions and dynamics of an organization. There are several types of culture, with two types of behaviors distinguishing subcultures. Visible culture is represented by the language used and customs and traditions practiced. 

Orthogonal culture embraces the values of the dominant culture, while countercultures disagree with them. They are also the most likely to conflict with the core organizational values. It is essential to understand organizational culture as an ongoing process of change because it is always changing. In addition to this, organizational cultures are shaped by various incentives, such as rewards, punishments, and promotions.

Functional Culture

A functional culture is a way people interact with one another and their environment. This is in contrast to passive and defensive cultures, which encourage members to engage with others in ways that don’t threaten their own security. 

In aggressive cultures, members are encouraged to approach tasks with force and aggression. This culture is usually represented by Roman buildings. There are several differences between these two types. Here are three common examples. Let us explore each of them. Here are a few things to consider about each of them.

Performance-oriented cultures tend to generate higher financial growth, have high employee involvement, and encourage healthy risk-taking. Performance-oriented cultures also emphasize the growth of their industry and technology. 

The purpose of a functional culture is to produce the best results for the company and its shareholders. To create a functional culture, it is necessary to examine both the current organizational culture and the goals for the future. A functional culture should also be conducive to employee retention.


Different cultures exist in the world- from Peru to Togo, Namibia, Indonesia, Libya Arab, and Ecuador. Their language, cuisine, arts, music, social habits, and religion greatly differ. So do their dress, laws, and architectural styles. 

In all, the diversity in cultures affects how we live and interact with one another. As earlier mentioned, Culture is a complex concept and shaped by various incentives. The culture we grow up with determines the outer limits of our actions, and the purpose of learning culture is to help people interact with one another in ways that don’t threaten their security. 

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