Three Levels of Culture

The biggest danger in trying to understand culture is to oversimplify it. It is tempting to say that culture is just “the way we do things around here,” “the rites and rituals of our company,” “the company climate,” “the reward system,” “our basic values,” and so on. These are all manifestations of the culture, but none is the culture at the level where culture matters. A better way to think about culture is to realize that it exists at several “levels,” and that we must understand and manage the deeper levels, as illustrated in Figure 2.1. The levels of culture go from the very visible to the very tacit and invisible.
Figure 2.1. The Three Levels of Culture

Level One: Artifacts

The easiest ...

Get The Corporate Culture Survival Guide: New and Revised Edition now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.