Culture Types

We know that understanding Personality Types (like Myers-Briggs) helps us to understand ourselves and each other better. In much the same way, understanding Culture Types also helps us understand ourselves and others better. The difference being the focus of group dynamics rather that individual.

For years the disciplines of Sociology, Physiology, Anthropology, and Theology have identified three culture types – Guilt/Innocent, Honor/Shame, and Fear/Power. These titles are based on how a culture responds to wrong doing but what we understand about how these effect a group, community, or culture is far more expansive. Guilt/Innocent cultures are individualistic or autonomous in nature (If you fail, you fail), Honor/Shame cultures are group or community in nature (If you fail, we all failed), and Fear/Power cultures are tribal in nature (If you fail, you’ve done something wrong elsewhere). All three of these exist in every world culture, the one that is dominant is what is used to identify what culture type we are in. Most of the world is Honor/Shame while Western cultures are Guilt/Innocent.

For decades we (America) have been so dominantly Guilt/Innocent that we had lost almost all sense of Honor/Shame or Fear/Power. However, we are now seeing a rise in the Honor/Shame element amongst the young generations (30 yrs old and younger). This is creating a stronger need for “Community”. Community being defined as “a group, regardless of size, that provides a sense of belonging, purpose, and identity. I believe this is because of the ever shrinking world we live in and the Community of Cultures that has been created. With a stronger sense of Honor/Shame we are seeing that having a community that provides each other a feeling of Honor (belonging) is stronger and more important than the individual success one may be able to achieve. There is still a desire for success but it must be of benefit to the success of the community as well.

As leaders it is even more important today to understand the significance of Community and how we might create authentic community within the work place. Because, having a place of belonging, purpose, and identity will bring more loyalty and commitment.

The Journey Begins

I hope to share and discover, through this blog, the power of community and how it influences productivity and success.

I used to look for “the way” to manage or lead. I read books, went to seminars and workshops and with each new piece of information; I changed. But, I was still searching for “the way” to be out front. Then I made a career change. I changed from retail to ministry and missions. I was still working with and leading people but the “how” had to change. Now, I needed to be more involved in the lives of people. I had to walk with them, help them in times of conflict and struggle, evaluate their strengths and weaknesses, develop ways to empower and teach, and find ways to be beneficial to them as much as they were beneficial to me.

What I discovered was that I needed to focus more on learning about people. I needed to understand personality types, culture types, subculture types, and generational differences. The greatest discovery I’ve made, one that’s effected everything I strive for, is the power of community. When someone has a sense of belonging to a community and that the community sees them as an accepted member – collectively they can and will accomplish greatness.

I am once again in an industry that was a large part of my life years ago – retail. And, as I once again work in leadership I know that how I communicate, encourage, empower, discipline, train, etc… will be much deeper and more effective than I was in the past.

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