Becoming culturally aware, however, requires understanding what “culture” means.
“’Culture’ is very dynamic and complex,” says Dr. Patty Goodman, cross-cultural communication faculty lead for Northeastern’s Master of Science in Corporate and Organizational Communication program. “It has to come from the individual perspective and go all the way through to the macro perspective.”
Take your office, for example. Your personal culture may be a different ethnic or regional culture from your colleagues. What unites the team is an overarching organizational culture that’s based on a particular mission statement and set of values. Through that mission statement, you’ve focused, as a company, on particular audiences—ones that might be intergenerational and becoming increasingly more global. It’s likely you’re then communicating with people from various locations, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds.
Unpacking the different layers and nuances of culture is important to cultivating awareness, both of who you are and the role you play in your organization, but also of the role your team members and organization plays to the world.