The underlying structure of culture: Applying the tri-axial and quadraxial model of Values in explaining culture integration and diversification

Simon Landau Dolan, Zahra Solouki

Producció científica: Contribució a una conferènciaContribució


By simple definition, individual values serve as guide to a person's intentions and actions. Thus the nature of the values is a crucial factor in the impact that culture will have on organizational or societal effectiveness. One way to define culture is by focusing on the shared values amongst a group of people. Numerous scholars propose that values are the basis for which we act and make decisions; thus non-sharing of values can lead to disagreements and conflicts and by contrast, sharing them can lead to common agreements and conflict resolution. Culture diversity is an emerging concept. Many agree that diversity can promote innovativeness and help a community become more effective. However, the paradigm of diversity depends on managing it. An unmanaged diverse culture can lead to conflicts and lack of cohesion and eventually destroy a unit/organization or a larger community. In order to measure culture diversity and culture congruence, Dolan S.L. Garcia S., Richley B., (2006) Managing by values: corporate guide to living, being alive and making a living in the XXI century. London. Palgrave Macmillan. (2006), have proposed an innovative triaxial model. The latter advocates a parsimonious manner to measure the key facets of culture in three complementary dimensions. In addition to the concept, they have also developed (and validated) instruments to measure it. In this presentation, we will introduce the three dimensional Triaxial model, which includes the following: 1) Ethical- social axis 2) Economic- pragmatic axis, and 3) Emotional- developmental axis. Assuming that the universe of culture represent a zero-sum game , the three axis of the triaxial model represent the culture universe for each person. Analyzing the facets can indicate either a state of common shared culture or alternatively a diverse culture. The model has two underlying assumptions. One is that each individual has its own hierarchy of values measured in terms of its respective proportional triangle. This is to say that each individual has a different triangle and connected to each axis are some key core values. The other assumption is that congruence and clarity of the underlying values can explain individual predisposition to behave. Therefore, a tool has been developed to measure the relative values which are important to each individual. Analyzing it in relations to a reference group provides a snapshot of the culture and helps detect the level of sharing (i.e. integration) or incongruence (i.e. diversification). The second part of the presentation, will be an attempt to go beyond Dolan et al (2006) triaxial model, in exploring the rational for adding a fourth dimension, tentatively labeled "Spiritual axis". It will be argued that adding this axis enriches and expands the construct validity of the universe of culture. While Emotional dimension focuses more on the feelings, attitudes, and traits in individuals, spiritual values would focus on people at another level, where they create the significance of their being. Unlike other values, spiritual values need not always have the characteristics of instrumentality. We will explore this new perspective and provide a framework for perhaps justifying the need to change the triaxial model of culture which has been widely used in many organizations into a quadraxial model where values such as life purpose, virtue, altruism, unity, truth, and hope are some attributes of it. The underlying hypothesis for the need to measure the Spiritual values with the other values specified in the triaxial model is summarized in the figure bellow.
Idioma originalAnglès
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 24 de jul. 2010
EsdevenimentThe International Conference on Multiculturalism and Global Community, Tehran 2010 -
Durada: 24 de jul. 201027 de jul. 2010


ConferènciaThe International Conference on Multiculturalism and Global Community, Tehran 2010


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