Six Levels Of Culture, One Approach


Cultural norms and behaviors that are expected, reinforced and rewarded exist at the individual, team, functional, national, identity group and organizational levels. All six levels of culture need to be recognized for their contributions to behavior, and any of the six levels can contribute to challenges in the workplace.

With the six levels of culture model, we can understand the forces at work when, for example:

  • A team values different behaviors than the organization of which it is part
  • When an individual has different preferences from the dominant ones of the country he or she lives in
  • When people from a certain identity group within a department get along better with each other because of common orientations.

The six levels of culture model helps us understand the different forces that influence different kinds of groups.

The six levels of culture model is just one tool within the broader Cultural Orientations Approach, which helps us understand more clearly the unspoken cultural ties that bind people and groups together and influence their behavioral norms. The power of the Cultural Orientations Approach lies in its versatility and extensive prospects for use. We can, with one approach, create conversations, develop skills and offer solutions to any of the challenges posed at any level of culture.

Lynne Tarter