Where does culture reside? Culture is a property of a group. Whenever a group has enough common experience, a culture begins to form. One finds cultures at the level of small teams, families, and work groups. Cultures are found at every hierarchical level. Culture exists at the level of the whole organization if there is sufficient shared history. That is why understanding of corporate or organizational culture becomes an integral part of the understanding of the organization itself.

It is even found at the level of a whole industry because of the shared occupational backgrounds of the people industry-wide. Finally, culture exists at the level of regions and nations because of common language, ethnic background, religion, and shared experience. But if you spend the bulk of your life in a given occupation and organization, you not only take on many of the cultural themes that others in the occupation or organization share, but they can very well be well formed assumptions and may elude your awareness. And there lies the real power of culture, this unconscious quality for sure!

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