Friday, November 06, 2009
"Micro-culture" is very important to how we behave and react
Most of the discussion of Malcolm Gladwell's book, "Outliers," has focused on the role which chance plays in success and the fact that each of us seems to need 10,000 hours to become really proficient at anything, whether sports or music, computer programming or chess. Another interesting part of the book discusses the role culture plays in so much else. In cultures where there is a huge status difference between superior and subordinate, there is a tendency for more airline accidents, because the First Officer is less likely to question the Captain. As we might suspect the cultures with the least awareness of heirarch are countries such as Australia, New Zealand, The USA and South Africa, whereas Asian countries have the greatest hierarchical awareness. This will also apply to other areas such as business, government or education. Change will be more difficutl in a culture in which subordinates are reluctant to challenge authority or received wisdom.