What is culture, actually?
That is not so easy to answer. Everyone has a feeling for what his or her culture is. Very often “culture” is equated with “national cultures”. I have written on my website that I base my offers on the dynamic concept of culture. In my work as a coach and trainer, “culture” differs from what is often understood by it in everyday life: culture is created, not alone, but by a group of people, together and in an ongoing process.
The boundaries of a culture are not fixed, but are also drawn anew again and again, with sometimes overlapping, unclear and blurred lines, so they are co-constructed. For example, there could be a female and male culture or a rural and an urban culture, a culture of youth, an organizational culture, a departmental culture, etc. It is therefore always the question, in which context culture is relevant at the specific moment of communication with the specific people and how it affects everyone concerned. There is a huge potential in this basic assumption: we can consciously help shape culture.
The dynamic concept of culture is based on the assumption that people belong not only to one (national) culture of origin but to several subcultures and that, depending on the situation, one or the other level will be more important. For example, two tennis players meeting could completely eclipse the fact that one of them is Indian, female and urban and the other person is Chinese-British, from London and young. And there is huge potential in this basic assumption: We can consciously co-decide which side of our cultural identity we want to put in the foreground, and which side of our counterpart’s cultural identity we prefer to perceive or emphasize.