Handy- Types of Culture

Handy- Types of Culture
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Handy- Types of Culture

Culture is the complex, diverse, and fascinating tapestry that binds human societies together. It is a broad term that encompasses the myriad ways in which humans interact with the world, shape their environments, and express their beliefs, values, and traditions. Culture is dynamic and ever-evolving, with new practices and ideas emerging and old ones being adapted or discarded over time. The study of culture is an intriguing field that offers insights into human behavior, social structures, and our rich history.

Traditional Culture

Traditional culture refers to the long-standing beliefs, values, and practices that are passed down from one generation to the next within a society. It is often rooted in a community’s history, customs, and shared experiences over a long period. Traditional cultures typically exhibit a strong sense of continuity and are resistant to rapid change. They are characterized by a deep respect for ancestors, elders, and established traditions.

Examples of traditional cultures can be found in indigenous communities around the world, such as the Native American tribes of North America or the Aboriginal communities of Australia. These cultures often have a rich oral history, with stories, legends, and knowledge transmitted verbally from generation to generation. They may also have specific rituals, ceremonies, and practices related to important life events, seasonal changes, or spiritual beliefs.

In traditional cultures, social structures and hierarchies tend to be well-defined, with clear roles and responsibilities for different members of the community. Family ties and kinship networks are usually strong, and decisions are often made collectively for the benefit of the group. Change and innovation are approached with caution, as they are believed to potentially disrupt the balance and harmony of the community.

However, it is important to note that traditional cultures are not static. They evolve and adapt to changing circumstances, albeit at a slower pace compared to other types of cultures. For instance, many traditional cultures have incorporated modern technologies or adopted new economic practices while retaining their core values and beliefs.

Modern Culture

Modern culture, as the name suggests, is associated with contemporary societies and the cultural norms, practices, and beliefs that have emerged in the context of industrialization, globalization, and technological advancements. It is characterized by rapid change, innovation, and a focus on individualism and personal freedom. Modern cultures are highly dynamic and reflect the diverse and ever-shifting nature of urban, industrialized societies.

A key aspect of modern culture is the emphasis on rationality, science, and technological progress. It values efficiency, productivity, and the pursuit of material success. Individualism is a prominent feature, with a strong focus on personal achievements, autonomy, and self-expression. In modern cultures, social relationships and communities tend to be more fluid and less structured than in traditional cultures, allowing individuals greater freedom to choose their associations and define their identities.

The arts, media, and entertainment industries play a significant role in shaping modern culture. They provide platforms for creative expression, influence social norms and values, and contribute to a shared sense of identity within a society. Mass media, in particular, has had a profound impact on modern culture, shaping attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions through television, film, music, and social media.

However, modern culture also has its challenges. The rapid pace of change can lead to a sense of alienation or disconnection, and the focus on individualism can sometimes result in a lack of community and social cohesion. Despite these challenges, modern cultures continue to evolve and adapt, shaping the lives of people in industrialized nations and increasingly, through globalization, influencing cultures worldwide.

Western Culture

Western culture refers to the broad set of cultural norms, values, and practices that originated in Europe and, through colonization and cultural influence, spread to North America, Australia, New Zealand, and other parts of the world. It is a diverse and multifaceted category that encompasses a wide range of societies and historical periods. Western culture has had a significant impact on global affairs, shaping political, economic, and social systems worldwide.

Individualism is a key characteristic of Western culture, with a strong emphasis on personal freedom, autonomy, and self-reliance. This is reflected in political systems that promote democracy, human rights, and personal liberty. The nuclear family is the predominant family structure, with a focus on personal achievement and self-actualization.

Rationality, scientific inquiry, and a secular worldview are also prominent features of Western culture. The Enlightenment, a philosophical movement of the 17th and 18th centuries, played a significant role in shaping these aspects, emphasizing reason and empirical evidence over tradition and religious dogma. This has led to significant advancements in science, technology, and medicine, with Western cultures often at the forefront of innovation.

In terms of social interactions, Western cultures tend to value direct communication, assertiveness, and a results-oriented approach. Social norms and manners are important and vary across different countries and regions. Western cultures are also known for their diverse artistic and literary traditions, with a rich history of influential writers, artists, and composers.

It is worth noting that the term “Western culture” itself is a generalization, and there are significant variations within this category. Different Western countries and regions have their unique histories, traditions, and cultural expressions. Moreover, the influence of globalization and migration has led to increasing cultural diversity within Western societies, shaping and enriching their cultural landscapes.

Eastern Culture

Eastern culture is a broad term used to describe the cultural traditions and practices of the countries of East Asia, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, as well as South Asia, encompassing India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and neighboring countries. This diverse region is home to some of the world’s oldest and most influential civilizations, with a rich history that has shaped the cultural landscape of the East.

A key characteristic of Eastern culture is the importance placed on collectivism and social harmony. In many Eastern societies, the well-being of the group is prioritized over individual desires, and strong family and community bonds are valued. Respect for elders, ancestors, and established traditions is also a prominent feature. Filial piety, the virtue of respect for one’s parents and elders, is a fundamental concept in many Eastern cultures.

Spiritual and religious beliefs also play a significant role in Eastern culture. Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism are some of the major religious and philosophical traditions that have shaped the region. These beliefs have influenced social structures, moral values, and artistic expressions. For example, the concept of karma and reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism has had a profound impact on societal attitudes and behaviors.

Eastern cultures are known for their rich artistic and cultural heritage. Calligraphy, painting, sculpture, and performing arts such as dance and theater have a long history in the region. Eastern philosophies and spiritual practices have also influenced the development of martial arts, meditation techniques, and traditional medicine. The importance of balance, harmony, and a connection with nature is evident in many aspects of Eastern culture.

As with Western culture, it is important to recognize the diversity within Eastern cultures. Each country and region has its unique traditions, languages, and historical influences. Moreover, modernization and globalization have led to significant cultural changes, with Eastern societies adapting and blending traditional values with modern practices and influences from the West.

National Culture

National culture refers to the unique set of beliefs, values, customs, and behaviors that characterize a specific nation or country. It is shaped by a variety of factors, including history, language, religion, political systems, and shared experiences among the citizens of a nation. National cultures exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from other countries and contribute to a sense of national identity and unity.

Language is a key element of national culture, with many countries having an official language or languages that are widely spoken by the majority of the population. Language influences not only communication but also thought patterns, worldviews, and social interactions. It can be a powerful unifier and a source of national pride. Similarly, shared historical experiences, such as wars, revolutions, or significant social movements, shape national cultures and contribute to a collective memory and sense of identity.

Traditions and customs also play a significant role in national cultures. These may include specific holidays, festivals, culinary traditions, and social norms that are unique to a particular country. For example, the United States is known for its celebration of Thanksgiving, a holiday with deep historical roots that is widely observed across the nation. National cultures may also exhibit distinct styles in art, architecture, music, and literature, reflecting the unique creative expressions of a country’s artists and intellectuals.

In addition, political systems and ideologies influence national cultures. Democratic values, freedom of speech, and civic participation may be important aspects of one national culture, while another may emphasize hierarchical structures, collective decision-making, and a strong central authority. Economic systems and practices also shape national cultures, with varying attitudes toward entrepreneurship, social welfare, and the role of the state in the economy.

Organizational Culture

Organizational culture refers to the values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors that characterize a particular workplace or institution. It shapes how individuals interact, make decisions, and carry out their work within an organization. Organizational culture is influenced by the company’s mission, leadership style, policies, and the collective attitudes and behaviors of its employees. Understanding organizational culture is crucial for effective management and achieving organizational goals.

One key aspect of organizational culture is the set of shared values and beliefs that guide employee behavior and decision-making. These values may include a focus on customer satisfaction, innovation, teamwork, or ethical conduct. They provide a sense of direction and influence how employees prioritize tasks and approach their work. For example, a company that values innovation may encourage risk-taking and experimentation, fostering a culture of creativity and forward-thinking.

Leadership style also plays a significant role in shaping organizational culture. A top-down, authoritative leadership style can create a culture of hierarchy and structure, while a more participative leadership approach may lead to a culture that values collaboration and employee empowerment. The policies, procedures, and systems implemented by the organization further reinforce the culture, providing guidelines for appropriate behavior and decision-making.

Organizational culture also influences the level of employee engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction. A positive organizational culture that values employee well-being, recognizes achievements, and promotes open communication can lead to higher levels of employee satisfaction and retention. On the other hand, a toxic organizational culture characterized by micromanagement, excessive competition, or a lack of ethical standards can negatively impact employee mental health and productivity.


Subcultures are distinct groups within a larger society that share a set of beliefs, values, or practices that set them apart from the dominant culture. They often arise as a result of shared interests, identities, or experiences that are not fully represented or accommodated by mainstream culture. Subcultures provide a sense of belonging and community for individuals who identify with their specific characteristics or ideals.

Subcultciela cultures can be based on a variety of factors, including age, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, hobbies or interests, and social class. For example, the punk subculture, which emerged in the 1970s, is characterized by a distinct style of music, fashion, and anti-establishment attitudes. Similarly, the hip-hop subculture, which originated in African-American and Latino communities in the 1970s, encompasses a unique set of musical, artistic, and dance styles, as well as specific language and fashion choices.

Subcultures often develop their norms, values, and symbols that set them apart from the mainstream. They may have their language, dress styles, rituals, and forms of artistic expression. These distinctive features serve as a means of identity and solidarity among members of the subculture. Subcultures can also provide a sense of empowerment and a platform for marginalized groups to express their voices and challenge societal norms.

The influence of subcultures can be seen in various aspects of society, including fashion, music, literature, and language. They can shape social trends, spark new artistic movements, and even influence mainstream culture. For example, the LGBTQ+ community has had a significant impact on social attitudes toward gender and sexual diversity, and their cultural contributions have enriched the arts, entertainment, and social activism.

Hybrid Culture

Hybrid culture emerges when two or more distinct cultures come into contact and influence each other, leading to a blending of traditions, values, and practices. This cultural mixing, also known as cultural syncretism, often occurs as a result of migration, colonization, globalization, or the convergence of different communities within a society. Hybrid cultures exhibit a unique blend of characteristics from their source cultures, creating something new and distinct.

A well-known example of a hybrid culture is Creole culture, which developed in colonial-era Louisiana, USA. It is a blend of French, African, Spanish, Native American, and other influences, resulting in unique traditions, language, music, and cuisine. Similarly, the Métis people of Canada, with roots in both Indigenous and European cultures, have developed their distinct language, customs, and cultural identity.

Globalization has accelerated the development of hybrid cultures, as increasing interconnectedness between nations and communities leads to cultural exchange and blending. Food is often a prominent aspect of hybrid cultures, with fusion cuisines combining ingredients and cooking techniques from different traditions. Music, art, and fashion are also areas where hybridization is common, reflecting the creative fusion of diverse cultural influences.

Hybrid cultures can be found in many parts of the world, reflecting the complex and dynamic nature of cultural interactions. They are a testament to the adaptability and creativity of human societies, as people draw on multiple cultural influences to shape their identities and expressions. Hybrid cultures challenge the notion of distinct cultural boundaries and showcase the richness that arises from cultural diversity and exchange.

Digital Culture

Digital culture refers to the set of social norms, behaviors, and practices that have emerged in the context of digital technologies and the internet. It encompasses the ways in which people interact, communicate, and create communities in the digital realm. Digital culture is shaped by the unique characteristics of online environments, including anonymity, accessibility, and the ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and locations.

One of the key aspects of digital culture is the shift towards online communities and virtual interactions. People form connections and build communities based on shared interests, identities, or passions, often transcending geographical boundaries. Social media platforms, online forums, and gaming communities are examples of digital spaces where individuals come together to share ideas, express themselves, and seek a sense of belonging.

Digital culture also influences language and communication. The use of emojis, acronyms, and slang in online communication has led to the development of a unique digital lexicon. Additionally, the instant and widespread sharing of information in the digital realm has impacted news consumption, knowledge dissemination, and the spread of cultural trends. Memes, viral videos, and online challenges are examples of how digital culture shapes popular trends and influences social behaviors.

The creation and consumption of digital media is another significant aspect of digital culture. From streaming movies and music to producing and sharing user-generated content, digital media plays a central role in how people entertain, inform, and express themselves. Digital technologies have also expanded access to cultural content, allowing people to explore and engage with a diverse range of artistic and creative expressions from around the world.

Global Culture

Global culture refers to the increasing interconnectedness and homogenization of cultures worldwide, driven by processes of globalization, international trade, and the spread of mass media. It involves the diffusion and blending of cultural elements across national and regional boundaries, leading to the emergence of shared values, practices, and consumer behaviors on a global scale. Global culture is characterized by the spread of Western influences, the dominance of English as a global language, and the rise of transnational corporations and media conglomerates.

Globalization has facilitated the spread of Western cultural products, including films, television shows, music, fashion, and food, to all corners of the globe. This has led to a degree of cultural homogenization, with local cultures adopting and adapting Western elements. For example, the popularity of American fast-food chains and Hollywood films in various countries illustrates the influence of global culture.

English has become the dominant language of global communication, business, and media. This has contributed to the spread of Western cultural values and practices, as well as the global exchange of ideas, information, and popular culture. However, it is important to note that the spread of global culture does not always occur in a one-way flow from West to East or from developed to developing countries. Local cultures also influence and shape global culture, leading to a complex interplay of influences.

The rise of multinational corporations and media conglomerates has further contributed to the spread of global culture. These entities have the power to shape cultural trends, consumer behaviors, and social norms on a worldwide scale. Their products, services, and messages reach vast audiences, influencing tastes, aspirations, and lifestyles across diverse societies.


The world is a tapestry of diverse cultures, each with its unique characteristics, traditions, and expressions. The types of culture we have explored in this article provide a framework for understanding the complex and dynamic nature of human societies. From traditional cultures rooted in history and continuity to modern cultures shaped by rapid change and individualism, and from national cultures with their distinct identities to the emerging digital cultures of the online world, each type offers a window into the richness and variety of human experience.

Recognizing and valuing cultural diversity is essential for fostering understanding, tolerance, and mutual respect among people from different backgrounds. As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, it is crucial to appreciate the beauty and value of different cultures and to recognize that cultural exchange and hybridization can lead to new and exciting forms of expression. Embracing cultural diversity enriches our lives, broadens our perspectives, and contributes to a more harmonious and inclusive global community.


Handy- Types of Culture

In 1978, in his book “GODS OF MANAGEMENT” Charles Handy suggested four types of culture:




Power culture

Power culture is centralized culture where authority comes  from the individual  who has authority and  control the over organization. This  person is normally CEO/ founder of the organization.  Handy in his book compare power  culture with the spider web , the owner of the business holding the powers of the core of culture like the spider in the web.


  • decision making is highly centralized
  • limited delegation of power
  • The boss follow the “TELL” rule and expect worker to follow the orders



Role culture

In this culture are individual has to perform his role within rules and regulations.  This culture  is more likely to bureaucratic culture, where every person has to follow instructions from the seniors and has to follow it.

Handy compared the role culture with pyramid of  boxes .These boxes are persons performing job  roles.  Each box perform its role and hence pyramid is ideally completed.  If a person leaves the organization the box will be replaced by  another person  in the pyramid  and hence pyramid is again  completed.

The role of culture is only suitable for slowly changing businesses or work units of the company.  This is because each person is trained to perform his role in fixed way and persons are not capable to vary their role according to changing environment


Task culture

This structure focus on output of tasks provided . Teams are formed, tasks are given to them and timely and efficient completion is the basis of the determination of rewards.  Teams who perform their tasks timely and accurately are rewarded with high monetary packages




  • High packages for experts
  • Performance is based on output
  • Initiates creativity in individuals



Person culture

This culture can be seen in small entities like sole traders and partnerships.  The purpose is to guard interests of one individual.  In larger organizations this culture is unlikely to exist, but it can be observe in any department of organization