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Define the terms culture and cultural norms


It is difficult to give an exact definition of culture but here are three definitions from cultural researchers:

  • Lonner (1995): Culture can be defined as the common rules that regulate interactions and behavior in a group as well as a number of shared values and attitudes in the group.
  • Hofstede (1995): Culture can be defined as a collective mental programming that is the “software of the mind” that guides a group of people in their daily interactions and distinguishes them from other groups of people.
  • Matsumoto (2004): Culture can be defined as a dynamic system of rules, explicit and implicit, established by groups in order to ensure their survival, involving attitudes, values, beliefs, norms, and behaviors.

Cultural norms


  • Cultural norms can be defined as the rules that a specific group uses for stating what is seen as appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, values, beliefs, and attitudes.
  • Cultural norms give people a sense of order and control in their lives as well as a sense of safety and belonging. Cultural norms may encompass communication style, whom to marry and how, child-rearing practices, or interaction between generations.
  • Cultural norms can be explicit (e.g. legal codes) or implicit (i.e. conventional practices and rituals).