Hofstede’s Onion Model vs. Schein’s model


Symbols are any kind of pictures, objects, gestures, or words which carry a particular meaning only recognized by the members of one culture. To the category of symbols belong:
• words, idioms, jargon, accent
• flags, status symbols
• brand names, clothes, hair style, colours, pins…

Heroes are role models possessing characteristics that are highly prized in a culture. They can be alive, dead, real, or imaginary. Almost anybody can function as a hero:
• sport, music, or movie stars (e.g. Madonna)
• politicians and historical people (e.g. Abraham Lincoln)
• cartoon heroes, heroes from books (e.g. Harry Potter)
• people from one’s own family (e.g. one’s own father or mother)

Rituals are conventionalized behaviour patterns that are occur in particular situations. Examples for rituals are business meetings, church services, morning routine. These are activities which are take place on a regular basis in a particular course.
Rituals play also a significant role in language:
• small-talks
• greetings
• agreeing and disagreeing

Values are “the core of culture”. (Hofstede ) They are taught in early childhood and most important for one’s decision what is right or wrong. Values can also be seen as priorities, things we like most and choose before others. Personal values differ among the members of one culture but are normally respected by all of them.

Schein’s model of organizational culture originated in the 80’s. Schein (2004) identifies three distinct levels in organizational cultures:

1. artifacts and behaviors
2. espoused values
3. assumptions

The three levels refer to the layers of corporate culture.
• Artifacts include any tangible or verbally identifiable elements in an organization. Architecture, furniture, dress code, office jokes, and history all exemplify organizational artifacts.

• Values are the organization’s stated or desired cultural elements. This is most often a written or stated tone that the CEO or President hope to exude throughout the office environment. Examples of this would be employee professionalism, or a “family first” mantra.

• Assumptions are the actual values that the culture represents, not necessarily correlated to the values. These assumptions are typically so well integrated in the office dynamic that they are hard to recognize from within.


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