Are Cultures Converging or Diverging?


The notion of culture emerged for the first time in the course of the 18th century. The term ‘Culture’ does not take a fixed definition. This is because cultures vary from people to people, place to place, profession to profession, just to mention a few. The way people attribute things will then tend to differ based on their refinement.

This ascription will be positive if it emerges from ‘similar’ people. They should either be of the same origin or sharing the same occupation, otherwise it will be negative. For instance, psychologists view culture on the basis of acuity clarifying the issue of thinking styles as either influential or inferential.

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Sociologists view it in terms of the social structures whereas anthropologists define it in terms of the life patterns. Other fields like business combine some of these views together in pursuit of a working definition of culture. Harris, defines culture as “the cumulative deposit of knowledge, beliefs, values, religion, customs and mores acquired by a group and passed on from generation to generation” (25).

Culture can be divergent or convergent. While cultural convergence denotes the coming together of other cultures, cultural divergence is the reverse; one culture gives rise to different cultures. There is a debate on whether cultures are diverging or converging but following the issue of globalization, which has brought people together boosting commonness rather than diversity, it stands out that cultures are converging.

Literature Review

“The most significant moment in the course of intellectual development, which gives birth to the purely human forms of practical and abstract intelligence, occurs when speech and practical activity, two previously completely independent lines of development, converge” (Vygotsky 23).

A major factor that maintained the great cultural distance in the past was language. It was used to identify the culture of the people.

They stuck to one language showing no interest on any other but there arose some other factors forcing them to welcome other cultures as well as giving out theirs. This was in the case of intermarriage, a booster of cultural convergence, which required their knowledge of other languages and hence cultures.

“Some writers argue that in line with societies, businesses will become more alike” (Brewster & Tyson 69). For instance, IKEA provides a good illustration of this.

It has a travel focused culture with more than 20000 travellers. “…Ikea rapidly increased its global market share during the past decade” (Darson Para. 4). This is no more than cultural convergence in which the business’ travel culture is realized everywhere by people.

The physical environment was a major factor that barred cultural convergence. Japan, in a few centuries was inaccessible following its rugged topography as well as its location. Trade was just within the country but owing to the improved infrastructure and technology, it is accessible trading with all the countries around the globe.

The American cooperation, Wal-mart is a business with 8500 go-downs in various countries. This business has brought together people bearing different business cultures, all of which converge to one, the culture of the wal-mat business. This has encouraged the growth of a common global market that brings together a variety of cultures, improving cultural commonality rather than diversity.

“Social systems will respond to common stimuli in similar ways” (Roomkin & Tyson 217). It is true that the society is shaped by culture but following the issue of ethnocentricity, where people show pride to their cultures wherever they are, it turns to be a major factor that attracts other people into yearning to familiarize themselves with these variety of cultures that the people depict and by so doing, they are welcoming cultural convergence.

According to Williams, the preface of technology brings all countries together, in sharing the newest inventions (88). This is evident because virtually everywhere people are enjoying the same means of communication, transport, just to mention a few.

The internet culture is all over with job managers applying it as a means of recruiting people. According to bloom and Calori, the rising education system is to a large extent fighting cultural divergence (Para. 4). It has become so broad that students from diverse cultural backgrounds are meeting in common study venues in pursuit of academic knowledge. This is an issue evident in all the institutions of learning around the globe.

This on the other hand is encouraging them to learn from one another the various cultures each holds. In addition, culture in itself is a subject in many institutions. Students are required to learn the various existing cultures, a situation that either changes or modifies theirs in pursuit of a common one.

“Cultural differences in managerial attitudes and methods will fade with time and exposure to different cultures” (Kerr 241). This is in support of the ever emerging technology that is allowing people to carry out activities in almost the same way though bearing different cultural backgrounds.

Religious issues, regardless of the faith are almost carried out the same. People have adopted a culture of being elegant and avoiding any sort of vulgar language when observing religious matters. Huo and Huang claims that politics styles have taken another shape (35).

They were varied per society a few centuries ago but of late have registered a significant difference. Politicians have adopted the campaigning method rather than waiting to be appointed as it was before.

This signifies a dilution of political diversity. Then political methods have converged into almost one. This is no more than a sign that the world is heading to a common political cultural destination.


The above propositions depict how much traditions have been influenced by modernity. It stands out that diversity of everything, culture, education, technology, among others, is passing away gradually, giving way to commonness where virtually all is done or viewed from a common angle.

This is a proof that cultures are significantly converging. This convergence is an added advantage for those in the transport sector business. It is becoming quite easy for them to enjoy the common market arising from globalization. They are able to go anywhere in pursuit of their businesses.

Works Cited

Bloom, Mitchell & Calori, Rein. “Euro management: a new style for the Global market” London, HHA, 1994.

Brewster, Carl & Tyson Sminn. “International Comparisons in HRM” London: Pitman Publishing, 1991.

Harris, Moran. “Diverging and Converging Culture” London: Merry Hill, 2004, P. 25.

Huo, Yurt & Huang, Hing. “Divergence or convergence: a cross-national” London: Maxwell Press, 2002 vol. 41 (1).

Kerr, Kate. “International Comparisons in HRM” London: Pitman Publishing, 1991, p.241.

Roomkin, Jig &Tyson Sminn. “International Comparisons in HRM” London: Pitman Publishing, 1991, p. 217.

Vygotsky, Ming. “A Brief Overview of a Theory and Method for Second Language Acquisition.” West Virginia: W, VA Press, 2003.

Williams, Sue. “Convergence, Divergence or ‘A Middle Way’?” New York Publishers, 2009.

Darson, Lauren. “Ikea Tackles Travel Culture with Mtgs” Cambridge: MA, 2009


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