Just as a building is constructed through bricks, a culture is made up of cultural traits. A trait is a unit and this unit may be a physical object (e.g., a helicopter), a thing (e.g. , a women bowl) or a symbol of normative behavior (e.g., greeting a guest with folded hands). Most traits are related to other traits and fit into a trait complex which is a system of interrelated traits that function together as s unit. A number of trait complexes together constitute a cultural pattern. Cultural traits, cultural complexes and cultural patterns together reflect the organization of a culture.
On the basis of traits, cultures may be classified as follows:
1. Masculine and Feminine Cultures: A masculine culture appreciates aggressiveness and assertiveness where as a feminine culture values interpersonal relationships. Masculine culture is said to be more conductive to success in business. Generally, a society exhibits both masculine and feminine traits.
2. Individualistic vs. Collectivistic: Some cultures like that of USA are individual oriented while others like that of Japan and India are more community oriented.
3. Monochronic vs. Polychronic: Developed countries have monochronic culture. In such culture. Time is used in a sequential manner – one thing at a time. In developing countries, culture is polychromic where in time is used to accomplish diverse goals simultaneously.
4. Neutral vs. Emotional: In a neutral culture, emotions are held in check whereas in emotionalculture, emotions are expressed in an open and natural manner.
5. Low Context vs. High Context: In a low context culture, focus is on tangible aspects of a business transaction, e.g. facts and figures. But in a high context, culture intangible aspects such as personal relationships, religion and attitudes are given importance in addition to facts and figures.