The Cultural Web: It is common for groups to follow specific rituals and routines that reflect their heritage, values or beliefs. The ritual found within my own family is the weekly Sunday dinner hosted by the matriarch and patriarch of the family. This is part of the cultural system of our family as it reflects our values as a family (Palmer, Dunford, & Buchanan 2017).
The Paradigm: I was raised to believe that your family is the most important people in your life, and they will not always be here. It is important to maintain those family ties, which is the basis of the weekly Sunday dinner: to gather with our loved ones and enjoy an excellent meal at the same time.
Rituals and Routines: The matriarch of my family, my grandmother starts preparing the big Sunday dinner after she returns from her morning church services. Dinner is always served promptly at 4 pm. Invitations are not required; everyone knows to attend. Unexpected guests are also welcomed. My grandparents always make sure that there is room for everyone, even if it means using folding chairs to accommodate everyone.
Stories: It is a great time to catch up with everyone in the family, laugh joke, have fun and enjoy each other’s company.
Symbols: The Lenox platters my grandmother uses to serve the food are symbolic of the weekly Sunday dinners as she only uses them for Sunday dinners, holiday meals, and other special occasions meals. When she retrieves them from the china closet, we know that it is for an important event.
Control Systems: Attendance at the dinner is not mandatory, but it is a happy obligation that my family loves to fulfill. The enjoyment of having engaging conversations over a wonderful homecooked meal with our loved ones make Sundays a day to look forward to.
Power Structures: The Sunday dinners take place in my grandparents’ home. They are fully in charge and we show respect by doing as they ask and helping with the after-dinner cleanup.
Organizational Structure: My grandparents’ home has always been a sanctuary for our entire family.
Hofstede’s Framework: In the context of Hofstede’s six dimensions, each applies to our family’s Sunday dinners. Individualism: We all exist as both members of the family and as individuals with our own lives; Power distance: We understand our grandparents are in charge; Masculinity: Our grandfather meted out punishment when we misbehaved as kids; Uncertainty avoidance: We are not always sure of what directions our lives should take, but our grandparents support us regardless; Long-term orientation: Our lives change, but we hold fast to our rituals; Indulgence: Being with family is one of the greatest pleasures we enjoy (“The 6-D Model,” n.d.).
Palmer, I., Dunford, R. & Buchanan, D. A. (2017). Managing organizational change (3rd ed.) Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin.
The 6-D model of national culture. (n.d.). Geert Hofstede. Retrieved from: https://geerthofstede.com/culture-geert-hofstede-gert-jan-hofstede/6d-model-of-national-culture/