Defining Culture – Impacting Our World

Special Editions

June 2022

Edited By Huib Wursten


Huib Wursten, huibwursten@gmail.com

Eric Alexander DeGroot,  eric.alexander.degroot@gmail.com

The Mission Of The Culture Impact Journal:

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Colophon: Editing board:

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Table of content Culture and Nation Building:

Editorial : Huib Wursten

Chris Cartwright, Sultana Parvanta: Nation-Building: Applying Frames of Analysis a Case Study of Afghanistan.

Fernando Lanzer: So, you want to build a nation?

Huib Wursten: Mental images and nation-building.

Luc Zwaenepoel: Culture and Nation-building in Africa.

Thom Imfeld: The Bani world and nation-building.

Martin Karaffa: Samaritans and good nations.



The concept of culture is ambiguous. It is applied to art as well as to civilization and shared values.

In policy-making, it is seldomly used as a real issue that should be taken into account. At the same time, empirical research findings show that culture identifies the most fundamental subconscious value preferences that steer behavior. These value preferences are like gravity. Difficult to observe directly. But, to quote Cruijff, a famous sports star: “you see it the moment you know it.”

This special is on the influence of these “subconscious value preferences” on nation-building. This influence is described from different angles. Some of the authors analyze a specific area: Afghanistan ( Cartwright and Sultana Parvanta), Africa ( Zwaenepoel)
Some are writing about the influence of culture on policy development( Lanzer, Wursten), and some are describing a specific aspect of nation-building (Infield: the BANI world, Karaffa: Samaritans and good nations)

All in all, a rich special!

Chris Cartwright, Sultana Parvanta:

Nation-Building: Applying Frames of Analysis a Case Study of Afghanistan


We live in a time where the peoples of the world are both highly interconnected, interdependent, and fraught with uncertainty. This makes us all aware of and even engaged in the trauma occurring so frequently in the world. It also brings us viscerally, morally, and emotionally close to the myriad of differences that societies inculcate. In crises, when a nation has suffered greatly it may need support, guidance, and even blueprints to reorganize or reform the nation’s vision, mission, and trajectory in order to rebuild as a nation. Many take up the call, and with good intentions extend themselves in support. But do they (the nation needing support, the agency, and the people offering support) realize the layers of complexity they are about to engage? Are they prepared to find the nature of their involvement and parameters for partnership, much less negotiate for reciprocal outcomes? In this essay, we explore an example of a successful nation-building endeavor that was enacted in Afghanistan and examine it from several frames including the contexts of complex geo-political issues, and internal atmospherics, as well as trust, culture, and cultural competencies, and leadership. Using appreciative inquiry (Cooperrider & Whitney, 2005) as an entrée to the work, we examine this case of success and then share the challenges for this work based on the frames noted above. Our goal is to offer the reader some points of reflection points to consider as they may embark on this ever-present dilemma in a world full of crises.

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Fernando Lanzer:

So, you want to build a nation?


The recipe for nation-building is easy: just follow the same core process that you might use to change an organization, or to change an individual. Simply describe the current situation, describe the desired situation, and make a detailed plan of how you intend to go from the former to the latter. Anyone (or any group of powerful and influential people) should be capable of carrying out the recipe, as long as they have the discipline to address these three aspects with enough depth of analysis and broad vision. The difficulty begins with being aware of your own bias as a potential nation-builder. Sadly, most politicians and public policy designers involved in nation-building are completely clueless about culture, its impact, and their own biases. Using Huib Wursten’s Mental Images (1) as a reference can prove to be very helpful to understand the key issues involved.

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Huib Wursten:

Mental images and nation-building. The Pyramid system


Most countries involved in nation-building are in of the 7 Culture Clusters that can be distinguished worldwide: the Pyramid system. The attributes of the Pyramid value system will be analyzed and matched with one of the most important goals for nation-building: creating an “imagined community,” This is creating the sense of belonging to a shared nation-state in multi-ethnical, multi-tribal multi-religious environments.
The empirical findings of Hofstede and the system of the seven mental images are helpful here. It makes it possible to analyze the conditions for Nation Building in a non-normative way. It will be shown that all of the 7 culture clusters are “Gestalts,” combining the four primary value dimensions Hofstede’s research found. Each Gestalt has a specific outlook on reality. This is called a Mental Image
In this paper, the Pyramid will be analyzed in its consequences.
Leading idea: never say impossible but describe under what conditions the desired solution is possible without coercion and feelings of loss of autonomy.

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Luc Zwaenepoel:

Culture and Nation-building in Africa


This paper is trying to answer the following questions:
• Is Nation-building in Africa guided by the colonization and decolonization process? Do African nations follow the colonial type of administration in their post-Independence phases?
• What is the role of “Ubuntu culture and leadership” in building a nation as a community?
• Does “Violence reduce the cost for an organization”?
• What happened with all donor aid assisting nation-building, good governance, and fundamental rights?
• Are Nations only built when there is an Enemy?
• Nation-building in times of COVID?
• The role of national heroes as catalysts for fomenting national identity?
• Is African Nation-building following the principles of Native Nation Building?

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Thomas Imfeld:

The Bani world and nation-building


Operating in a BANI world, leaders in international organizations benefit from having intercultural competence when using coaching approaches.
In a BANI world, characterized as brittle, anxious, nonlinear, and incomprehensible, leaders who use coaching approaches benefit when they understand intercultural values and behaviors. These leaders can be found in international organizations, also in the context of nation-building. This article focuses on what is useful to understand and apply in the context of cross-cultural coaching for leaders. Models are introduced to add insights for fostering both the leader’s and the client’s understanding and performance.
The paper fuses 3 components:
1. BANI model
2. Coaching models for leaders
3. Intercultural models

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Martin Karaffa:

Samaritans and good nations.


The desire to do good, it can be argued, is a fundamental human motive, and is a basic prerequisite for nation-building. In this article, the author explores the different cultural contexts in which nations judge what is good. The analysis contrasts two instruments by which doing good is measured—the Good Country Index and the Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index—and discusses them in light of Hofstede’s six dimensions of cultural difference. Using this analysis, the author determines that Hofstede’s dimensions of Individualism (IDV) and Long Term Orientation can be used to determine the appropriate messaging strategy within countries for optimal nation-building outcomes. The author proposes a new metaphor to describe such cultures; Angels (orderly, systemically oriented cultures) and Samaritans (Emotionally urgent, personal-focused cultures).

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