Culture, a popular though complex concept, has been recognized to influence implementation and usages of Information Technologies. Many empirical studies, using a cultural framework, have been carried out in Information Systems research. Most of them focus on the organizational and/or the national culture as surrogates to evaluate the role of culture within IS contexts. In this paper we categorize, from existing literature, different conceptions of culture rooted in diverse disciplines like anthropology, organizational studies and IS research. We then call on a spinning top metaphor to construct a model of the individual’s global culture as a set of rotating cylinders embedded in, and built upon, an innate core cylindrical axis. Those cylinders relate to specific cultural layers of the individual: ethnic, organizational, national…and technological. These layers are permeable, dynamic and their volume as well as their relative positioning, with respect to each other and to the central innate core, can change; the layers will vary depending on the successive socialization processes occurring during the individual’s lifetime. The conception of culture as a root metaphor of the individual and not only as an influential variable is central to this model. Therefore, we discuss the utility of the use of metaphors in cultural studies, more especially in organizational and IS research, and finally present how the spinning top metaphor can open a new path to study IT-related values and their impacts on IT-effective usages.
Walsh, Isabelle and Kefi, Hajer, "Developing the Concept of Individual IT-Culture: The Spinning Top Metaphor" (2008). AMCIS 2008 Proceedings. 234.