Toward Building the Knowledge Culture: Reviews and a KC-STOPE with Six Sigma View

Toward Building the Knowledge Culture: Reviews and a KC-STOPE with Six Sigma View

Saad Haj Bakry (King Saud University, Saudi Arabia) and Abdulkader Alfantookh (Ministry of Higher Education, Saudi Arabia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-783-8.ch207

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Introduction

This section is concerned with providing a background on the work presented in this paper. It defines what is meant by culture, and gives some examples. The multicultural nature of the world and the process of cultural evolution are also taken into account. The importance of knowledge and the emergence of the knowledge culture, as a potential common world culture that supports development and intercultural understanding, are also considered. The work presented in this paper is then introduced.

Culture and the Multi-Cultural World

Culture has been viewed by Edward Taylor, the 19th century scholar, as “that complex whole which includes: knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom and other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of a society” (AAE, 1981). With such complex features, the impacts of various cultures on the world are not always positive, but they can also be negative. Simon Blackburn, a Cambridge university professor, said: “culture gave us the English language, the symphony and the i-Pod; and it also gave us guns, Gulag and Guantanamo bay” (Blackburn, 2008). In these words, Blackburn emphasized the fact that culture can produce both: good and bad outcomes for humanity. On the one hand, the English language, like any other human language is a precious mean for human communication, the symphony is a fine enjoyable art, and the i-Pod is a useful technology. On the other hand, guns are harmful technology products, and Gulag and Guantanamo bay are examples of terrible human detention camps established by the former Soviet Union and the USA respectively.

Looking at the multicultural nature of the world, following the end of the cold war, Samuel Huntington, a Harvard University professor, warned from clash of civilizations, and identified eight main world cultures with different conflict potentials (Huntington, 1996). However, various organizations called for intercultural dialogue toward harmony and pluralism. They emphasized the need for and the feasibility of avoiding, or even preventing such clashes (Bakry & Al-Ghamdi, in press). In addition, the 21st century directions of many higher education (HE) institutions included equipping HE graduates with intercultural competence, that is the ability to move comfortably between different cultures (Bakry & Alfantookh, 2009).

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