Tylor provides one of the earliest definitions of culture: “the complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom and any other capabilities and habit acquired by man as a member of society” (1871, in McCort and Malhotra, 1993: 97). Subsequent contributions share the all-inclusive nature of culture as affecting aspects of human life in a society.
The difficulty in distinguishing strictly cultural factors from other macro-level influences further complicates defining culture. Culture differs intrinsically from other macro-environmental factors: “Culturally patterned behaviors are thus distinct from the economic, political, legal, religious, linguistic, educational, technological and industrial environment in which people find themselves” (Sekaran, 1983: 68). Yet, isolating purely cultural from other macro-environmental influences might be unfeasible, as no clear-cut boundaries exist among these interrelated influences. “Culturally normed behavior and patterns of socialization could often stem from a mix of religious beliefs, economic and political exigencies and so on. Sorting these out in a clear-cut fashion would be extremely difficult, if not totally impossible” (Sekaran, 1983: 68).