Cultural issues can be divided into two categories, explicit and implicit. Explicit culture issues are related to characteristics that one can see or perceive. Implicit culture issues, on the other hand, are related to attitudes and values, symbolized in the figure below.
Explicit culture exists on the outer layer and is the observable reality of the language, food, buildings, houses, monuments, agriculture, shrines, markets, fashions and art. These products are visible in people’s behaviors, clothes, food, music and theater.
The middle layers include norms, values, and attitudes but are not directly visible. Norms are the mutual sense a group has of what is right and wrong that can develop on a formal level such as written law, or on an informal level such as social control. Values determine good from bad, and are closely related to the ideals shared by a group. A value in one culture may differ vastly from that of another, and therefore these differences must be studied and taken into consideration when doing business across cultures.