The part of the iceberg which is below surface and the iceberg’s top are connected, just as invisible parts of culture is connected to its visible parts. To really understand a culture and its people you need to learn about and understand the invisible part of culture.
Culture can be seen as existing on different levels or layers. This has been illustrated by researchers in various ways, e.g. as an onion with various peel layers. At Human Entrance we chose to depict the multifaceted characteristics of culture by using the metaphor of an iceberg. At the iceberg´s top we find visible and material parts of culture that can be perceived directly, with our eyes, our ears, our taste etc. When we look below surface, where the largest part of culture lies, we find immaterial and invisible parts of culture. This is where we find cultural norms, social codes and values that constitute the foundation of a culture. This invisible part of culture influences how people in a culture will behave, what they will think is right or wrong and what they will be motivated by.
To make sense of what you see on the surface you need to learn about social codes, norms and values of a culture. This is why we emphasise learning about the invisible part of culture during our trainings in intercultural communication.