An organizational development consultant has described most Barbadians as having a “crab culture”. Chief executive officer and founder of Ideas and Solutions Group Inc., Andre Thomas, said based on a research he had carried out over time, many Barbadians were envious of each other when it came to operating a business and putting forward business ideas. He said instead of supporting each other, Barbadians were very quick to criticize.
He believes this contributes to the slow development of entrepreneurship on the island.
“I have done an analysis . . . and find that in Barbados, like all other nations, you have a hybrid culture. I would say the masses, which is of African origin, really have a part-crab part-passive service culture. The folks that are here of European descent actually have a dream culture, and those of Asian decent actually have a commonwealth culture. So these are the cultures that we have,” said Thomas.
He said in order to be successful “a high level of tenacity” was required.
How it impacted on individuals, he said, included lack of cooperation from “various institutions” that believed individuals did not have the ability to turn their ideas into reality.
He said that type of culture also included a lot of opposition when it came to the sharing of ideas.
“In areas of collaboration to help create something that is even greater than they imagine themselves, they will have great difficulty in people sharing information that can help their business. Number two is that once they start to grow there is going to be a lot of envy and jealousy; so instead of celebrating the success, in this culture promotes envy,” he explained.
“If that envy wasn’t there you would have more of the Google-type effect in which you have people of significant entrepreneurship ability come together and create something great. What it does is that it affects the ability of like-minded entrepreneurs to come together to create something significant and something great,” he added.
Thomas explained that based on studies he carried out over a period of time he was able to identify five different cultures within the Barbados society that “affect the business world and human development”.
He said the “systemic poverty culture” consisted of people who only “get up every morning and look to live just for the next day, the “passive service culture”, which included those who use their gifts “to provide human fuel for large corporations and other visionary individuals”.
“They hide their value and are too fearful to step out [and pursue] their dream,” he added.
“Then you have the next culture which is called the crab culture. In a crab culture being genius makes you a target. In a crab culture when you take steps to become a trailblazer, a pioneer, a boundary breaker or a service provider, those steps intimidate those around you and they attack you,” said Thomas.
Another type of culture he said identified were the “dream culture”, where people celebrated the greatness and those who came up with solutions and those who failed and try again.
“The last culture is the commonwealth culture, which in that culture greatness is actually enthroned. We see this culture with certain immigrant groups like Jewish, Indian groups within different parts of the world that have this culture. In that culture they build generational health,” added Thomas.