Activity theory was developed in the Soviet Union. The philosophical underpinnings of this theory include the ideas of Hegel and Kant, as well as the theory of dialectical materialism developed by Marx and Engels. The theory evolved from the work of Vygotsky as he formulated a new method of studying thought and consciousness. Vygotsky was working on this theory at a time when the prevalent dominant psychological theories were based on reflexology (stimulus-response - which was later developed into behaviorism) and psychoanalysis. Reflexology attempted to ban consciousness by reducing all psychological phenomena to a series of stimulus-response chains.
In today's global village, you will work with people whose cultural backgrounds differ from yours. Culture refers to the beliefs, customs, and assumptions that determine perception and behaviour. For example, residents of small towns and rural areas have different notions of friendliness than do people from big cities. Montrealers and Cape Bretoners talk and dress differently, as do people who live in Vancouver, Regina, Halifax, and Toronto. The cultural icons that resonate for baby boomers mean little to members of Generation X and Y. And gender culture often creates conversational incongruence between men and women. All human beings conform to a culturally predetermined reality. Part of Canadian cultural identity, for example, has been formed by our dual linguistic heritage and by the economic and military might of our southern neighbour. Geography, weather, population density, and natural resources also contribute to cultural reality. For example, the Canadian values of courtesy, community, and cooperation may have evolved as survival strategies in a vast, sparsely populated land. Perceptions about gender, age, and social class are culturally based, as are our ideas about race, ethnicity, religious practices, sexual orientation, physical appearance and ability, and regional and national characteristics. Regardless of your own cultural biases, however, your organizational productivity and individual professional success depend on your ability to communicate sensitively and flexibly with others.