The easiest level to observe when you go into an organization is that of artifacts - what you see, hear, and feel as you hang around, these play a vital role in forming the overall surroundings of the firm. Sense your observations and emotional reactions to the architecture, the decor, and the climate, based on how people behave toward you and toward each other. You can sense immediately that different organizations do things differently.
In other words, at the level of artifacts, culture is very clear and has immediate emotional impact on the viewer’s mind. But one cannot really understand why the members of the organization are behaving as they do and why each organization is constructed as it is. Just by hanging around and observing, you cannot really decipher what is going on inside the organization and among its people. Even when you see very similar things, you are confused, whether they mean the same thing in all organizations or not. You have to be able to talk to insiders and ask them questions about the things you have observed and felt. That is what takes you to the next deeper level of culture.