How Does Culture Affect Communication


How Does Culture Affect Communication?

Instantaneous communications and an ever-expanding internet have made the globe a much smaller place, posing both challenges and possibilities as we communicate with individuals from all over the world, regardless of their cultural backgrounds. Cultural differences stand out as one of the most difficult issues we face in this new and complicated world of communication. Individuals’ participation in organizations and their ability to function within communities are influenced by their cultural background.

There are several opportunities for misinterpretation.

These patterns include: Communication styles differ from one another.

Words and phrases are employed in a variety of contexts.

  • Besides words, gestures and facial expressions play a significant role in nonverbal communication.
  • Conflict is viewed differently by different people.
  • Despite the fact that conflict is not often sought in the United States, people in this country are encouraged to deal with issues as they arise.
  • Various approaches of completing jobs are used.
  • There are a variety of reasons for this, including varying levels of resource availability, varying conceptions of time, and varying attitudes about how relationship-building and task-oriented labor should be integrated.
  • Decision-making differs from one person to the next.
  • The ability to delegate decision-making duties to others is highly appreciated in several Southern European and Latin American nations.

Disparities in attitudes toward disclosure have been identified.

Questions that seem normal to you may seem invasive to someone who comes from a different cultural background.

Different ways of approaching knowledge.

Europeans value knowledge received by counting and measuring more highly than information gained through other ways.

The six patterns of cultural difference might assist you in better understanding those who are different from you.

In practice, MindTools recommends that you acquire the fundamentals of the culture and language of the people with whom you will be interacting in order to avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding. The following suggestions were also made on the website:

  • Instantaneous communications and an ever-expanding internet have made the globe a much smaller place, posing both challenges and opportunities as we engage with individuals from all over the world, regardless of their cultural background. Cultural differences stand out as one of our most significant issues in this new and complicated world of communication. Individuals’ participation in groups and their ability to operate within communities are influenced by their cultural background and background knowledge. When people from various cultures come together to work, their values are frequently in conflict. Misunderstandings are rife in today’s society. A More Perfect Union on PBS explains that there are specific patterns of disparities that contribute to challenges in cross-cultural communication. These patterns are as follows: Communicating through a variety of styles Different civilizations have different ways of speaking. Distinctive methods of phrasing and using words and sentences For example, in various English-speaking nations, the word “yes” might signify “maybe” or even “absolutely.” Besides words, gestures and facial expressions play a vital role in nonverbal communication, which may involve everything from sense of time to personal space to even seating arrangements. Different Attitudes Towards the Problem of Conflict Depending on the country, conflict is seen positively in certain cultures, while it is avoided in others. In the United States, individuals are encouraged to deal with disputes as they happen, despite the fact that confrontation is not normally wanted. Disagreements are best resolved in private in a number of Eastern countries. Various approaches to job completion. In order to finish activities, people move in different ways depending on their culture. There are a variety of reasons for this, including varying levels of resource availability, varying conceptions of time, and varying views on how relationship-building and task-oriented labor should be balanced. Examples include Asian and Hispanic cultures, which emphasize team dynamics at the start of a project and shift their attention to the final objective as the project progresses, and European-American cultures, which prioritize the task initially and allow connections to form as the project progresses, Decision-making differs from one person to the other. When making choices in the United States, it is common for them to be delegated to an inferior. Individual decision-making duties are highly respected in several nations in Southern Europe and Latin America. Majority rule tends to work in the United States, however consensus is preferred in Japan when dealing with a group of people. Differing perspectives on disclosing information In certain cultures, it is frowned upon to express feelings, the grounds for a disagreement, or personal information. To someone from a different culture, questions that may seem natural to you may seem invasive. Taking this into consideration is essential in order to gain an understanding of the perspectives and objectives of those with whom you interact. Different techniques of gaining knowledge are available. When it comes to acquiring information, various cultures have distinct perspectives. Counting and measuring information is considered more useful in Europe than information obtained through other methods. Other African cultures place a high value on information received through symbolic images, whereas some Asian cultures place a high value on knowledge gained through transcendent experiences. The six patterns of cultural difference might aid you in better understanding those who are different from you. In practice, MindTools recommends that you understand the fundamentals of the culture and language of the people with whom you will be interacting in order to avoid miscommunications. Aside from that, there were a few useful suggestions on the page.

Working across cultural boundaries is nearly a given in today’s society, especially for individuals involved in a variety of communication-related disciplines of study or employment. As a result, the University of Houston-online Victoria’s Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communicationand Bachelor of Science (BS) in Communicationdegree programs educate students for a global environment with the inclusion of the course Intercultural Communication in the curriculum. In this course, we will discuss ideas and studies on how individuals from various cultures interact, as well as cultural variables that impact communication styles and the potential conflicts that might arise as a result of these differences.

  1. Learn more about the onlineB.S.
  2. in Communicationdegree programs offered by the University of Houston-Victoria.
  3. Cross-Cultural Communication: Tools for the Mind Do you have a question or issue about this article?
  4. Please get in touch with us.

How does culture affect communication?

What role does culture have in communication? As humans, we are intimately familiar with both culture and communication in their various forms. When a group of people get together, they form a culture, which is the sum of their social behavior and customs as they evolve through time. At its most fundamental level, a culture includes beliefs, laws, art, legislation, and a variety of other elements. Cultures, on the other hand, can be more specific. Jazz is a way of life. Cinema is a kind of cultural expression.

  1. Any group of individuals, organization, or company may, with time and work, establish a culture for themselves or their organization.
  2. In this way, communication contributes to the formation of culture.
  3. Morgan Rush, in his essay “Culture in Business Communication,” asserted that culture has an impact on both verbal and nonverbal communication in an organization.
  4. “Some cultures, such as Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany,” Rush adds.
  5. Other cultures, such as Arab civilizations, place considerable importance on the context of a discussion, as well as on the content of the discourse.
  6. (You may use the cultural comparison feature in F4S to have a better understanding of how your communication style may be interpreted in various cultures.) This essay will focus on communication in the sense that a company’s culture encourages its whole crew to share views and opinions.

And, of course, the following list of ways in which culture influences communication is by no means comprehensive in nature. Several mechanisms can cause this to occur, but we will just explore a few of the most essential for modern firms, based on our assessment.

Foster open, networked leadership

When a company’s culture is strong, it isn’t enough to ensure success. Additionally, it must be open and adaptable. The company’s founders and leadership are responsible for setting the tone for the rest of the organization. The consulting firm Deloitte discovered that there is a de-emphasis on “positional leadership” in a 2016 research that examined a number of companies. That is, a shift in company culture is taking place in which CEOs no longer make choices solely based on their power or position.

  • A new culture must be established in order to do this, one that promotes network-style communication rather than top-down corporate directions.
  • “This includes collaboration across generations, geographies, functions, and internal and external teams.” The ineffectiveness of organizational leadership should not be seen as a universal truth lack all firms.
  • However, even in this case, firm executives should strive to foster open channels of communication inside the organization, as well as a sense that ideas from anybody are welcome.
  • A culture shift to enable networked communication can only take place within an existing firm, or if a new business is founded on the notion of networked communication as its fundamental premise.

Encourage collaboration across teams

Apple is well-known for its varied teams’ ability to collaborate with one another on various projects. Product development in the computing industry was influenced by Steve Jobs’ marketing, branding, and design sensibilities, among other things. It was this mentality that permeated his organization. In a 2015 interview with Mashable, Apple CEO Phil Schiller discussed how the company’s many departments (hardware, software, applications, and so on) collaborate to develop a device from concept to completion.

Apple needed to establish a culture that encouraged cross-pollination of ideas among teams in order to do this.

Apple, on the other hand, is not the first company to use the notion of collaborative teams.

The most important thing to take away from this is that this sort of culture is deliberate. In addition, a business culture that encourages team cross-pollination results in improved communication and, ultimately, greater results from the organization’s efforts.

Cultivate ideas through a psychologically safe culture

The notion of ” psychological safety ” is closely related to the concepts discussed in the preceding sections. A corporation may build a culture in which employees feel comfortable expressing ideas and taking risks without fear of being penalised if the concept doesn’t work out, or even being disregarded by superiors from the start. Uber came under criticism a few years ago for having a terrible workplace environment. Travis Kalanick, the company’s co-founder and former CEO, has been widely accused for creating a dysfunctional workplace atmosphere that is rife with hostility, discrimination, and other concerns.

Google began working on Project Aristotle some years ago, which was codenamed “Project Aristotle.” The software giant was inspired by the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s adage, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and wanted to learn more about what makes a team effective in order to implement it.

Psychological safety was at the top of their priority list.

You might be interested:  What Is A Culture Index

In addition, the re:Work guide states that “Google researchers discovered that individuals on teams with higher psychological safety are less likely to leave Google, they’re more likely to harness the power of diverse ideas from their teammates, they bring in more revenue, and they’re twice as likely to be rated effective by executives.” If a firm can cultivate a culture that encourages this form of open and unimpeded communication, its overall success is likely to improve as a result of this.

Culture needs to adapt to remote work

As a result of the Covid-19 epidemic, many individuals are working from home or from other distant locations. Consequently, companies have been forced to react in real time to this new reality. And for many businesses, this means establishing a virtual culture in addition to a real one. Zoom meetings in the workplace, or any form of Zoom meeting, are now standard practice. You should not, however, expect that your company’s emphasis on communication will continue to exist if you just hold daily Zoom meetings.

Something that was simple in person now needs considerable effort to establish.

If your company’s culture is open and collaborative, think about how you might duplicate it for workers who will be working remotely during the pandemic period.

If such virtual alternatives to communication are explored, the overall performance of the organization and its teams should at the very least be maintained, and at the very best enhanced.

Change your culture, change your communication

When it comes to answering the question, “How does culture influence communication,” The concepts we mentioned above are not without their challenges. The creation of a workplace culture that embraces and benefits from open lines of communication needs effort, just as it does with anything else in life and the workplace. The culture must also be accepted by the employees themselves. Consequently, acquiring the proper talent will become equally crucial in ensuring that ideas may be promoted and openly disseminated in order to establish such a culture.

Map your organization’s culture and communication styles, and get free personalized coaching from the world’s first AI-powered coach!Get started now.

Different cultures have their own ways of transmitting information, which are referred to as communication styles. Each is impacted by the culture in which they live. Culture-based differences between social groups, especially those that affect communication, may be described using a framework established by the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede. It is one of numerous ways that can be used to describe culture-based differences between social groups. Communication styles in different cultures are based on this framework and other strategies, and they are as follows:

More power distance versus less power distance

Different cultures have their own ways of transmitting information, which are referred to as “communication styles.” The cultures of the world have an impact on each individual. It is one of various ways that may be used to define culture-based distinctions across social groups, particularly those that have an influence on communication, such as the framework created by the Dutch psychologist Geert Hofstede. Different communication styles in different cultures are based on this framework and other strategies, and they are as follows:

Individual-focused versus group-focused

Because they fundamentally study the same concepts, two of Hofstede’s dimensions, masculinity vs femininity and individuality versus collectivism, can be placed together under the individual-focused versus group-focused dimension, according to the author. In accordance with this new categorization, communication styles in different cultures can be distinguished based on whether they promote individual-focused goals such as assertiveness and heroism as well as material reward and achievement, or whether they promote group-focused goals such as modesty, cooperation, life quality, and concern for the weak.

More uncertainty avoidance versus less uncertainty avoidance

In his research, Hofstede distinguished between cultures that are comfortable with ambiguity and civilizations that are not. The former is more likely to hold workers accountable for their communication, whilst the latter is more likely to place control over the narrative at each level of the information exchange process. Communication styles are also different. More information may be found at: How to Make Your Salary Negotiable

Indulgence versus self-restraint

Civilizations that are more prone to fulfill their needs were separated from cultures that are less likely to do so in this dimension, according to Hofstede.

Communication experts of the former kind are more likely than communicators of the latter type to be less trustworthy over the course of a conversation.

More context versus less context

This facet of cultural difference has to do with how a culture values the surroundings in which it exists. In the context of communication, a communicator from a culture that places less value on context is more likely to concentrate on the communication itself and the development of materials to support it, whereas a communicator from a culture that places more value on context is more likely to concentrate on the communication’s surrounding circumstances, such as social relationships between stakeholders and their personal agendas.

Affective versus neutral

While affective cultures are more likely to express their sentiments, neutral cultures place a high priority on maintaining control over their emotions during encounters. While the former likes casual, theatrical communication, the later prefers a more formalized process of information flow and interchange of ideas.

Social resources-based versus skill-based

Furthermore, cultures may also be distinguished based on whether they place a greater emphasis on social resources or on talents. For example, in the first kind, which is popular in developing countries, the sharing of information is managed by social networks, which are often intolerant to criticism or disagreement. Communicating with people who come from cultures that are built on social resources might be counter-productive. Cultures that are built on skills, on the other hand, are often found in sophisticated nations.

Communication is improved as a result of this.

5 The Effects of Culture on Small Group Communication

  1. All encounters are multicultural to some degree, but certain exchanges are more so than others. It will become increasingly vital in the next decades to be able to collaborate successfully in international groups of varying sizes. Each and every person must learn to accept rather than criticize variety, and to forsake ethnocentric thinking. People’s worldview, or beliefs about the nature and purpose of life, which influence our values, activity orientation, customs and beliefs
  2. The degree of individualism
  3. The degree of power distance
  4. The extent to which people avoid uncertainty
  5. Whether a culture values stereotypically masculine or feminine behavior
  6. And the extent to which people rely more on the meaning of words or the context to determine the meaning of something are just a few examples. Language disparities across cultures or between co-cultures can also lead to serious misinterpreta-tions. Disparities in race, age, and socioeconomic status can all be interpreted as manifestations of cultural differences. Different ethnicities, generational groups, and socioeconomic classes have their own set of standards about how they should behave
  7. Human value and dignity should be maintained, and world peace should be fostered, according to two ethical concepts that should drive intercultural relationships in organizations.

Questions to clarify:

Is there a significant distinction between a collectivist and an individualistic culture? Provide specific instances of each. 2. What is power distance, and how might members’ perceptions of proper power distance influence their conduct in a group setting? 3. What is the difference between co-culture and subculture, and why? Is it a more desirable phrase? What is the reason for this or why is it not? How does the backchannel contribute to the possibility of intercultural misinterpretation, and why?

  • What does the term ethnocentricity entail, and why is it crucial in small group communication?
  • Is it possible to establish intercultural communication amongst persons who come from the same cultural background?
  • 7.
  • In what ways does current research indicate that African Americans and European Americans differ in their communication behaviors?

Reflective writing Topics to prepare for discussion

1. In what respects do you consider yourself ethnocentric? What, in your opinion, is the impact of this on your behavior toward others? 2. When you work with individuals who are extremely different from you (maybe from other nations or from various regions of the United States), what types of thoughts and feelings do you have about such people? 3. What is your reaction when you are required to share a grade with other members of the group? Do you like to be recognized for your individual efforts or for your contributions as a member of a group?

Why? 4. Is it possible for a communication engagement to be entirely or mostly intracultural in nature? How? 5. Consider the cultural features that have an impact on communication: How do you think these qualities came to be? Study guide and exam review for Buxton/Speech 225

How Do Cultural Differences Affect Communication (8 Point)

The method in which people communicate is greatly influenced by their cultural background. As a result, we’re going to provide you a basic overview of how cultural variations influence communication.

How do cultural differences affect communication?

People who live in diverse cultures have a wide range of behaviors, values, and modes of expression to choose from. These discrepancies are caused by cultural differences, which create difficulties when individuals interact with one another. See how cultural variations effect communication by looking at some examples. The following points can provide further information regarding such distinctions:

1.Body movements

Our body communicates with us through nonverbal cues such as our hands, fingers, eyes, head, face, and so on. These non-verbal communications have diverse meanings in different cultures, for example, the following: What Role Do Cultural Disparities Play in Communication? 1.1 Handshake: Americans prefer to welcome with a forceful handshake, whilst the Chinese prefer to greet with little contact. Instead, they make a bow to meet others. 1.2 Maintaining eye contact: When speaking in the United States, individuals maintain eye contact to convey significance.

1.3 Fingers: In the United States, the use of two fingers to signify the victory sign is considered a signal of success.

In Japan, a symbol like this indicates money.

1.5 Head movement: In the United States, up and down movement of the head indicates “Yes,” while side to side movement of the head indicates “No.” In Bulgaria, however, up and down movement of the head indicates “No,” while side to side movement of the head indicates “Yes.” 1.4 Body language: Smile: A smile is perceived positively in American society, while it is seen negatively in African societies, where it is viewed as a sign of weakness.

As a result, bodily gestures are used in communication across all civilizations, albeit in various ways.


Varied civilizations have different perspectives on the concept of space. In certain cultures, individuals like to preserve a sense of distance, whilst in others, they prefer to be near. When conversing, North Americans, for example, keep a two-foot gap between themselves. Arabians, on the other hand, keep their distance when communicating. Americans consider space to be a “Right,” but Arabians consider it to be “Indecent.”


Specific cultures perceive time as a critical component in all aspects of life, whilst other cultures regard time as a more relaxed factor in some aspects of life. People from the United States, the United Kingdom, or Europe keep track of time effectively, but Arabians are late to demonstrate that they are working.


Religion is a significant socio-cultural component that influences how people live and think about the future. It has an impact on consumerism, business, and attitudes.

For example, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in Muslim nations but permitted in the western world. Furthermore, “Interest” on loans is forbidden in Islamic banking, yet it is quite frequent in commercial banking, as previously stated.

(5)Social values

There are several ways in which the social outlook differs from one culture to the next: 5.1 Way of life: Some civilizations have a rich way of life, whereas others may not necessarily do so. Arabians place a high value on living a lavish lifestyle and are known to spend a lot of money during their lives. They consider luxury to be a sign of social prestige, but the Japanese are diligent workers who are saving more and more money for the future. The topic of employment, salary, and job title is often asked in many cultures, and the answer is seldom a surprise.

  1. In Bangladesh, people are not afraid to discuss their social standing, however in England, they are hesitant to do so.
  2. 5.3 Addressing persons Subordinate addresses are used in the United States of America to indicate that they are superior than “Mr.
  3. 5.4 Roleplay: The role of women differs greatly from culture to culture.
  4. Female entrepreneurs are still underrepresented in many Arab nations, despite the advancement of the profession.
You might be interested:  What Is A Person's Culture


First World countries are more forthright and open than their counterparts in the Third World. When it comes to interpersonal connections, Americans and Germans are more franker than Asians. During contact, they are very transparent and offer all important facts. Asians, on the other hand, deal with less information and tend to be introverted.


“Across civilizations, social traditions are quite diverse. From the birth to the cemetery, customs change from one culture to the next. The manner in which people meet and welcome one another in China and Japan differs from that of Arab nations. Furthermore, the tribal society of our country adheres to a set of traditions that is diametrically opposed to our indigenous culture.


There are more than three thousand three thousand (3000) languages spoken around the world, and as a result, there is a risk of misinterpretation while communicating internationally. Communication issues may arise for a variety of reasons for the international company manager, including the following:

  • The same word can have numerous meanings, for example, the word run can imply move quickly, operate, score a cricket match, and many other things. The definition of “WHAT” in the Oxford English Dictionary contains nearly 1500 terms. In certain languages, there are no replacement equivalents for terms such as supermarket, for example. French speakers cannot distinguish between the terms house and home, man and gentleman, mind and brain, or mind and brain. The Spanish language does not have a term to distinguish between a chairman and a president
  • Words can have various meanings in different cultures, for example, the Chinese and Japanese languages use the word “Yes” to indicate that they are paying attention
  • However, in the United States and the United Kingdom, “Yes” means “Right.”

The information presented above demonstrates that there are several cultural variations that might effect communication. We should be aware of cultural differences and adapt our communication to be more effective while communicating with people from various cultures. I hope you now understand how cultural variations effect communication; if you require any further information, please leave a comment below. Content that is related to the introduction:

  • The distinction between business communication and general communication
  • The multipurpose applications of business communication
  • The significance of cross-cultural communication
  • The factors that influence communication in business
  • And more. A definition of effective communication
  • The importance of effective communication in management
  • The importance of effective communication in business
  • Communication and Relationship Management are important skills to have. The importance of cultural orientation in communication
  • The program’s communication must meet certain requirements. Methods for Improving Cross-Cultural Communications Management Functions at the Most Fundamental Level
  • A distinction between the Communication Process and the Communication Model
  • And Business Communication: Principles of Effective Communication
  • Business Communication: Principles of Effective Communication Feedback in communication has a number of advantages and is quite important. In business, there are several steps to take to overcome communication barriers.

How Culture Controls Communication

The ability to communicate across cultures is critical for business executives. This is true not just because they must deal with the rising globalization of their industries, but also because the labor force inside their own national borders is becoming increasingly varied. Essentially, culture is a collection of beliefs that a group of people have in common that define who they are. Such values have an impact on how you think and act, as well as, more crucially, the kinds of criteria you use to evaluate others.

(My book, The Silent Language of Leaders: How Body Language Can Help – or Hurt – How You Lead, devotes two chapters to the nonverbal components of cross-cultural communication, and in my next blog, I’ll discuss some of the body language intricacies of international business conferences.) Every culture has norms that its people are accustomed to following.

  • And while some of a culture’s information, laws, beliefs, values, phobias, and fears are taught verbally, the vast majority is absorbed intuitively via experience.
  • Generalizations, on the other hand, are relevant to the degree that they give hints as to what you will most likely face – and how those differences will effect your communications.
  • Cultures can be classified as high-context or low-context depending on their level of context.
  • Even the channel via which information is communicated may have cultural implications.
  • The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Germany are all excellent examples of this tendency.
  • The degree of industrialisation may not be the most important element in determining media selection, but rather whether or not the country falls into a high-context or low-context culture.
  • In some cultures, the exact phrasing of legal papers is considered to be of great importance.
  • Low-context cultures, on the other hand, such as those found in the majority of Germanic and English-speaking nations, demand signals to be precise and particular.
  • It is the latter who place a focus on sending and receiving correct signals directly, as well as on being exact in their spoken or written language.
  • corporate executives may fall into is a (costly) disdain for the necessity of developing and sustaining personal connections.

According to certain cultures, time may be thought of in linear terms – as a commodity to be “spent,” “saved,” or “squandered.” Other cultures perceive time synchronically – as a continual flow that must be experienced in the present moment, and as a force that cannot be contained or controlled by the individual or society.

  • The majority of other regions of the globe, professionals are often required to perform many tasks at the same time.
  • For her, it was just another day at the office.
  • “All we need to do is find out when you are due to leave the country, and we’ll wait until shortly before your flight to submit our offer,” a Chinese executive revealed.
  • This point of view has an impact on how businesses in such cultures address deadlines, strategic thinking, investments, cultivating internal talent, and the idea of “long-term” planning, to name a few things.
  • When one culture regards coming late for a meeting as a sign of poor planning or disrespect, while another culture views demand on punctuality as a display of infantile impatience, it is easy to see how misunderstandings might arise.
  • Americans feel that they can impact the future by their own efforts, but because there are too many factors in the long future, we choose to take a short-term perspective on the situation.
  • Even our interpersonal connections appear to be built on a pragmatism of the kind “what have you done for me lately?” Synchronic civilizations look at things from a completely different perspective.

When it comes to crucial relationships, there is a lasting link that lasts through both the present and the future.

Cultures can be classified as either emotional or neutral.

The response came from the Dutch manager.

I’ve taken into consideration all of the variables, and I believe this is a reasonable strategy.

We need to focus on the facts rather than getting distracted by emotional drama.” At that time, the Italian walked out of the meeting without saying anything.

Which of these takes precedence depends on whether we areaffective (that is, we are quick to express our feelings) or emotionallyneutral in our attitude.

Those who live in cultures with a high level of affect express their sentiments openly by laughing or smiling, grimacing or scowling – and occasionally by screaming out, yelling, or walking out of the room.

neutral cultures are more conscientious about the amount of emotion people exhibit during typical business operations, on the other hand.

Japan, Indonesia, the United Kingdom, Norway, and the Netherlands were found to have the least acceptable emotional reactions, while Italy, France, the United States, and Singapore were found to have the most acceptable.

Yes, that does seem to make sense, doesn’t it?

As members of today’s global business community learn how to communicate with one another, there is no one optimal way to use. Develop an awareness of, as well as a profound respect for, cultural differences if you want to be successful working across borders.

Cultural Barriers to Communication

‘Culture is a set of ideas about how a specific group of people should think, behave, and feel as they go about their everyday lives,’ according to the Oxford Dictionary of Cultural Studies. -JoyntWarner, penned in 1996 Everything that is learned and shared within a specific social group of the same nationality, ethnicity or religion (or any combination thereof) is defined as culture. This includes all socially transmitted behavior, arts, architectures, languages, signs, symbols and ideas. It also includes beliefs, norms, traditions and rituals.

  1. It allows people to express themselves via their way of perceiving the world and understanding life.
  2. Cultural variety makes communication difficult since the mindsets of individuals from various cultures are different, and the language, signs, and symbols used by people from other cultures are also not the same as one another.
  3. Prejudices, ethnocentrism, etiquette, and attitudes are all influenced by cultural factors.
  4. When people from various cultural backgrounds speak with one another, these elements might operate as roadblocks.
  5. It is likewise true in the other direction.
  6. People in America are free to speak with one another, and it is a part of their culture.
  7. Germany’s culture encourages directness in all aspects of life, and this is mirrored in the way people interact.
  8. Communication shapes culture.

Causes of Cultural Barriers

Throughout the world, there are billions of individuals who do not comprehend English or who are unable to communicate effectively in English. Misunderstandings can arise as a result of improper speech, which can provide a barrier to effective communication. Language is a component of every civilization’s legacy, and every culture has produced its own language. People are more comfortable conversing in their own language, but learning a new language requires significant effort. For example, the 40-year split of East and West Germany resulted in a significant difference in the languages spoken.

As a result, the dialect grew significantly diverse.

Their ability to communicate with one another has been hampered for decades. Even when people attempt to communicate in their own language, a great deal of confusion results. It gets much more pronounced while conversing to persons who speak other languages.

Signs and Symbols (Semantics)

Non-verbal communication cannot be depended upon in communication between individuals from various cultures since it is also distinct, just as language is in communication between humans. The use of signs, symbols, and gestures differs from culture to culture. Among other things, the sign “thumbs up” is considered an indication of acceptance and good luck in most cultures, yet it is considered an insult in Bangladesh and other places where it is used. As an example, in the United States, the “V” hand signal with the palm facing outside or inside signifies triumph and peace, but in many other countries, facing someone who is making the sign is considered offensive.

Stereotypes and Prejudices

Stereotyping is the process of constructing an image of an entire culture by overgeneralizing all persons belonging to the same culture as having similar features and categorizing them appropriately. It is a kind of discrimination. It is a belief held about a specific group that is predominantly negative. Various characteristics, such as country, gender, color, religion, ethnicity, and age, can be used to discriminate against others. When it comes to math skills, Asian children, for example, are perceived as being strong, which is a good thing.

Negative stereotyping leads to biases and judgemental attitudes because it elicits judgmental responses.

The media is a vehicle of mass communication that perpetuates preconceptions and prejudices while also increasing obstacles to dialogue between people.

Behavior and Beliefs

Cultural differences produce variances in behavior and personality such as body language, thinking, communication, etiquette, and social conventions, among others, which results in misunderstanding. For example, eye contact is valued in some cultures, yet it is considered unfriendly and insulting in other cultures. In addition, culture establishes distinct norms that regulate conduct since they establish guidelines for acceptable behavior. It discusses what is correct and incorrect. Every behavior, such as aspirations, careers, hobbies, values, and so on, is impacted by culture.

You might be interested:  What Does A Throat Culture Test For

Those who believe in god, for example, are more able to cope with their lows in life than those who do not, but atheists are more industrious at all times, which reflects in their conduct and conversation.

The culture defines the roles that people play. Good communication between persons from various cultures can only take place if both parties accept their differences with an open mind.


When civilizations are divided into “we” and “them,” this is referred to as ethnocentrism. People belonging to one’s own culture are referred to as in-group, whereas those belonging to another culture are referred to as out-group. There is usually a stronger preference for those who are part of the in-group. There is a false perception of the out-group as being bad and inferior. This assessment is overwhelmingly unfavorable. As long as the cultures are comparable, they are good; as long as they are not, they are terrible.

Ethnocentrism has a negative impact on the interpretation of the message and fosters hostile behavior.


Religion, like ethnocentrism and stereotyping, obstructs communication because it generates a certain picture of individuals who practice other religions, much to how ethnocentrism and stereotyping do. People find it challenging to converse with others who adhere to various religious beliefs. People’s attitudes toward others are influenced by their religious beliefs. Because of this, there are variations of opinion. For example, in Pakistan, when the majority of the population is Muslim and the Christians are discriminated against, Christians must speak up for their rights.

Overcoming cultural barriers

There are also cultural hurdles to overcome, such as frames of reference, political viewpoints, life priorities, age, and other factors. In addition to being a barrier, cross-cultural communication may be a chance for innovation, new views, receptivity to new ideas, and a sense of community throughout the world. To improve the effectiveness of communication, it is necessary to eliminate as many of the sources of cultural communication obstacles as feasible. In order to reduce the communication barrier produced by cultural differences, it is necessary to improve cross cultural understanding.

Culture and Communication

In cultural studies, the term “culture” refers to a complex collection of information (knowledge), folklore (lore), language (language), rules (rituals), habits (ways of life), attitudes (attitudes), beliefs (beliefs), and customs (customs) that bind and give a common identity to a particular group of people at a specific point in time. Every social unit develops its own culture. Even in two-person partnerships, over time, a culture emerges and evolves. In friendships and romantic relationships, for example, partners build their own histories, shared experiences, linguistic patterns, rituals, habits, and conventions, all of which contribute to the development of a unique character that distinguishes the relationship from others in a variety of ways.

Groups also form cultures, which are made up of a collection of norms, rituals, practices, and other traits that define the social unit as a whole and give it its own identity.

Organizations also have cultures, which are typically visible in certain patterns of dress, the arrangement of workspaces, the forms and functions of meetings, the manner in which people think about and talk about the nature and direction of the company, leadership styles, and other characteristics.

A society or national culture also contains components such as notable historical events and people, political ideologies, social traditions, family practices, religion, economic ideologies and practices, belief and value systems, and legal conceptions and systems of law, among other things.

While each culture has its own set of distinguishing features (or mix of qualities), all civilizations perform some functions that are similar to all.

Three such roles that are particularly significant from a communication standpoint are (1) attaching individuals to one another, (2) establishing a foundation for a shared identity, and (3) offering an environment for interaction and negotiation among members of an organization.

The Relationship Between Communication and Culture

The link between communication and culture is one that is both intricate and personal in nature. Communication is the first and most important step in the creation of cultures. Communication, in other words, is the means of human interaction through which cultural characteristics—whether they be customary practices or social roles, rules, rituals, laws, or any other patterns—are created and shared. When people engage in partnerships, groups, organizations, or civilizations, it is not so much that they are consciously attempting to establish a culture as it is that cultures are a natural by-product of social interaction and cannot be avoided.

  • It would be difficult to retain and transmit cultural features from one location and period to another without the aid of communication and communication mediums.
  • The converse is also true; that is, communication techniques are heavily influenced, molded, and transmitted by cultural norms and practices.
  • A three-person group, for example, will bring with them unique thinking and behavioral patterns derived from prior communication experiences as well as from other cultures of which they are or have been a part when they first meet.
  • If the group continues to engage, it will develop a distinct history, patterns, conventions, and rituals that will identify it from others.
  • After joining the organization, new members would begin to impact its culture in tiny and occasionally significant ways as they became integrated into it.
  • Regardless of the culture, communication influences culture, and culture influences communication.

Characteristics of Culture

Cultures are diverse and multidimensional, and they have many facets. As has been seen in the preceding chapters, cultures are complex “structures” that are comprised of a diverse range of features. When compared to the cultures of organizations and, particularly, civilizations, the cultures of partnerships and groups are comparatively straightforward. A major contributor to the broad knowledge of the complexity of culture, and the significance of communication in comprehending and coping with cultural variations at the societal level, Edward Hall (1959, 1979) is a sociology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles.

  1. Many people believe that the features of their own cultures are reasonable and make excellent sense, which is not always the case.
  2. It’s possible that, for example, someone who happens to be in a love relationship that is defined by public shows of affection may think that the actions of other individuals who have more quiet relational cultures will appear weird, or even wrong.
  3. Even worse, the individual could be persuaded to believe that the “reserved” connection is shallow and lacking in passion.
  4. Some people, who are accustomed to casual group gatherings, may find the strict adherence to formal meeting norms weird and stiff.
  5. Someone who comes from a society in which a guy is only allowed to have one wife may feel it highly improper that another culture allows a man to have numerous wives, and vice versa.
  6. Cultures shift and evolve over time.
  7. Cultural transformation is influenced by a variety of factors.

Everyone who participates in a communication encounter brings the total of his or her personal experiences gained from previous (past or present) cultural affiliations into the conversation.

Travel and communication technologies substantially expedite the transmission of messages from one cultural setting to another, and cultures come to affect one another in both little and big ways as a result of communication.

Cultures are mostly absent from everyday life.

Language, of course, is clearly evident, as are greeting norms, distinctive symbols, locations, and spaces, among other things.

For example, it is possible to watch persons kissing as they welcome one another, but it is impossible to discern what the action implies in the context of the culture of their relationship, group, organization, or society unless one has a great lot of cultural information.

An further illustration would be that beefsteak is considered a great dish in some cultures. If, on the other hand, one were a vegetarian or a member of a society where the cow is revered, the same steak would have a completely different cultural connotation and significance.

Glimpses of Culture

In part because of the factors mentioned above, there are limited opportunities to “see” culture and the dynamic interaction that occurs between culture and communication. When cultural conventions are violated or when there is cross-cultural interaction, there are two instances in which such chances present themselves. A cultural convention, ritual, or custom is violated when someone does something that is considered inappropriate by the rest of the culture. This can include speaking in a foreign language while conversing, standing closer than usual while conversing, or discussing topics that are not typically discussed openly.

When people go to other groups, organizations, and, especially, other societies, they are frequently presented with – and so become aware of – a variety of customs, rituals, and conventions that they were previously unaware of.

Once again, one gets a look into the concept of “culture” as well as the mechanisms through which individuals establish and adapt to cultural norms and values.

The Role of Technology and Media

All of society’s institutions serve to enable communication, and in doing so, they all contribute to the formation, diffusion, and evolution of culture in some way or another. The use of communication mediums such as television, movies, radio, newspapers, compact discs, magazines, computers, and the Internet, on the other hand, plays a significant role in society. Inasmuch as media expand human powers for message creation, duplication, transmission, and storage, they likewise expand and magnify actions aimed at fostering culture.

All forms of media such as television shows, films, websites, video games, and compact CDs are produced by humans and, as a result, reflect and further extend the cultural viewpoints of their authors.

Issues and Areas of Study

Understanding the nature of culture and how it affects communication is beneficial in a variety of ways, as follows. To begin, it contributes to the understanding of the origins of differences between the behaviors, beliefs, values, and customs of distinct groups and communities, as well as a reminder of the communication process that resulted in these disparities. People’s tolerance for cultural diversity may and should be increased as a result of this information. Secondly, it contributes to an understanding of how individuals adjust to new relationships, groups, organizations, and societies as well as the cultures of each of these groups, organizations, and communities.

Researchers and politicians in this field are likewise grappling with a number of questions.

Will the cultures of individuals from groups, organizations, and civilizations that have extensive access to and control over communication media outweigh the cultures of individuals from cultures that have limited resources and access to, as well as little control over, communication media?

Can knowledge be used to help individuals more comfortably and effectively adapt to new relationships, groups, organizations, and societies?

Additionally, see:Globalization of Culture Through the Media;Group Communication;Intercultural Communication, Adaptation and;Intercultural Communication, Interethnic Relations and;Interpersonal Communication;Language and Communication;Organizational Communication;Types of Relations;Social Change and the Media;Social Goals and the Media;Society and the Media;Symbols.


Gudykunst, William B. Gudykunst, William B. (1991). Effective Intergroup Communication is essential for bridging differences. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, California. Gudykunst, William B., and Kim, Young Y. Gudykunst, William B. (1984). It is a method of intercultural communication called “Communication with Strangers.” Random House Publishing Company, New York. Edward T. Hall is the author of this work (1959). The Silent Language is a kind of communication that is not spoken. Doubleday Publishing Group, New York.

Hall is the author of this work (1979).

Doubleday Publishing Group, New York.

Ruben have collaborated on this project (1992).

HarperCollins Publishing Company, New York.

Kim, Young Y.


Multilingual Matters is based in Clevedon, England.

The third edition of Communication and Human Behavior.

David Ruben and Lea Stewart are co-authors of the paper (1998).

AllynBacon Publishing Company, Needham Heights, Massachusetts.

Corporation for Cultural Development (Culture, Inc.) Oxford University Press is based in New York.

Ruben is an American businessman and philanthropist.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *