What Is High Context Culture

High-Context Culture: Definition & Examples – Video & Lesson Transcript

Yolanda Williams is the instructor. Include a biography Professor of Psychology and Ethics at the collegiate level, Yolanda also holds a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision. A new notion, high-context cultures, was presented by Edward T. Hall in the 1960s. He characterized them as cultures whose norms of communication are substantially influenced by contextual aspects. Understand its description, features, subgroups and instances in further detail here. The most recent update was made on October 8, 2021.

Defining High-Context Culture

In his 1976 book Beyond Culture, anthropologist Edward T. Hall introduced the concept of high-context culture for the first time. In high-context societies, communication norms are predominantly communicated via the use of contextual cues (such as body language, a person’s social standing, and tone of voice), rather than being clearly stated in a formalized manner. This is in stark contrast to low-context societies, in which information is delivered largely through language and regulations are openly stated in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Family reunions (which are frequent in American society) are an example of a high-context culture, even though the United States is a low-context culture.

As a consequence of their years of interaction with one another, the members are aware of the rules, understand how to think, and understand how to behave, and hence the rules do not need to be clearly stated.

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Following that, we’ll talk about Perception of Figures and the Environment: Definition ExamplesReplay You will be able to see your next lesson in 10 seconds.

Characteristics of High-Context Cultures

Some features that are common to high-context cultures are as follows:

  • Face expressions, eye movement, and tone of voice are the most effective non-verbal techniques of communicating important information in talks. Although the exact words that are spoken are significant, the context, people, and non-verbal components are much more crucial. People feel at ease when they are close to one another
  • Nonetheless, Group problem-solving and learning is the recommended method of issue solving and learning. People who belong to this culture place a high value on interpersonal ties. Before any commercial transactions can take place, trust must be established.

Cultures with a high level of context include:

  • Japan and other Asian nations
  • Brazil and other South American countries
  • African tribal groupings and the majority of African countries
  • And the United States and other Western countries. Most of the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, is under attack.

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Context of Cultures: High and Low

1.4.6 – Context of Cultures: High and LowContext ofCultures: High and LowHere is another concept that will help you pull togethera lot of the material you have read so far about culture. It is called “highcontext” and “low context” and was created by the sameanthropologist who developed the concepts of polychronic and monochronic time.They complement each other and provide a broad framework for looking at culture.The list below shows the kind of behavior thatisgenerally found inhigh and lowcontext cultures within five categories: how people relate to each other, howthey communicate with each other, how they treat space, how they treat time,and how they learn. One thing to remember is that few cultures, and the peoplein them, are totally at one end of the spectrum or the other.Theyusually fall somewhere in between and may have a combination of high and lowcontext characteristics.
  • Relationships are based on trust, which develops gradually and is stable. One makes a distinction between persons who are within and those who are outside one’s circle. The ability to work with others and pay attention to the group process are essential for getting things done. One’s identity is anchored in groups (family, culture, and place of employment)
  • The social structure and authority are centralized, and accountability is at the top of the hierarchy of power. The person in charge is concerned with the well-being of the group.
  • Relationships begin and end in a blink of an eye. A large number of persons can be found within one’s circle
  • The circle’s perimeter is not clearly defined. By following processes and keeping an eye on the end objective, things get accomplished. One’s sense of self and accomplishments serve as the foundation of one’s identity. The social structure is decentralized
  • Responsibility is distributed more widely (rather than being concentrated at the top)
  • The use of nonverbal aspects is extensive
  • The tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, and eye movement all contribute to the overall meaning of the discourse. When communicating verbally, the message is implicit
  • The context (situation, people, nonverbal aspects) is more significant than the words themselves. It is indirect to communicate verbally
  • One speaks around the topic and embellishes it. Communication is regarded as an art form apart from the act of engaging someone. Disagreement is unique to the individual. One is sensitive to the expression of conflict in nonverbal communication by another person. In order for work to develop, either conflict must be resolved or conflict must be avoided since it is personally threatening
  • There is a limited usage of nonverbal components. The verbal communication is more explicit than the nonverbal message
  • The verbal message is more direct. Language is more significant than context
  • A verbal communication is straightforward
  • One lays out exactly what they want to say. A method of exchanging information, ideas, and opinions, communication is considered to be a sort of exchange. Disagreement is depersonalized in this manner. One withdraws from a quarrel with another in order to focus on the work at hand. The emphasis is on logical answers rather than personal ones. It is possible to express one’s dissatisfaction with another’s troublesome conduct
  • People stand near to one another and share the same space since space is common.
  • Space is segregated and privately owned
  • Privacy is paramount, thus individuals are separated by a greater distance.
  • Everything moves at its own pace. Time is difficult to schedule
  • People’s wants may interfere with the ability to stick to a timetable. What is crucial is that something is done
  • Change is slow to happen. Things are firmly entrenched in the past, are difficult to change, and are steadfast. Time is a process
  • It belongs to others as much as to nature
  • It is cyclical.
  • Everything has its own set of rules about when it happens. Individuals’ requirements may interfere with their ability to conform to a defined time schedule. Change occurs slowly
  • Action, on the other hand, occurs quickly. It’s difficult to alter things when they’re anchored in the past. Time is a process
  • It belongs to others as much as to nature
  • It is a gift.
  • Knowledge is integrated in the context
  • Things are interconnected, synthesized, and global in nature, There are a variety of sources of information used. Deductive reasoning is a process that moves from the general to the specific. Learning comes through observation of others as they model or demonstrate, followed by practice. When it comes to learning and problem solving, groups are favored
  • Accuracy is highly regarded. It is crucial to assess how well something has been learnt.
  • Realism has been divided and isolated for many years. When developing knowledge, one source of information is employed. Inductive reasoning is the process of moving from the specific to the general. Individual orientation is favored for learning and problem solving because it allows for greater attention to detail
  • Learning happens by following specific directions and explanations from others
  • And The importance of speed cannot be overstated. It is crucial to consider how quickly something may be taught.

anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s writings, all of which were published in New York by Doubleday in the 1950s and 1960s: The Silent Language(1959), The Hidden Dimension(1969), Beyond Culture(1976), and The Dance of Life(1979) (1983).

The 1993 Annual: Developing Human Resources is the source of this information. PfeifferCompany. Let’s try out the following task to see where you fall on the low and high context continuum.

Instructions:Foreach of the following twenty items, check 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 to indicateyour tendencies and preferences in a work situation.
Hardly Ever Sometimes Almost Always
1 2 3 4 5
1. Whencommunicating, I tend to use a lot of facialexpressions, hand gestures, and body movementsratherthan relying mostly on words.
2. Ipay more attention to the context of a conversation�who said what andunder what circumstances�thanIdo to the words.
3. Whencommunicating, I tend to spell things outquickly and directly rather than talking around and addingto the point.
4. Inan interpersonal disagreement, I tend to be more emotional than logicaland rational.
5. Itend to have a small, close circle of friends rather thana large, but less close, circle of friends.
6. Whenworking with others, I prefer to get the job donefirst and socialize afterward rather than socialize first andthen tackle the job.
7. I would ratherwork in a group than by myself.
8. Ibelieve rewards should be given for individual accomplishment ratherthan for group accomplishments.
9. Idescribe myself in terms of my accomplishmentsratherthan in terms of my family and relationships.
10. Iprefer sharing space with others to having my own private space.
11. Iwould rather work for someone who maintains authorityandfunctions for the good of the group than work for someone who allowsa lot of autonomy and individual decisionmaking.
12. Ibelieve it is more important to be on time than to letotherconcerns take priority.
13. Iprefer working on one thing at a time to working on avariety of things at once.
14. Igenerally set a time schedule and keep to it rather than leave thingsunscheduled and go with the flow.
15. Ifind it easier to work with someone who is fast andwantsto see immediate results than to work with someone who is slow and wantsto consider all the facts.
16. Inorder to learn about something, I tend to consult many sources of informationrather than to go to the one bestauthority.
17. Infiguring out problems, I prefer focusing on the whole situation to focusingon specific parts or taking one step at a time.
18. Whentackling a new task, I would rather figure it out on my own by experimentationthan follow someone else’s example or demonstration.
19. Whenmaking decisions, I consider my likes and dislikes, not just the facts.
20. Iprefer having tasks and procedures explicitly defined tohaving a general idea of what has to be done.
Your High context score is: Your Low context score is: The difference between your scores is:Beforeyou see the interpretation of your scores, read this. Compare your High and Low Context Culture scores. They can provide a pretty clear indication of how you prefer to interact in work and other social settings. All this means is that you are likely to feel more comfortable using one or the other contexts. Neitherone is better or worse than the other. Preferring one style does notmean that you can�t interact effectively in many contexts, but justthat you might have to make some adjustments if, for example, yourstyle is predominantly high context and you find yourself functioningin a largely low context culture, or vice-versa. It also indicatesthat overseas adaptation might be easier if you were intending tolive in a culture that generally reflected those cultural values.Asuseful as it is to know what your “natural” style is, it is even moreimportant to understand how your preferred style might differ fromothers, and what that means when interacting with those who do notshare that preference. If you want to know more about theinterpretation of your scores.clickhere.

To illustrate how cultures fallalong the context continuum, here is a chart that includes some culturesthat have been studied.Nowthat you have learned how to think aboutcultures in general, we will look at a culture that you are very closeto, US-American. Section 1.5 looks at those characteristics of US culturethat will go with you but will not require a suitcase to carry.

High and Low Context

In order to express broad-brush cultural distinctions across cultures, the words “high context” and “low context” (popularized by Edward Hall) are sometimes used interchangeably. High context refers to societies or organizations in which individuals have developed tight bonds over a lengthy period of time, such as family or friends. There are many parts of cultural conduct that are not explicitly stated since most members have learned what to do and what to believe through their years of interaction with one another.

Low context refers to cultures in which people tend to have a large number of relationships, but these connections are of shorter length or are made for a stated cause.

High Context
  • Less vocally clear communication, and less written/formal information are being provided. internalization of what is communicated
  • Increased internalization of what is communicated There are several cross-cutting relationships and interactions with other people
  • Relationships that last a lifetime
  • The establishment of clear borders between those who are acknowledged as belonging and those who are deemed “outsiders.” Knowledge is contextual and relational in nature. Decisions and activities are centered on personal face-to-face interactions, which are frequently centered on a central individual who wields power.

Intimate religious congregations, a get-together with friends, family get-togethers, expensive gourmet restaurants and neighborhood restaurants with a regular clientele, undergraduate friendships on campus, regular pick-up games, and hosting a friend in your home for the night are all examples of what you can do to relax.

Low Context
  • People who are rule-oriented and who play by the rules set by others
  • More knowledge is formalized, made public, shared with others, and made easily available. Sequencing and separation—of time, space, activities, and interpersonal interactions
  • Increasing the number of interpersonal contacts of shorter length
  • Knowledge is more easily transferrable than most people think. Task-centered. Decisions and actions are centered on what has to be done, as well as the distribution of responsibility.

Large US airports, a chain supermarket, a restaurant, a convenience shop, sports where the rules are clearly spelled down, and a hotel are all examples of what you may find in the United States. While these labels can be useful in characterizing some features of a culture, it is impossible to categorize a culture as either “high” or “low” because all cultures incorporate elements of both modes. As a result, the terms “high” and “low” are less applicable as general descriptions of people, and are more effective for describing and understanding specific circumstances and settings.

Ways that High and Low Context Differ

  • Dense, overlapping networks and long-term ties, firm boundaries, and the importance of the relationship over the job
  • Tight, broad networks, shorter-term, segmented ties, with the job taking precedence over the relationship
  • More information exists below the surface of the water – implicit, unconsciously repeated patterns that are difficult to describe even if you are a member of that culture
  • Explicit and purposefully arranged knowledge is found above the waterline than below it.

Entering High and Low Context Situations

Externals may have difficulty navigating high contexts (since you do not carry the context knowledge internally, and because you are unable to immediately establish close associations). Low contexts are quite easy to enter if you are not familiar with the situation (because the environment contains much of the information you need to participate, and because can you form relationships fairly soon, and because the important thing is accomplishing a task rather than feeling your way into a relationship).

The inner high context core of a scenario is frequently separated from the outside low context ring, which is reserved for individuals who are less involved.

It is also generally very obvious how to participate in the meetings, such as by bringing a child to the meeting.

They may “agree” on what should be discussed or what should take place without ever actually discussing it; they may have unconscious, unexpressed values that impact their decisions without ever realizing it.

Other parents who are not involved in the decision-making process may be perplexed as to how decisions are made. So while the PTA is still considered low context, it does have a high context subgroup that is also a member of a high context small town culture.

When you enter a high context situation, it doesn’t immediately become a low context culture just because you came in the door!It is still a high context culture and you are just (alas), ignorant.Also, even low context cultures can be difficult to learn: religious dietary laws, medical training, written language all take years to understand. The point is that that information has been made conscious, systematic, and available to those who have the resources to learn it.

High Context Culture Meaning, Importance & Example

A high context culture is one in which the majority of communication is done indirectly and in which there is a greater reliance on non-verbal communication and body language. In a high context culture, relationships are established slowly and steadily over time, and they are typically long-lasting and solid, as they are based on trust and loyalty. Asian, African, Latin American, and Central European countries are the most likely to have a strong sense of context culture.

Importance of High Context Culture

Edward Hall, an anthropologist, published a book in 1959 called ‘The Silent Language’ that helped to establish the discipline of Intercultural Communication. Intercultural communication refers to the manner in which individuals communicate in various cultures and the extent to which the message is conveyed clearly. In order to illustrate how cultural variations effect communication, Hall divided Intercultural Communication into two categories: High Context Communication and Low Context Communication.

The importance of nonverbal aspects such as facial expressions and gestures is being emphasized more.

People are sensitive to confrontations, and every effort is made to prevent them or to resolve them as quickly as possible.

People are notoriously resistant to change.

Difference Between High Context and Low Context Cultures

Marketing communication is often different for cultures with a high context vs cultures with a low context. During times of high context culture, a product is sold with colorful graphics that incorporate a variety of colors, varied emotions that depict relationships and symbolic meanings, and other techniques. Aside from that, endorsements from celebrities are often more successful. The design of the packaging is likewise done in this manner, with a tendency for bright colors. Even corporate websites are translated according to whether they are in a high-context or low-context culture.

Animated images, sound, and a variety of interactive components are all included in website design.

Western cultures, such as those found in the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, are mostly low context cultures.

Low context cultures place the least reliance on nonverbal cues, and, in contrast to collectivism, they place a significant focus on the sense of solitude that they foster.

Advantages of High Context Culture

1. As the social structure is centralized, the top leader is primarily responsible for maintaining harmony in the group and the advantage is that deals can be made with the person who has authority over the group. 2. Since high context cultures believe in the sense of collectivism, there is a sense of belonging and security. Group cohesiveness is high and individuals are motivated to attain goals working in groups. 3. Accuracy, problem-solving and group learning is encouraged which enhances efficiency.

Relationships are personal, long term and based on trust and loyalty which brings about a humane approach while solving conflicts.

Disadvantages of High Context Culture

1. There is a danger of misinterpretation in a high context culture since nonverbal communication is the norm in most situations. Due to the fact that disagreements are typically personal in nature and that the emphasis is placed on conflict resolution before moving forward with the work, there is a danger of ignoring or failing to complete the duties in an attempt to address disputes. 3. People are extremely sluggish to respond to changes, making it difficult to adjust to rapidly changing situations.

Examples of High Context Culture

1. The bond between a mother and her kid in advertisements for products such as Vicks, Complan, Colgate, Clinic Plus, Dettol, and Surf Excel in India. In several advertisements, such as Fortune Oil, storytelling has been utilized to address the emotions of the viewer. In one such advertisement, an elderly woman demands that the nurse feed his grandson who is in the hospital on a daily basis. The feelings displayed by the elderly lady, the nurse, and the grandson as he finally gets to eat the home-cooked food prepared by his grandmother captured the attention of millions of people worldwide.

  1. 4.
  2. The IKEA website in Japan is considerably different from the IKEA website in the United States.
  3. Approximately 65 percent of buyers in India try on new items because of the packaging.
  4. The Business Concepts Team has conducted extensive research and written this article.
  5. The information on MBA Skool has been prepared only for the purpose of education and academic research.
  6. More than 2000 business topics are covered in five categories in the Management Dictionary.

High Context and Low Context Cultures

According to anthropologist Edward T. Hall’s 1976 book Beyond Culture, the idea of high and low context refers to the manner in which civilizations communicate with one another. The majority of communication occurs implicitly in high context cultures, which means that the context and connections are more essential than the actual words, and therefore, just a few words are required. Since words are the primary means of communication in low context societies, they must be as plain as possible in order to be understood.

  • To comprehend how this occurs, one must first comprehend the way in which communication is processed.
  • To make sense of information, it is necessary to consider both the information that is sent in and out and the information that has been kept, often known as the information in context.
  • B is significantly higher in high context cultures because they rely on traditions, highly deep personal ties, and well-established hierarchies, and hence have much more B.
  • For lack of a better expression, the essential information in high context cultures is either contained within “the physical context” or is internalized by the individual.

Low-context communication is the polar opposite of high-context communication, in that the majority of the information is vested in the explicit code.” Hall (1977, p. 91) describes the process as follows: Cultures with a high level of context:

  • Traditions are important
  • Encourage the development of long-term connections. Use non-verbal cues such as tone of voice, facial expressions, body language, and so on to communicate effectively
  • They have a tendency to be non-confrontational and more straightforward. Non-explicit communication should be viewed as a rejection of the request. There isn’t much to say about them
  • Are more collectivistic in their outlook. The group is the source of one’s identity. Group harmony is highly valued. Individuals should have more defined limits, such as belonging to a certain group. They are sluggish to adapt

Cultures with a low level of context:

  • Tend to engage in a large number of superficial, short-term partnerships
  • Because they lack extra context, they necessitate explicit communication. Communication is more direct and combative these days, which is good. Are more individualistic in their outlook. The responsibility for identifying is with the person. Individual requirements are taken into consideration. Require that the message contain all of the necessary information. Can alter in a short period of time

Another component that is connected to this is the perception of time. High context cultures are more likely to have an apolychronic experience of time, whereas low context cultures are more likely to have a amonochronic view. For monochronic persons, time is a physical and sequential concept — it is something that can be saved, spent, and so on. They set and stick to rigid deadlines, and they concentrate on completing a single task at a time. Polychronic persons have a flexible perception of time.

  1. Polychronic persons, on the other hand, work on numerous things at the same time, going back and forth between them.
  2. Similarly, someone from a low-context culture may behave in a way that would be considered ignorant, rude, or incompetent in a high-context culture.
  3. Additionally, a high-context individual may be perceived as unclear, secretive, undependable, unable to follow through on ideas, or inept owing to a lack of capacity to function independently.
  4. Japan, China, and the Arab countries are examples of countries with a high level of context sensitivity.
  5. It should be emphasized, however, that not all of the traits listed above and below are applicable to all cultures classified as high or low context.
  6. Sources 91-131 in Edward T.
  7. Sorrels, K.
  8. Edward T.
  9. (1995), “International Organizational Behaviour,” Luthans Virtual OB McGraw-Hill, pp 487-518; Sorrels, K.

High-Context vs. Low-Context Communication

I’m a recent graduate of the MCDM program at the University of Washington. For the time being, I am employed as a Marketing Coordinator/Administrator for an interior architecture firm. Globalization has enabled businesses to operate on a global scale. If you want to be effective on a worldwide scale, you’ll need to understand a variety of communication techniques. Canva.com As it turns out, business relationships these days are a small world indeed. As more and more businesses shift their attention to international markets, professionals are finding themselves in unfamiliar territory, negotiating and bartering like never before.

In a phrase coined by author Edward Hall, the terms “high context” and “low context” refer to designations that denote underlying cultural variations that exist across different cultures.

According to Hall, when it comes to communication, people are exposed to far more sensory stimuli than they are capable of processing completely.

In general, societies that value low-context communication will give more attention to the literal meanings of words than they will to the context in which they are used.

Often, the sorts of connections we have with people and the circumstances in which we find ourselves will determine how much we rely on literal or implicit meanings in our communication. Ask the following questions to have a better understanding of high-context and low-context communication:

  • How well do I identify implicit signals from others, and how well do I recognize the verbal and nonverbal indicators that allow me to grasp what the speaker is trying to convey? (High-Context)
  • What do I mean when I say “let my words speak for themselves?” Do I like to be more direct, relying on what is openly expressed in my speech, or do I prefer to be more indirect? (Low-Context)

Amy Tan, a novelist, portrays the variations in cultural communication in the following way: “”Let’s strike a deal,” may remark an American business executive, to which a Chinese management might respond, “Is your son interested in learning about your widget business?” might suggest the Chinese manager. Dedicated to each or her own goal, everyone on his or her own language journey.” It is common for issues to arise during the sharing of information when people from high-context and low-context cultures work with one another.

Employees from high-context cultures such as China and France, for example, exchange highly precise and lengthy information with their “in-group members” as a matter of course (good friends, families, close coworkers, etc).

High-Context Communication

Hall says that the majority of the knowledge is either in the physical context or has been initialized in the individual.

  • Knowledge is contextual and relational in nature. Less information is communicated verbally, in writing, or in a formal manner. Increasingly internalized understandings of what is transmitted (for example, through “in-jokes”)
  • In long-term, well-established partnerships, this expression is frequently employed. Personalized face-to-face contact, generally centered on a single, authoritative figure, is at the heart of all decisions and actions
  • The ability to distinguish between those who are accepted/belong and those who are “outsiders”


  • Relationships are built on trust, take time to develop, and are rather stable. Relationships with individuals and attention to group process are important factors in how things get done. One’s identity is founded in social groupings (family, culture, and place of employment)


  • Nonverbal communication is heavily emphasized
  • Tone of voice, facial expression, gestures, and eye movement all contribute significantly to the flow of a discussion. It is indirect to communicate verbally
  • One speaks around the issue and embellishes it
  • Communication is seen as an art form—a method of interacting with another person. Disagreement is unique to the individual. One’s nonverbal communication is sensitive to the expression of conflict in another’s nonverbal communication. In order for work to advance, either the conflict must be resolved or it must be avoided.


  • There are a variety of information sources employed. Observing others as they model or display, and then practicing, is how deductive thinking works
  • Learning occurs by first observing others as they model or exhibit, and then practicing When it comes to learning and problem solving, groups are favored
  • Accuracy is highly regarded. It is crucial to assess how well something has been learnt.

High context cultures are more prevalent in eastern countries than in western ones, as well as in countries with a low level of ethnic diversity. Cultures that place a high importance on the collective above the individual encourage group dependency. High context cultures, such as tribal and aboriginal communities, are characterized by a strong sense of tradition and history, and they change little over time. For example, the French presume that the listener is well-versed in the subject matter.

During the Camp David peace talks, former President Jimmy Carter recognized the significance of communicating in a high-context with his colleagues from Israel and Egypt.

As he gazed at the photographs, the prime minister spoke aloud the names of his grandkids, pondering on the importance of the peace negotiations to the futures of his grandchildren and his own grandchildren.

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“The explicit code possesses the majority of the information,” says Hall.

  • Organizing by rules
  • More knowledge is available to the public, is external, and is easily accessible. Communication sessions will be shorter in duration. Knowing something is transferrable. Task-centered. Determining what has to be done and dividing duties are at the forefront of decisions and activities.


  • Relationships are short-lived and frequently terminate abruptly. A large number of persons can be found within one’s circle
  • The circle’s perimeter is not clearly defined. By following processes and keeping an eye on the end objective, things get accomplished. One’s sense of self and accomplishments serve as the foundation of one’s identity. The social structure is decentralized
  • Responsibility is distributed more widely (rather than being concentrated at the top)


  • The message is communicated more effectively via words than through nonverbal ways. The verbal communication is direct
  • One expresses himself or herself clearly. In the context of communication, it is considered a means of communicating information, ideas, and views. Disagreement is depersonalized in this manner. One withdraws from a quarrel with another in order to focus on the work at hand. The emphasis is on intellectual answers rather than personal ones


  • In order to develop knowledge, one source of information is used
  • Inductive reasoning is the process of moving from the specific to the general. The attention is on the details
  • Learning comes as a result of following precise directions and explanations provided by others. When it comes to learning and problem solving, an individualistic approach is recommended. The importance of speed cannot be overstated. It is crucial to consider how quickly something may be taught.

It is necessary for an individual coming from a high context culture to adapt and/or be accommodated while moving to a low context culture. Small, close-knit groups are expected in high context cultures, where work and personal life are intertwined and interdependent. As a result, an individual with a high context sensitivity is more inclined to ask questions rather than attempt to figure out a solution on their own. Remember that communication is essential in business, so be certain that you know not just what to say but also how to say it.

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We were not equipped with the most up-to-date data sets when we arrived.” A high-context communication style is more reliant on contextual signals (such as how and where you say something): Following a dissatisfactory meeting with a client, the boss summons an employee to their office.

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Thank you for taking the time to read this.

billon The 26th of February, 2008: Thank you for your positive assessment of Hall’s work.

You’ve just read my thoughts, congratulations! Mr., you have a great sense of humor. On October 16, 2007, Ronasa23 posted the following: I’d be delighted if anyone would like to join me.

High and Low Cultural Contexts – Intercultural Business Communication

You will be able to do so when you have finished this chapter.

  • Define cultural context (Guffey et al., 2013, p. 64)
  • Compare and contrast communication strategies for low-context and high-context civilizations (Meyer, 2017, p. 59)
  • Define the term “cultural context” (Guffey et al., 2013, p. 64)

Now that we have a general understanding of what culture is, let’s talk about some classifications for distinct elements of different cultures. When we talk about culture, we tend to make broad generalizations in order to build cultural prototypes. Please keep in mind that culture is ever-changing, and that every individual within a culture is distinct and may not perfectly adhere to the main traits of that culture. Also keep in mind that, despite the fact that cultures differ from one another, no culture or cultural trait is superior or inferior to any other culture or characteristic.

  • Hall, a cultural anthropologist, is credited with developing the notion of cultural context.
  • The meaning of communicators in low-context cultures (such as those found in North America, Scandinavia, and Germany) is less dependent on the context of a situation than in high-context cultures.
  • The low-context cultures are rational, analytical, and action-oriented, and they are primarily focused on the person.
  • High-context cultures are more likely to be intuitive, introspective, and concerned with the collective than low-context societies are.
  • When communicating in high-context cultures, communication signals such as posture, voice intonation, gestures, and facial expression are used to communicate.
  • In contrast to the linear communication style preferred by low-context cultures, high-context communicators may employ spiral logic, which involves circling around a topic indirectly and looking at it from a variety of tangential or divergent perspectives.

Unlike high-context cultures (such as those found in North America and Western Europe), low-context cultures (such as those found in North America and Western Europe) place less emphasis on the environment of a situation when communicating meaning (such as those in Japan, China, and Arab countries).

Low-Context Cultures

Communicators in low-context cultures (such as those seen in Germany, Scandinavia, and North America) transmit their meaning without regard to the context of a scenario in which they are communicating. The meaning of a communication is determined by what is stated, or the exact content of the message, rather than how it is expressed. In order for the message to be transmitted without distortion, the information must be explicit and precise in nature. Low-context communicators don’t require much in the way of background information, but they do want communications to be professional, quick, and logical in their reasoning.

In this section, conclusions are presented fully. In order to communicate effectively within this culture, message that is viewed as impartial, professional, and efficient is required.

High-Context Cultures

When it comes to high-context cultures (such as those found in nations such as Japan, China, Korea, and Arab countries), nonverbal, contextual, and shared cultural meanings play an important role in communication. As a result, high-context communicators place a high value on everything that occurs outside of an express communication, including interpersonal connections, non-verbal signals, physical and social environments, as well as other factors. Information is given not just via words but also through non-verbal signals such as gestures, voice inflection, and facial expression, which can have a variety of interpretations depending on the culture in which it is received and delivered.

Instead of what is said, meaning is established by the manner in which it is conveyed and the social consequences of that communication, such as the communicator’s rank and position.

In high-context societies, directness may be regarded as disrespectful; hence, talks may be convoluted, circling significant topics rather than confronting them head-on.

Comparing Communication Styles in Low- and High-Context Cultures

Low Context High Context
Tend to prefer direct verbal interaction Tend to prefer indirect verbal interaction
Tend to understand meaning at one level only Tend to understand meanings embedded at many sociocultural levels
Are generally less proficient in reading nonverbal cues Are generally more proficient in reading nonverbal cues
Value individualism Value group membership
Rely more on logic Rely more on context and feeling
Employ linear logic Employ spiral logic
Say ‘no’ directly Talk around point; avoid saying no
Communication in highly structured messages, provide details, stress literal meaning Communication is simple, sometimes ambiguous, messages; understand visual messages readily

Note: This excerpt from Business communication: Processproduct(p. 64) by M.E. Guffey, D. Lowey, K. Rhodes, and P. Rogin is published with permission from Business communication: Processproduct. Watch this video from international business expert Erin Meyer to learn more about international business. What aspects of her life show what you’ve learned so far about the many characteristics of culture are you thinking about?

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