Which Of The Following Is Valued In A High-context Culture

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.
  • Things are set to be completed at specific times and one at a time, according to a timetable. What matters is that task be completed efficiently, and that change occurs quickly. When one changes his or her behavior, one may witness instant benefits
  • Time is a commodity that can be spent or saved. One’s time is his or her own
  • 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.

There are many different compartments in reality. To build knowledge, one source of information is used. Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning that moves from the specific to the general. Individual orientation is favored for learning and problem solving because it allows for more attention to detail; learning happens via following specific directions and explanations of others; and It is important to be fast. It is critical to consider how quickly something may be taught.

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.

Communicating in High Context vs. Low Context Cultures

The manner in which individuals interact with one another varies greatly from culture to culture. The need of understanding these disparities and their origins has never been greater than it is now, in our totally globalized world. One approach to gaining such an insight is through the use of the high and low context culture framework, which was established by anthropologist Edward T. Hall and is described below. Hall argued in 1976 that cultures may be split into two categories: those with a high context and those with a low context.

What are the differences?

The distinction between high and low context cultures is intended to draw attention to the variations in verbal and nonverbal communication styles among people. Highly contextual cultures will employ communication that is concerned with the underlying context, meaning and tone of the message rather than the actual words themselves. Japan, China, France, Spain, Brazil, and a number of other countries fall within this classification. Low-context cultures, on the other hand, demand messages to be precisely expressed so that there is no danger of confusion, and if a message isn’t clear enough, it will cause the communication process to be slowed down.

Cultures in the Western world, such as the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, are among those that engage in low-context communication.

High Context vs. Low Context Culture Characteristics

Cultures are rarely able to be categorised into either high or low contexts in a strict sense. Most cultures lay somewhere in the middle of the range, and they can exhibit features of both high and low context traits to varied degrees in different situations. Although the degree to which a culture has high context or low context can be a complicated quality, it can influence a wide range of other elements of a particular culture. For example, resemblance is a significant trait in cultures with a high level of context.

Messages can be contextualized by assuming that the audience would think in the same manner and will follow the underlying meaning implied in someone’s speech or writing as a result of these common experiences.

They are frequently diversified in nature, and they place a strong emphasis on the individual rather than the collective.

Because there are so many disparities within a low-context culture, communication must be simple enough that it may be understood by as many individuals as possible, regardless of their background.

Forms of Communication

Communication in general differs between high and low context cultures, and the styles of communication, as well as the sorts of media that they choose, varies as well. Despite the fact that these forms can change in today’s fast-paced digital world, fundamental inclinations remain constant. In general, oral communications are preferred by high-context societies, whereas written communications are preferred by low-context ones. Those from low-context cultures rely on electronic communication to communicate quickly and frequently through emails, texts, and online messaging.

  • What exactly is going on
  • What is the location of the action
  • When is it going to happen
  • How is it going to happen
  • What is the timeline?

It is true that high-context societies will inevitably shift their emphasis away from fundamental inquiries and toward lengthier modes of communication that are less focused on them.

Communicating in International Business

In order to communicate effectively and avoid making embarrassing or offensive blunders, it is essential for a multinational firm to understand the differences between high and low context cultures. Having a thorough awareness of these distinctions will help you to improve both external, client-focused communication as well as inter-organizational connections significantly. Will your attempts to be succinct and to the point be appreciated by a Japanese company? Is it possible that a German corporation may grow bored if you speak around a problem rather than immediately address it?

Explore the rest of our blog for additional information about global communication techniques.

Children’s Medical Services – Lesson2_4

Culture Differences and CommunicationThink about how cultural differences between families and professionals might lead to miscommunication and conflict. Be aware of the different styles of interactions between families and professionals in various cultures. Consider the impact on conflict resolution when differences arise between the family and the professional. Some issues to be aware of:
  • Some cultures place a high value on maintaining one’s dignity. The importance of maintaining peace rather than becoming hostile
  • The importance of indirectness and subtlety is emphasized.

It is possible that your cultural frame of reference will prohibit you from comprehending another person’s mode of communicating. In our culture, there are certain expectations and conventions about how we should engage with others in the world, such as how we interact with family and community members, how we feel about higher authority, how we deal with problems and communicate effectively, among other things. Cultural learning is reflected in verbal communication, which includes things like voice tone, speech rate, modulation, conversation pauses, the way interruptions are interpreted, and how quickly one gets to the point in a conversation (Jordan, 2001, p.13) When interacting with people from cultures other than our own, it is critical to suspend preconceived notions about how they are acting or speaking and to examine some alternate interpretations of what they are doing or saying, rather than making assumptions about them.

  1. It is critical that we scrutinize our own views and refrain from making snap judgements or jumping to conclusions.
  2. African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native cultures are examples of collectivistic cultures in the United States.
  3. Most of these characteristics or value orientations may be found on a spectrum, ranging from individualism to collectivism (FriendCook, 2003).
  4. Collectivistic cultures place a high priority on interdependence as well as the cohesiveness of the community as a whole.
  5. Another cultural aspect that is crucial for communication is whether the culture is in a “low” or “high” cultural environment, respectively.
  6. The United States is seen as having a low-context cultural tradition.
  7. There are fewer words uttered, and less emphasis is placed on verbal exchanges in general ” (LynchHanson,1997, p.
  8. Nonverbal indications and communications are becoming increasingly important.
  9. This has ramifications for effective communication between cultures with low and high context levels of understanding.

Take note of the ways in which they may diverge from the mainstream Anglo-European culture in the United States. It is important to remember that these are broad qualities on a continuum and may not apply to all families all of the time (KalyanpurHarry, 1999; LynchHanson, 1997; TharpYamauchi, 1994).

Individualistic Collectivistic
Low-context: Direct, explicit communication – “get to the point.” High-context: Indirect cues, communication relies on context of the conversation and past experience.
Talk: Self-assertion is achieved through talk; talk used to achieve comfort in a group. Silence: Silence is valued and used communicatively; comfort derived from silence.
Directness: Individuality and uniqueness are asserted; opinions are expressed to disagree, persuade, and avoid ambiguity. Indirectness: Hints and subtle cues are used and ambiguity tolerated to maintain harmony.
Uneven turn-taking: One party may dominate; both parties may introduce topics and speak at length about them. Balanced turn-taking: Turns distributed evenly; each party takes short turns and does not randomly shift topics.

Based on the work of Watkins, R., and Eatman, J. (2001). Cross-cultural communication is introduced in this course. (2nd Chapter of Technical Report 14). The Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services for Early Childhood Research (CLAS) Institute is located in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. According to Harry, Kalyanpur, and Day (19999), a model of cultural reciprocity is proposed in order to ensure that families are actively involved in the special education process. This methodology has the potential to be helpful in early intervention as well.

These are as follows:

  1. Determining whether or not cultural values are integrated in a professional’s perception of a child’s developmental concerns or in the prescription for assistance Determine whether or not these ideals are shared by the family, and if not, how their perspectives differ. Recognize and appreciate any cultural differences that have been found, and thoroughly explain to the family the cultural basis for the professional assumption. Determine the most effective method of adjusting professional interpretations or suggestions to the value system of the family through conversation and collaboration between the family and the professional (pp. 1-12).

Visit the Resource Bank to read the document, Different Perspectives Worksheet, which may be found there. This article examines some of the probable differences in ideas on the kid between families and professionals. Answer the three questions that follow once you have finished reading the lesson up to this point and looking at the graphic.

  1. What role do these disparities have in increasing the divide between families and professions
  2. Are there any unfavorable sentiments against “uninvolved” or “non-compliant” parents as a result of these distinctions? Professionals who “don’t get it” or “are attempting to tell me what to do” are addressed as follows: What strategies can you use to reduce these discrepancies

Multicultural working environment – employers

First and foremost, when we speak about cultural differences and disparities across cultures, we tend to think of the conventional cultural differences that are founded on geographical and religious distinctions. When we were interviewing foreigners living in Finland about their experiences, they informed us that the traditional method of categorizing individuals based on their backgrounds may already be outdated. We will discuss several theories of intercultural competence, which is defined as a set of abilities that allows people to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries.

These skills are even more important now as globalisation has made cultural differences less evident to one another and more difficult to separate or distinguish from other variables, making them much more crucial.

At the end of this article, we also remind you about and provide some ideas on how to deal with homesickness.

Cultural Theories

Fons Trompenaars’ idea is one of the most well-known theories, and it may be quite useful when describing the working culture to new workers. A Dutch thinker in the fields of cross-cultural communication and international management, he is well-known for his work. He collaborated with Charles Hampden-Turner on the development of a model of cultural distinctions between nations. This model consists of seven aspects, each of which is thought to give light on how individuals from various national cultures interact with one another in different situations.

Individuals from diverse country cultures can benefit from learning the many dimensions of human interaction. For example, ex-pats in other cultures who have managerial responsibilities can get valuable insight from the various dimensions. Here is a list of the seven dimensions in detail:

Edward T. Hall´s Theory

Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist who produced groundbreaking discoveries on important cultural elements in the early twentieth century. The following are some of the cultural variables that have made him famous: high and low context cultural factors. People who live in a high-context society are more likely to grasp the rules since there are numerous contextual aspects to consider. As a result, a lot is taken for granted these days. This may be quite perplexing for someone who is unfamiliar with the ‘unwritten rules’ of the culture in question.

While this implies that more explanation is required, it also means that there is less potential of misunderstanding, which is especially important when there are guests there to help.

Factor High-Context Culture Low-Context Culture
Overtness of messages Many covert and implicit messages, with use of metaphor and reading between the lines. Many overt and explicit messages that are simple and clear.
Locus of control and attribution for failure Inner locus of control and personal acceptance forfailure. Outer locus of control and blame of others for failure.
Use of non-verbal communication Much nonverbal communication. More focus on verbal communication than body language.
Expression of reaction Reserved, inward reactions. Visible, external, outward reaction.
Cohesion and separation of groups Strong distinction between in-group and out-group. Strong sense of family. Flexible and open grouping patterns, changing as needed.
People bonds Strong personal bonds with affiliation to family and community. Fragile bonds between people with little sense of loyalty.
Level of commitment to relationships High commitment to long-term relationships.Relationship more important than task. Low commitment to relationships. Task more important than relationships.
Flexibility of time Time is open and flexible.Process is more important than product. Time is highly organized.Product is more important than process.

Time in a Cultural Context

M-Time, as he dubbed it, refers to the practice of doing one item at a time. It is based on meticulous planning and scheduling, and it is a common Western technique that can be found in disciplines such as ‘time management.’ People who are monochronic are also more likely to have low context.

Polychronic Time

‘Getting things done’ is less important in Polychronic societies since human contact is prized above time and material possessions. Things are nonetheless completed, but in their own time rather than the time of others. Aboriginal and Native American cultures are typical polychronic civilizations, in which ‘talking stick’ sessions can go for as long as there is something to say by everyone involved. People who are polychronic are also more likely to be high context.

Contrasting the Two

Western civilizations differ in how much emphasis they place on either monochronic or polychronic time. Americans have a significant inclination to be monochronic, but the French have a far stronger tendency to be polychronic – for example, a French person may be late to a meeting and not think anything of it (much to the annoyance of a German or American co-worker).

Factor Monochronic action Polychronic action
Actions Do one thing at a time Do many things at once
Focus Concentrate on the job at hand Are easily distracted
Attention to time Think about when things must be achieved Think about what will be achieved
Priority Put the job first Put relationships first
Respect for property Seldom borrow or lend things Borrow and lend things often and easily
Timeliness Emphasize promptness Base promptness on relationship factors


Hall was preoccupied with the concept of space and our connections within it. He coined the term “proxemics” to describe the study of such space. Our worries about space extend beyond our personal body space to include workplace space, parking spaces, and even our own personal space in our own homes.

The Need for Space

Some people require greater space in all areas of their lives. People who trespass on such space are viewed as a danger to the community. Personal space is an example of a moveable kind of territory, because people require different distances between them and others depending on their circumstances. In order to conserve space, a Japanese person who requires less room will stand closer to an American, thereby making the American uneasy. Some individuals require larger living quarters, larger automobiles, larger workplaces, and so on.

This may be influenced by cultural variables, for example, the fact that American space is bigger, resulting in the demand for more use of space, but Japanese space is smaller, leading to the need for less space (partly because of limited usable space in Japan).

High Territoriality

Some individuals are more territorial than others, and they are more concerned with the ownership of their property. They are attempting to demarcate the territories that are theirs, and they may even engage in border conflicts with their neighbors. This occurs all the way down to the desk level, when coworkers may engage in a physical conflict over a piece of paper that crosses from one person’s area to another. Many wars have been fought at the national level for territorial disputes. Territoriality extends to whatever that is deemed’mine,’ and worries about ownership apply to tangible possessions as well.

People who have a high sense of territoriality are also likely to have a low sense of context.

Low Territoriality

People who have a weaker sense of territorial ownership have a smaller sense of ownership of space, and borders are less significant to them. They will share territory and ownership without giving it any consideration. They are also less concerned with material possessions, and their sense of’stealing’ is less developed as a result (this is more important for highly territorial people). People who are low in territoriality are likewise likely to be high in context.


People who have a lesser sense of territorial ownership have a smaller sense of ownership of space, and they place less importance on borders. Little attention will be given to how they would share territory and ownership. Aside from that, they are less concerned with material possessions and have a weaker understanding of the concept of “stealing” (this is more important for highly territorial people). Low territoriality is associated with a strong context sensitivity.

Homesickness and culture shock

It’s possible that some members of your crew are missing their families back home. The majority of people go through stages of cultural shock. A large proportion of people go through the various stages of this procedure several times. Some stages may only be applicable in part, and many people will never experience any form of culture shock. The First Stage is referred to as the Honeymoon Stage. Everything about the new culture will excite and enthuse the newcomer from the beginning. The language will be studied with zeal and big strides will be achieved in the learning process.

  1. The Second Stage is Disintegration.
  2. Cultural differences will no longer be embraced, but will instead be seen as a cause of contention.
  3. The Third Stage is Reintegration.
  4. He or she starts to reject the distinctions that have been encountered.
  5. Finding and consuming comfort food from the person’s own country may be a pleasant experience.
  6. The individual is re-connecting with the aspects of himself or herself that he or she cherished, as well as with their own culture.
  7. The Acceptance Stage is the final stage.
  8. With increased familiarity with and ability to cope with new situations, the individual grows more calm and secure in his or her own abilities.

The majority of encounters become pleasurable, and one is able to make decisions based on their own personal beliefs and preferences. More information may be found at:Warwick

Medicine for Homesickness

Edward T. Hall suggests that you set aside some time to meet each other in person. Nothing brings people together like a casual discussion over a cup of coffee or a meal shared with them. Workers from different cultures are occasionally homesick and long to visit their coworkers who are from the same culture. For a Finnish coworker, being invited to the house of another colleague is considered a privilege. It has happened on a few occasions that an invitation to a private family summer cottage has served as the first step in the development of a lifelong professional partnership and friendship.

The general human level is the level at which clients and professionals interact, whether they are working in the tourist industry or independently, and respect should be ingrained in the ethos of all businesses.

dimensions of cultural variability

In the work of Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede, a concept known as Dimensions of Cultural Variability was developed. It refers to the prevailing values, principles, beliefs, attitudes, and ethics that are held by a distinct group of people who make up a culture. When taken together, these dimensions form an overarching framework within which people learn to arrange their ideas, emotions, and behaviors in connection to their surroundings. Researchers in intercultural communication have identified various characteristics of cultural diversity that may be utilized to distinguish between cultures throughout the course of the last several decades.

James W.

Those in charge of editing the Encyclopaedia Britannica

Practice Quiz

  • Nonverbal cues are less important in high-context societies than they are in low-context cultures.
  • Civilizations with a high context rely on nonverbal signs less than cultures with a low context
  • NASCAR fans meet the criteria for belonging to a co-culture because they do the following:
  1. A. have a clearly defined identityb. acquire a sense of belongingc. utilize distinguishing languaged. employ distinguishing nonverbal markerse. A. have a clearly defined identity all of the foregoing
  • Have a clearly defined identityb. have a strong feeling of belongingc. use distinctive languaged. utilize distinctive nonverbal markerse. have a clearly defined identity anything and everything mentioned above
  1. A. recognize the need of assisting oneself b. place a high priority on providing for extended family value duty and tradition
  2. All of the abovee
  3. None of the above
  • This is known as: When individuals of a culture believe that their culture is superior to others, this is known as
  1. A. the ability to tolerate uncertainty b. the ability to function across cultural boundaries c. ethnocentrism is a way of looking at things from a certain point of view. d. a. and be. all of the aforementioned things
  1. A. high-context cultureb. prejudicec. inadequacy in dealing with people from other cultures It is important to maintain a sense of power distance.
  • When it comes to speaking up in class, students from Different cultures are less comfortable.
  1. A. a great deal of power distanceb. a great deal of contextc. achieved. nurturinge. none of the aforementioned
  • Identify which of the following co-cultures the text cites as influencing our cultural identity, perception of others, and communication with them
  1. A. ethnicity and race are important considerations. The expression “gender identity/sexual orientation” All of the co-cultures mentioned above are those specified by the text as such: c. age/generational. socioeconomic statuses.
  • People in cultures place a strong importance on material achievement
  • However, this is not universal.
  1. A. a long range of high power b. the accomplishment of a goal c. a great desire to avoid ambiguity. nurturing e. none of the options listed above
  • A husband and wife from different cultural origins who come to understand one another reflect the aspects of communication are important
  1. A combination of high intercultural and low interpersonal skills, b a combination of low intercultural and high interpersonal skills, c a combination of high intercultural and high interpersonal skills. Intercultural and interpersonal skills are lacking. a medium level of intercultural and interpersonal sensitivity

Differences in high-context and low-context communication styles

People’s perceptions of information are influenced by differences in high-context and low-context communication techniques across cultures, according to the study. In order to communicate successfully and avoid making embarrassing or offensive blunders in a global business, it is critical to understand the differences between high-context cultures and low-context cultures. Having a thorough awareness of these distinctions will help you to improve both external, client-focused communication as well as inter-organizational connections significantly.

  • Even for businesses that are not international in nature, it is necessary to recognize the significance of “intercultural communication” or “cross-cultural communication” in today’s world.
  • In an ancient play on cultural stereotypes that probably predates the Internet, it is stated that “In Heaven, the cops are British, the chefs are French, and the engineers are German.
  • While the majority of people live with the danger of generalization at the price of examining individual behavior and performance, there is still enough truth in the above remark to cause a grin to appear on their faces.
  • These inconsistencies may be thrown into great view whenever a worldwide campaign or quality program is in existence, and they can result in significantly varied outcomes depending on the circumstances.
  • The establishment of a dedicated ‘International Client Center’ at RCM Technologies marks a significant step forward in the development of our cultural understanding.

Now that our salespeople have completed their training, we’re delving a little deeper, looking at some of the communication differences we’ve noticed between ‘Eastern’ business practices and ‘Western” business practices – and specifically, how these differences affect the Customer Experience when customers in the United States and Great Britain contact offshore, Asia-Pacific region customer service agents.

The article gives important food for thought for anybody in charge of teams working across different regional communication styles; however, for a more in-depth look at high context vs.

Before we go any farther into the distinctions in cultural contexts, consider how valuable this information may be to you personally.

At a point when Prime Minister Menachem Begin was about to walk away from the disappointing discussions, Carter handed him with photographs of the three heads of state, on which the names of each of Begin’s grandchildren had been scrawled.

Carter understood that making a high-context allusion to future generations would persuade the prime minister to return to the negotiating table.

High-Context Communication

  • Knowing how to act in different situations and with different people
  • Less is orally explicit, written, or officially articulated
  • Internalization of what is communicated
  • Increased internalization of what is communicated Primarily employed in long-term and well-established relationships. Personalized face-to-face contact, generally centered on a single, authoritative figure, is at the heart of all decisions and actions
  • Strong sense of who is “internal,” that is, who is accepted/belongs, as opposed to who is “outer.”


  • Relationships are built slowly and steadily, making them more secure and reliant on trust. Execution is primarily reliant on interpersonal interactions and the attention paid to group operations. One’s identity is founded in social groupings (family, culture, and place of employment)


  • Nonverbal communication is heavily emphasized in a discussion
  • Voice tone, facial expression, gestures, and eye movement all play a key role in conveying important information. The linguistic message is ambiguous
  • One skirts around the main topic and embellishes its meaning. Communication is seen as an art form—a method of interacting with another person. When one has a personalized dispute with someone, one is attentive to the conflict displayed in the nonverbal communication of the other. In order for work to advance, either the conflict must be resolved or it must be avoided.
  • Make use of a variety of information resources
  • Deductively oriented thinking progresses from the general to the particular. Learners gain knowledge by first seeing others as they model or show, and then putting that knowledge into practice
  • When it comes to learning and problem-solving, groups are favored. Accuracy is highly regarded

High context cultures are more frequent in eastern countries than in western ones, and they are also more common 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. Higher-context cultures include: China, Korea, Japan, other Asian countries, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, Oman, and Yemen, Africa, India, Latin America, the Pacific islands, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Russia.

Low Context Communication

  • 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. It is important that decisions and efforts are focused on what needs to be done and on delegating tasks.


  • Relationships are short-lived and frequently terminate abruptly. A large number of persons can be found within one’s circle, and the circle’s perimeter is not well defined. Things get done more efficiently when they follow a set of rules
  • It is vital to pay close attention to the aim
  • Decentralized social structure
  • Responsibility is distributed more widely (rather than being concentrated at the top)


  • Words are important: the message is conveyed more effectively via words than through nonverbal ways. The spoken message is straightforward
  • A method of exchanging information, ideas, and opinions, communication is considered to be a sort of exchange. Disagreement that is not personal. A person withdraws from a quarrel with another in order to focus on the subject at hand. The emphasis is on intellectual answers rather than personal ones
  • Messages are communicated mostly through words rather than nonverbal ways
  • Hence, words are important. There is no ambiguity in the spoken communication. A method of conveying information, ideas, and opinions, communication is considered to be important. Conflict that is not personal in nature. It is necessary to retreat from a fight with someone in order to complete a work. Rather of focusing on personal issues, rational solutions are sought.

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. Because of this, a high context individual is more inclined to ask questions rather than attempting to find a solution on their own. United States, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, Sweden, Finland, Canada, and other European countries are examples of lower-context culture.

  1. Rather, they describe circumstances and surroundings, rather than people.
  2. It’s tough to comprehend them unless you’re familiar with the restrictions they place on what and how they say things.
  3. Japanese communication is often quite high-context, whereas American communication is typically very low-context, and German communication may be even lower-context than Japanese communication.
  4. Low-context communicators must pay special attention to nonverbal communications and gestures, face-saving and tact, as well as to the development of long-term connections with their audience.

Keep in mind that communication is essential in business, so make sure you know not just what to say but also how to say it. What should be the takeaway from this experience:

  • Recognize various communication styles
  • Write emails (or communicate in general) in accordance with the cultural context that has been identified

Cultural Context

In his book, Beyond Culture, published in 1976, Edward T. Hall was the first to use the words “high-context” and “low-context.” And in his book, Hall uses the terminology to characterize cultures based on how its members communicate with one another, a method that he developed himself. Because, despite the numerous distinctions that exist across cultures around the world, each culture may be classified as either a high-context or a low-context culture depending on the technique taken by the researcher.

High-Context cultures

Those living in high-context cultures are civilizations or groups of people that have built relationships over a long period of time and who, as a result, communicate via the use of non-explicit contextual aspects (Williams, n.d.). Thus, factors like as body language, tone of voice, and even a person’s social standing all have more profound and particular connotations when viewed through the lens of a highly contextualized culture. When it comes to communicating, words are not enough. For example, while responding to a question or a statement, it is usual practice in India to shake one’s head from side to side.

Even if there are multiple meanings associated with the gesture itself, every member of the community understands exactly what is meant when it is employed in a certain context.

Common characteristics of High-context cultures

  • Verbal communication is less specific and to-the-point than written communication. Non-verbal communication strategies (hand gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.) are frequently used to convey crucial information during a conversation. The context of a communication is more significant than the words spoken in it
  • Standing in close proximity to one another is a pleasurable experience. A strong focus is placed on interpersonal interactions. Strong sense of belonging (accepted member against “outsider”)
  • Strong sense of limits (accepted member versus “outsider”)
  • The importance of authority and figures of authority (the social hierarchy) is highly stressed. Prior to engaging in any economic activities, it is necessary to develop trust. Non-confrontational
  • Risk-averse

Examples of high-context cultures

  • India, China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spanish, African cultures, and Arabic cultures are all represented.

Low-context cultures

In low-context societies, information and conversation are communicated and conversed in a more straightforward manner, with emphasis placed primarily on the relevance of the words themselves rather than any implied understandings. The upshot is that people from low-context cultures are less likely to rely on the usage of contextual components to communicate a message. It is considerably more easy and explicit when information is conveyed instead. It is also necessary to explain out any cultural conventions and customs “so that those who are not familiar with the culture understand what is expected of them” (Williams, n.d.).

Individualism is a distinguishing characteristic of low-context civilizations, in contrast to collectivism, which is prominent in high-context cultures.

The upshot is that aspects of low-context culture such as privacy and personal space are highly prized as well.

What’s particularly fascinating about these elements of low-context cultures is that they often result in its members having a large number of connections that only persist for a short length of time.

Common characteristics of low-context cultures

  • As a society, we are very rule-oriented (in terms of external rules)
  • During the decision-making process, a strong focus is placed on reasoning and facts
  • Direct, explicit, and meaningful language is used in verbal communication. Using intuition and body language to transmit a message less often
  • It is less vital to build long-term connections than it is to complete tasks and achieve goals. Generalized explicit and codified knowledge that is readily available, as well as easily transferrable
  • In Beer (2003), “sequencing, separation of time, of space, of activities, of relationships” are used to describe the process. Very focused on the topic in hand and on finding a solution
  • Individualistic
  • Conflicts that are productive are encouraged. Risk-taking is encouraged
  • Procedural

Examples of low-context cultures

An iceberg may serve as an excellent metaphor and symbol for illustrating what the cultural context implies in a certain situation. In the same way that the tip of an iceberg is visible and noticeable, a culture may include features that are less visible and noticeable. However, a culture may also include traits that are much more profoundly buried, similar to the underside of an iceberg that is submerged beneath the surface of the sea. The tip of the iceberg (i.e., the part of the iceberg that is above the water line): In addition to the features of a culture that are clearly recognizable and apparent, as previously stated, the tip of the iceberg may be used to signify those traits.

It is common for readers to recognize the traits of a culture that are represented by the tip of an iceberg when they are reading things like tourist brochures, and these features are often straightforward to comprehend.

It’s possible that you’ve read something in a travel guide but discovered that the information was incorrect when you actually visited the place.

No, most of the time the answer is no.

These sorts of features would only be noticed and understood by a visitor after they had had firsthand exposure with the culture over a period of time.

Things like mannerisms, unstated societal conventions, and ideals are all examples of what is included in this category.

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