- 1 Communicating in High Context vs. Low Context Cultures
- 2 What are the differences?
- 3 High Context vs. Low Context Culture Characteristics
- 4 Forms of Communication
- 5 Communicating in International Business
- 6 Context of Cultures: High and Low
- 7 High Context and Low Context Cultures
- 8 Multiple Choice Quiz
- 9 GRIN – Discussion and Contrast of High- and Low-Context Cultures as Defined by E.T. Hall
- 10 1. Introduction
- 11 2. Definition of culture and communication
- 12 3. E.T. Hall’s high- and low-context model
- 13 4. Impact of high-and low-context cultures in international business
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.
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. Low-context cultures also prefer that these conversations center around fundamental topics, such as, for example,
- 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.
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.
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.
|CULTURAL-CONTEXTINVENTORY ClaireB. Halverson|
|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.||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.|
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.
- Polychronic persons, on the other hand, work on numerous things at the same time, going back and forth between them.
- 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.
- 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.
- Japan, China, and the Arab countries are examples of countries with a high level of context sensitivity.
- 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.
- Sources 91-131 in Edward T.
- Sorrels, K.
- Edward T.
- (1995), “International Organizational Behaviour,” Luthans Virtual OB McGraw-Hill, pp 487-518; Sorrels, K.
Multiple Choice Quiz
- Culture defined as one in which one feels attachments and duties to an in-group, such as one’s extended family, community, or even the company for which one works is
- A. a culture that values individualism. b. a member of an in-group c. a collective way of life. c. a marginalized group
- A face-to-face interaction is the first step. b. a physical copy c. e-mail
- D. mobile phone
- The inclination to send messages without contemplating the repercussions of doing so is referred to as
- A. the element of surprise. Disinhibition is the second type of disinhibition. B. ablaze with rage d. electronic mail
- According to our criteria, a coherent and comprehensive definition of culture is as follows:
- A. a phrase used in academia to describe people from your parents’ native country. B. a distinct group of people’s musical tastes, geographical location, and architectural style c. the language, values, beliefs, traditions, and practices that people share and learn from one another
- And d. changes in demographics as a result of communication
- Your parents’ motherland is referred to as A. in scholarly circles as members of your family. b. the music, setting, and architecture associated with a certain group of people b c. the language, values, beliefs, traditions, and practices that people share and learn from one another
- As a result of communication, there have been demographic shifts.
- A. publish the joke to his own Facebook page as soon as he receives it. b. send the joke to everyone in his address book. c. post the joke on his website. C. tell the joke to the politician who hired him and get him to laugh. D. warn his friend against sending such messages to his workplace e-mail address
- The first thing he does is publish the joke to his own Facebook profile. If he doesn’t get the joke, he can share it to everyone on his contact list. the politician who employs him, and having him repeat the joke D. warn his friend against sending similar messages to his work e-mail address
- Face-to-face communicationb. instant messagingc. e-maild. cell phone
- A. takes place in real time. b. can only take place over the phone. c. is best managed through the use of e-mail. c. makes it possible to develop extended replies during the pauses
- Finding out what behaviors people from various cultures employ and implementing these insights to communicate more effectively is what ethnography is all about.
- A. ethnocentrism is a commonplace concept. b. referred to as “passive observation” in some circles. c. an illustration of stereotyping. d. is the ability to communicate effectively
- Which phrase is used to describe the extent to which individuals of a culture feel threatened by uncertain circumstances and the extent to which they attempt to avoid them
- Uncertainty avoidance is characterized by the following characteristics: A. paranoiab. emergency preparednessc. statistical awarenessd.
- This is a method for progressing toward a more aware, competent style of intercultural communication that involves providing personal information to persons from the other culture in the following ways:
- A. a plan that is proactive. b. an approach that is passive. a. the act of disclosing oneself d. ethnocentrism is a tendency to focus on one’s own culture.
- The magnitude of the space between two points is referred to as the power distance.
- Affective effect of in-groups and out-groups on communication b. perspectives on social classes that are both high-context and low-context. c. the ability to rely on oneself and compete. There are two types of social groups: those whose members have wealth and influence, and those whose members do not.
- 1. The effect of in-groups and out-groups on communication b. attitudes about social classes that are influenced by their setting. Competition and self-reliance are important aspects of modern life. There are two types of social groups: those whose members have wealth and influence, and those whose members don’t.
- Choosing the most effective means of communication might be the difference between success and failure on the job if done correctly. Selecting which of the following alternatives provides you the most amount of influence over the attention of the receiver:
- Phone callb. hard copyc. face-to-faced
- Voice mail
- A. telephoneb. hard copyc. face-to-faced
- Voice mail
- A. People should prioritize the needs of their extended family before their own. c. Their first and most important obligation is to assist themselves. The most significant factors are age, group security, tradition, and hierarchical position. d. in the placing of a focus on belonging to a small number of permanent in-groups
- If you have a worry about how much time you spend on the Internet, one excellent approach to establish how much time is too much time is to do the following:
- A. Speak with a therapist and ask him or her the question. b. make a post on Twitter and ask your friends for help. c. keep track of your internet time in order to determine if you are spending too much time. If you want to utilize the Internet, you should put off vital social and leisure activities.
GRIN – Discussion and Contrast of High- and Low-Context Cultures as Defined by E.T. Hall
1. Greetings and introductions 2. Define culture and communication in its broadest sense According to Merriam-Webster, culture is defined as According to Merriam-Webster, communication is defined as 3. E.T.
Hall’s high- and low-context models4. The impact of high- and low-context cultures in international business5. The resulting challenges in international business5.1 Contracts, negotiations, decision-making, and bureaucracy5.2 Deference to authority5.3 Deference to authority 6. Concluding Remarks
There is no better environment for witnessing culture and communication in action than the business world, where both manifest themselves in situations where there is a great deal at stake and their resources are most needed to succeed. It is in business, a collaborative activity that frequently takes place over global distances, that strongly held cultural ideas have the greatest influence on behaviors. Edward T. Hall’s distinction between low-context and high-context cultures is one of the most effective notions for understanding cultural variations in corporate communication, and it is one of the most often used.
Hall’s model 1 of high- and low-context cultures, as well as the influence they have on cross-cultural commercial operations, as part of this assignment’s purpose.
2. Definition of culture and communication
A brief description of each of the terminology used in this article will be provided in order to help the reader have a better grasp of what is being discussed. Merriam-Webster is an American corporation that specializes in the publication of dictionaries. Merriam-Collegiate Webster’s Dictionary, which is widely regarded as one of the most authoritative and renowned sources in the literary world, has been utilized to offer definitions for the terms culture and communication, both of which are used in this assignment.
2.1 Culture according to Merriam and Webster
According to the dictionary, culture is defined as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material characteristics of a racial, religious, or social group; the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a particular place or time,”„the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterize an institution or organization.” 2
2.2 Communication according to Merriam-Webster
A communication is defined as follows by Merriam-Webster: “the act or process of exchanging information or expressing your ideas, thoughts, and feelings with another person via the use of verbal expressions, aural representations, signs, or actions”. 3
3. E.T. Hall’s high- and low-context model
A book named “Beyond Culture,” written by anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher Edward T. Hall in 1976, was the first to address the concept of high- and low-context culture for the first time. A more basic divergence between rule-based and relationship-based cultures, which is in turn anchored in divergent interpretations of human nature, is best understood as reflected by his model. The debate begins with an explanation of Hall’s model, and then moves on to examine the difficulties that differing communication styles might pose in cross-cultural business situations.
Nevertheless, in order to do so, he must first recognize and embrace the various hidden layers of unconscious culture, for every civilization has its own secret, unique form of unconcious culture.” 4 According to Hall, high-context cultures are ones in which the norms of communication are predominantly communicated via the use of contextual components (body language, tone of voice) rather than being overtly stated.
- Members of high-context groups are typically more relationship-oriented, which results in a deeper interest in and tight connection with other individuals for a longer length of time than members of other groups.
- People from low-context cultures may find it difficult to interact with people of high-context cultures because they may not comprehend the unwritten norms of the culture in which they are living.
- These “little details” might be far more significant than the actual words that are stated in a certain situation.
- Individuals speaking with one another rely on the content of what they say rather than the manner in which it is said.
- In contrast to those who come from high-context cultures, who want to stand near to their discussion partners, those who come from low-context cultures may suffer a sense of uneasiness when others approach their private domain uninvited and attempt to maintain a comfortable distance.
- Placing a strong focus on interpersonal interactions, Hall defines individuals of high-context cultures as group-oriented, with a penchant for problem-solving and learning in groups, among other characteristics.
“Low-context cultures, on the other hand, often favor individualism above collectivism and social cohesion,” according to the authors. 6
4. Impact of high-and low-context cultures in international business
A book titled “Beyond Culture,” written by anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher Edward T. Hall in 1976, was the first to address the issue of high- and low-context culture for the first time. His approach is best understood as a reflection of a more basic divide between rule-based and relationship-based cultures, which is in turn rooted in two very different ideas of what it means to be an individual. Following an explanation of Hall’s approach, the talk moves on to examine the difficulties that differing communication styles might pose in cross-cultural business situations.
When people belong to a high-context group, they are typically extremely relationship-oriented, which results in a deeper interest in and strong connection with other people over a prolonged length of time.
It may be difficult for people from low-context cultures to interact with individuals of high-context cultures because they are unfamiliar with the unwritten norms of the culture.
These “little details” might be far more significant than the actual words that are said in a certain context.
Rather than how something is conveyed, those who communicate with one another rely on what is said.
While individuals from high-context cultures desire to be close to their conversation partners, those from low-context cultures may feel uneasy when others invade their private realm without their permission and attempt to maintain a respectful space between them.
Placing a strong focus on interpersonal interactions, Hall defines individuals of high-context cultures as group-oriented, with a penchant for problem-solving and learning in groups, among other traits.
“Low-context societies, on the other hand, often favor individualism above collectivism and community cohesion,” according to the author. 6