Examination of these differences with reference to indwelling interactions enables us to classify cultures as being high-context and low-context, and the difference between them is explained here. Also, even low context cultures can be difficult to learn: religious dietary laws, medical training, written language all take years to understand. However, this type of segregation is not rigid, but takes the form of a gradient since the contextual base of a culture is not a quantifiable but relative concept. Verbal messages are explicit, and communication is seen as a way of exchanging information, ideas and opinions. Remember that every culture and every situation has its high and low aspects.
Let me give a simple example. . Similarly, C also cannot be categorized distinctly, thereby showing that the difference between these cultures is relative. Productivity depends on procedures and paying attention to the goal. Low-context cultures use very distinct and detailed modes of communication. They say no, they are not thirsty.
Low context refers to societies where people tend to have many connections but of shorter duration or for some specific reason. But in China, a business partner may smile to my face, and act like everything is fine…but actually be very upset about something. Along with other factors, we as a firm elect to take into account culture when making business decisions in Mexico. Since all sets of cultures differ, especially from a global standpoint where language also creates a barrier for communication, social interactions specific to a culture normally require a range of appropriate communication abilities that an opposing culture may not understand or know about. He differentiated between them depending on five types of interactions observed in a society.
However, now you are communicating in high context. One withdraws from conflict with another and gets on with the task. We find culture to essential be in assisting with Mexican market entry projects or serving as representatives for foreign firms with their Mexican distributors, locating Mexican suppliers, or consulting foreign firms on Mexican business practices. Low context cultures are the opposite, direct verbal communication is needed to properly understand a message being said and doing so relies heavily on explicit verbal skills. In the most extreme cases, leaving any sort of wiggle room for interpretation can be disastrous. Communication Dynamics in High- and Low-Context Cultures Cultural differences shape every aspect of global communication, says contributor Carol Kinsey Goman. Productivity depends on relationships and the group process.
Informality is a mark of low-context cultures. Although the concept of high- and low-context cultures is usually applied in the field of analyzing national cultures, it can also be used to describe scientific or corporate cultures, or specific settings such as airports or law courts. It takes these two to make meaning. Groups who are able to rely on their common background, may not need to use explicit words to understand each other. Because individualistic cultures may value cultural difference, a more explicit way of communicating is required to avoid misunderstanding. Categorizing cultures in this manner helps to comprehend a culture's communication skills and applying this knowledge also influences how cultures respond through global communication. A differing opinion is seen as being personally threatening, and hence conflict must either be avoided or resolved as soon as possible.
Either way, you will notice that as your relationship with your business partner progresses, independent from which type of culture you are from, your relationship will start becoming more and more high-context. In a low context culture, if they say no, they mean no. They make and adhere to strict deadlines and focus on one task at a time. Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice 1st ed. In order to learn about something, I tend to consult many sources of information rather than to go to the one best authority.
Here are three such generalizations. Not all individuals in a culture can be defined by cultural , and there will be variations within a national culture in different settings. High-context Culture Low-context Culture Concept Most of the information is either in the physical context or initialized in the person. What is important is that activity gets done. Culture encompasses all sets of human activities and behavioral patterns that occur within a given society along with the symbolic structures that lend meaning and importance to these behavioral patterns and activities.
But Japan, which has access to the latest technologies, still relies more on face-to-face communications than on the written mode. Hall, Beyond Culture, Anchor Books, 1977, p. These terms were presented by the American anthropologist, Edward T. We just have some cultural differences to iron out! Cultural context can also shift and evolve. Also, even low context cultures can be difficult to learn: religious dietary laws, medical training, written language all take years to understand. As mentioned in past blog posts.
Conclusion Cultural Communication is always a challenge. Your High context score is: Your Low context score is: The difference between your scores is : Before you see the interpretation of your scores, read this. Individualistic cultures promote the development of individual values and independent social groups. How people communicate with one another varies wildly from culture to culture. The identify lies with the group. In low context cultures, the message is communicated almost entirely by the words and therefore needs to be explicit.