The influence of cultural contexts on intercultural communication
The article proposes an interpretation of intercultural communication, focused on the dynamics of cultural contexts in which it exists. High-context culture and low-context culture are terms used to describe cultures based on how explicit the messages exchanged are and how much the context means in certain situations. A high-context culture relies on implicit communication and nonverbal cues. A low-context culture relies on explicit communication. Asian, African, Arab, central European and Latin American cultures are generally considered to be high-context cultures. In low-context communication, more of the information in a message is spelled out and defined. Cultures with western European roots, such as the United States and Australia, are generally considered to be low-context cultures. Cultural differences shape every aspect of global communication. This helps explain why people in Japan (a high-context culture) prefer face-to-face communication over electronic technology favored by other industrialized countries like the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany (low-context cultures).
We turn our attention to monochronic and polychronic cultures and the impact that can have on communication. Monochronic cultures like to do just one thing at a time. They value a certain orderliness and sense of there being an appropriate time and place for everything. They do not value interruptions. They like to concentrate on the job at hand and take time commitments very seriously. Polychronic cultures like to do multiple things at the same time. Though they can be easily distracted they also tend to manage interruptions well with a willingness to change plans often and easily. People are their main concern (particularly those closely related to them or their function) and they have a tendency to build lifetime relationships. Issues such as promptness are firmly based on the relationship rather than the task and objectives are more like desirable outcomes than must do’s. Appeal to the problem of cultural contexts seems to be an expedient vector of socio-philosophical study.
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