Explain Hall’s low and high context cultures and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and discuss the relevance such theories have in developing appropriate business relations with other cultures. Your answer should also evaluate criticisms encountered by their respective cultural frameworks. Justify your answer with specific business related examples.
This essay will be discussing, Halls theory of High and low cultural context and Hofsted’s cultural dimensions will also be discussed, along with their relevance to the work place and business relations. When dealing with different cultures one myst be careful with interactions. The wrong type of interaction could signal trouble for business’s. “ Wrong gifts may tick of potential trading partners” Philippidis (1999). According to Hall (1976) people of european heritage believe that what they live in is a word world. This is viewed as a mistake by Hall because words do , not always mean the way they are said or written and can easily be misinterpreted. In a high context communication situation, the subject already knows most of the information and there is very little hidden in the subtext of the message. In contrast in low context communication most of the information is coded and is not readily available in a person. For example if you were to visit a hotel in Japan or China, if you were from a low context culture, you could find yourself being moved around or asked to do things that would confuse you. You could find yourself upset with the lack of communication. The answer would be in Japan when a person joins a company, the person is seen to belong in a family way. Due to being seeing as a part of the family, your host’s will not feel the need to explain what is going on to you. You would be expected to follow the crowd to be able to understand what is happening, like a family. With high context cultures the meaning is often within the context of the communication and how it is delivered (Hall, 1976). In a high context culture you are often expected to understand the meaning of words or social cue’s through the context of the message.
High and low cultures can be set apart on four different elements, which would be emotions in a close relationship,use of nonverbal communication , the directness of the message conveyed and the use of digital or analogous language. In a situation involving high context communication, emotions are normally involved, on the other hand low context situations are less personal and use logics more (Hall,1998) For example the Japanese like to offer tea and snacks to a guest to their home. The Japanese like their guests to feel comfortable and try and provide a hospitable atmosphere, this also applies to business building relationships with potential business partners, belonging comes before the business. Europeans tend to be more direct with their communication and like to start with business as soon as possible. There is no real emotional attachment with western business interactions, its just work. In western interactions rationale is preferred over emotions, people are encouraged to negotiate with a clear mind, without emotion clouding judgement.
In accordance with Hall (1976) the Japanese would not be direct with their words or messages when they communicate. For example a high context individual would say they are hungry, but would not leave to go and get any food. For a low context individual it will mean that they're friend is going to just stay hungry,but for a high context individual its a cue to either buy food for their colleague or offer to buy some food for them. When dealing with business’s one must be sensitive to different cultural cues. Giving the wrong gift such as a clock to a chinese business partner could potentially cost you a deal. In reverse with Asian high context cultures, prolonged indirectness could confuse, irritate or show lack of commitment when dealing with a low context culture. It is vital that...
References: David H. Brown, Alasdair I. MacBean (2005). Challenges For China 's Development: An Enterprise Perspective. london: Routledge. 121.
Hall, E.T (1976) Beyond Culture NY: Anchor Books
Hall, E.T (1998). The power of hidden differences. In M.J.Bennet (Ed), Basic concepts of intercultural communication (p.53 - 67 ) Maine: Intercultural Press Inc.
Hofstede 's consequences: The impact of his work on consulting and business practices, An Executive Commentary by John W. Bing, Academy of Management Executive,( 2004) Vol. 18, No. 1
Philippidis, A (1999). The psychological process underlying Japanese assertive behaviour : Comparison of Japanese with Americans. International journal of intercultural relations (p.47-56)
Riad A. Ajami, G. Jason Goddard (2006). International Business: Theory and Practice. USA: M.E Sharp. 216.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document