High-Context Culture

(redirected from High-Context Cultures)

High-Context Culture

A culture in which a great deal of emphasis is placed upon the context, tone or circumstance of words used in addition to the meaning of the words themselves. For example, suppose one says, "I am fine," in response to the question, "How are you?" In a high-context culture, it should not necessarily be assumed that one is doing fine and that no further query needs to be made. Confusing cultural signals between a high-context and a low-context culture can create significant misunderstandings in both business and politics.
References in periodicals archive ?
Hall (1976) distinguished between communication in low- and high-context cultures, and Gudykunst and Ting-Tomey (1988) convincingly argued that low-context communication norms predominate in individualistic cultures and that high-context communication norms predominate in collectivistic cultures.
The bulk of these KLEs have taken place within operating environments that are high-context cultures.
For example, high-context cultures, such as China, are characterized by using indirect communication styles, and low-context cultures such as the USA and NZ are characterized by direct communication messages which are transmitted through clarity of styles and expressions.
High-context cultures are those that rely less on verbal communication and more on nonverbal communication, actions and settings to find meaning.
high-context cultures offer a robust framework at the cultural level.
So the theory of collective and high-context cultures along with their characteristics as demonstrated by Hall (1976, 1978) is supported.
Children in high-context cultures were encouraged to use more subtle cues, but those in low-context cultures were encouraged to use more verbal expressions.
In high-context cultures communication is often not explicit and relies on situational cues, non-verbal behavior, and trust.
In contrast, advertisements in the high-context cultures use emotional appeals (Biswas et al 1992), use a more of a soft-sell approach (Cutler and Javalgi 1992) and stress depth brand image perceptions (Roth 1992).
Such cultures are defined as high-context cultures (Hall 1976:91).
In low context cultures, contracts, and precise words are important, whereas high-context cultures focus on the building of relationship, face, and belonging.