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 ?
The communication in these high-context cultures tends to be more indirect and more formal and places an emphasis on interpersonal relationships (Hall, 1976).
On the contrary, in high-context cultures, information lies in the context and is not always verbalized.
In high-context cultures (e.g., Japan and Korea), sensitive subjects like conflict or sex must be dealt with less directly.
The bulk of these KLEs have taken place within operating environments that are high-context cultures. JOs have to realize the nature of the meetings they are conducting and understand their own American tendencies just as much as they understand their foreign counterpart.
This premise very much appeals to high-context cultures, for example, USA and the United Kingdom, in which communication exists mainly through speech.
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.
In high-context cultures, such as Argentina and other Latin nations, communication is indirect and circular, and meaning is often implicit, while in low-context cultures, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, Scandinavian, meaning is explicit and communication more direct.
High-context cultures are those that rely less on verbal communication and more on nonverbal communication, actions and settings to find meaning.
In addition, people from high-context cultures (e.g., Asian ESL nursing students) have higher expectations--they expect that their needs could be perceived before they are made known.
In high-context cultures such as Vietnam, Taiwan, Thailand, China, Japan, Iran, Afghanistan, or India, there is a less verbally detailed communication and less written/formal information.
So the theory of collective and high-context cultures along with their characteristics as demonstrated by Hall (1976, 1978) is supported.
Line (1993) found advertisements in low-context cultures to be more informative compared to high-context cultures. Low-context cultures were found to use a hard-sell approach (Mueller 1987, 1992) and a direct and confrontational appeal (Cutler and Javalgi 1992) and stress breadth rather than depth brand image perceptions (Roth 1992).