Why is australia a low context culture

How people communicate with one another varies wildly from culture to culture. In our fully globalized times, it is more important than ever to understand these differences and where they come from. InHall proposed that cultures can be divided into two categories—high context and low context.

The concept has been a popular frame of reference since its introduction 40 years ago, and is used as a training tool to this day.

The differentiation between high and low context cultures is meant to highlight differences in verbal and nonverbal communication. High-context cultures will use communication that focuses on underlying context, meaning, and tone in the message, and not just the words themselves.

In the most extreme cases, leaving any sort of wiggle room for interpretation can be disastrous. Some of the cultures that fall into low-context communication are Western cultures like the UK, Australia and the United States. Most cultures fall between the extremes on the spectrum and can share characteristics of both high and low context traits to varying degrees.

Although it can be a complex characteristic whether a culture is high context or low context, it can determine many other aspects of a particular culture. For example, in a high-context culture, similarity is an important characteristic.

why is australia a low context culture

This is because the majority of the population in high context cultures typically have the same level of education, as well as a shared ethnicity, religion, and history. In low-context cultures, the opposite is true. They are usually diverse, and focus on the individual, instead of the group. Since there are so many differences within a low-context culture, communication must be basic enough to allow for as many people to understand it as possible.

Just as communication in general is different for high and low context cultures, the forms of communication also change, including the types of media that they enjoy. Generally, high-context cultures prefer oral communications, while low-context cultures favor written communications. When it comes to emails, texts, and online messaging, low-context cultures use it to fire off quick, frequent messages.

High-context and low-context cultures

Low-context cultures also want these communications to revolve around basic questions, like:. A full understanding of these differences will effectively improve both outward, client-focused communication as well as inter-business relationships.

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Will a company in Japan appreciate your attempts to get right to the point? Will a German company become bored if you talk around a subject, instead of directly addressing it? Octave Login Search. Communicating in High Context vs.Samoa is a collectivistic culture and also a high context culture.

Much is said with non verbal prompts rather than jsut what the person is aying. In a high context culture, many things are left unsaid, letting the culture explain. In a lower context culture, the communicator needs to be much more explicit and the value of a single word is less important. High context cultures require a large amount of cultural commonality because communication is implicit and indirect. Most Asian countries are high context cultures. Low context cultures spell out everything directly and no real familiarity is necessary.

The United States is a low context culture. The countries that often have a high-context culture are much of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America, where they are more relational and thoughtful. With a fancy language, modesty, and apologies the high-context communication tends to be more indirect and more formal and they depend less on legal documents as they will distrust contracts and be offended by the trust they suggest.

why is australia a low context culture

Low context culture is when the messages are clear; words carry most of the information in communication. The message will be indirect in the context of the communication and is influenced by the background and basic values of the communicator.

The answer to your question is therfore that UK is a Low- context culture. Great Britain is a low-context culture. British communication is highly verbal, direct, detailed, and meaningful. Context is not necessary for successful communication. A simple or low context culture is one where most participants understand social mores nearly completely.

In a complex or high context culture many peoples are intertwined and social structure is more complicated. Egypt is a high context culture which means that a lot what is communicated is more indirect with tone of voice, facial expression, body language, eye contact, and embellished words or phrases.

Relationships are slowly built on trust and the pace of business is much slower than in low-context western cultures such as the U. Arab societies as a general rule are high context cultures with a complex non-spoken system of understandings between social members. As the United Arab Emirates receives a greater and greater influx of foreigners who do not have these same understandings, the UAE is tending towards becoming low context, but this is a slow and long-term trend that has not yet truly made the UAE a low context culture.

Low contact culture: Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world High contact culture: West side of the country, such as America, Canada.Anthropologist Edward Hall founded the field of intercultural communication in with his book The Silent Language. The book was originally intended for the general public, but it sparked academic research in intercultural communication and fueled interest in subjects like nonverbal communication, according to Keio Communication Review.

Hall defines intercultural communication as a form of communication that shares information across different cultures and social groups. One framework for approaching intercultural communication is with high-context and low-context cultures, which refer to the value cultures place on indirect and direct communication.

A high-context culture relies on implicit communication and nonverbal cues. In high-context communication, a message cannot be understood without a great deal of background information. Asian, African, Arab, central European and Latin American cultures are generally considered to be high-context cultures.

High-context cultures often display the following tendencies, according to C. A low-context culture relies on explicit communication. 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, says Forbes contributor Carol Kinsey Goman.

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. High-context cultures also prefer personal bonds and informal agreements over meticulously worded legal documents.

People should also watch for differences within high- and low-context cultures. This classification is an oversimplification, according to A. Krizan and others in the book Business Communication.

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On the other hand, communication between two businesspersons from a low-context culture tends to be more specific and direct. Attention focuses more on what is said than relationships. In China or Japan, words receive less attention than relationships, mutual understandings and nonverbal body language.

The program uses a multidisciplinary approach to give students the skills needed to impact people through relief and development agencies, international government, church ministries, corporate relations and philanthropy, healthcare, project management, education or research. Opens in a new window Opens an external site Opens an external site in a new window. Call High-Context Cultures A high-context culture relies on implicit communication and nonverbal cues.

View Program. Get Started Today Your life has a calling. How will you answer it?In anthropologyhigh-context culture and low-context culture are ends of a continuum of how explicit the messages exchanged in a culture are and how important the context is in communication.

The continuum pictures how people communicate with others through their range of communication abilities: utilizing gesturesrelations, body languageverbal messages, or non-verbal messages. However, the concept may also apply to corporationsprofessions and other cultural groupsas well as to settings such as online and offline communication. These concepts were first introduced by the anthropologist Edward T.

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Hall in his book The Silent Language. Cultures and communication in which the context of the message is of great importance to structuring actions are referred to as high context.

High context defines cultures that are usually relational and collectivist, and which most highlight interpersonal relationships. Hall identifies high-context cultures as those in which harmony and the well-being of the group is preferred over individual achievement. Because low-context communication concerns more direct messages, the meaning of these messages is more dependent on the words being spoken rather than on the interpretation of more subtle or unspoken cues.

High-context cultures are related to connotation. People within high-context cultures tend to be more aware and observant of facial expressions, body language, changes in tone, and other aspects of communication that are not directly spoken.

Individualism and collectivism are related to low-context and high-context cultures, respectively. Within high-context cultures, people rely on their networks of friends and family, viewing their relationships as part of one large community. People within low-context cultures see their relationships much looser and the lines between networks of people are more flexibly drawn. Cultural contexts are not absolutely "high" or "low". Instead, a comparison between cultures may find communication differences to a greater or lesser degree.

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Typically a high-context culture will be relational, collectivistintuitive, and contemplative. They place a high value on interpersonal relationships and group members are a very close-knit community. Therefore, it is necessary for more explicit information to be included in the message so it is not misinterpreted. For example, Hall describes how Japanese culture has both low- and high-context situations. 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.

A simplified example mentioned by Hall is that scientists working in " hard science " fields like chemistry and physics tend to have lower-context cultures: because their knowledge and models have fewer variables, they will typically include less context for each event they describe. Data was gathered in India, Ireland, Thailand, and the United States where the results confirm that "high-context nations India and Thailand prefer the avoiding and obliging conflict styles more than low-context nations Ireland and the United Stateswhereas low-context nations prefer the uncompromising and dominating communication style more than high-context nations.

These countries are quite explicit and elaborate without having prior knowledge to each member's history or background. Cultures and languages are defined as higher or lower context on a spectrum. For example, it could be argued [ by whom? An individual from Texas a higher-context culture may communicate with a few words or use of a prolonged silence characteristic of Texan Englishwhere a New Yorker would be very explicit as typical of New York City Englishalthough both speak the same language American English and are part of a nation the United States of America which is lower-context relative to other nations.

Intercultural Communication: High- and Low-Context Cultures

Hall notes a similar difference between Navajo -speakers and English-speakers in a United States school. Cultural context can also shift and evolve. For instance, a study has argued that both Japan and Finland high-context cultures are becoming lower-context with the increased influence of Western European and United States culture.A low-context culture is described as open, rule-oriented, individualized, detail-oriented in communication, problem-oriented, proactive and productive.

The United States is an example of a primarily low-context culture, though it is important to point out that virtually no nation's culture is exclusively high or low-context. The term low-culture is more aptly applied to a specific environment such as work or school.

Even in such environments, it is possible for low-context cultures to exist within high-context cultures and vice versa. Informality is a mark of low-context cultures. This is because low-context cultures are generally short-term encounters of people who are open to outsiders. High-context cultures, in contrast, are typically very tight-knit communities of people who have known each other for a very long time. Newcomers to high-context cultures may be viewed as suspicious.

Language is another key determinant of low-context culture. Low-context cultures use very distinct and detailed modes of communication. This is because the people within the very individualized low-context culture may not be as familiar with each others' idiosyncrasies as people of high-context cultures, which tend to be more group-oriented in nature.

Again, this is in relation to the level of familiarity that people within the respective cultures have with each other. What Is a Low-Context Culture? More From Reference.Balanced Tolerance for Ambiguity Rules should be created, but risk taking is encouraged. Low Context Message should be spelled out, no background knowledge is assumed.

High Context VS Low Context: When Middle-East Meets West

Words are primary means of communication. Restrained Displays of emotion are not common, although occur more often with Italian and Greek Australians. The thumbs-up gesture can be interpreted as rude. To indicate approval or agreement, it is more common to make a circle with the thumb and forefinger with the other fingers extended. Winking at a woman is considered inappropriate.

Using modest gestures to articulate what you are saying is common. A firm, friendly handshake is the customary greeting. Women friends may kiss and hug when greeting each other.

Between men, a quick pat on the back is considered normal if they are close friends. Queuing is important—never barge or jump into a line, always go politely to the end and wait your turn. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website.

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Australian Communication Style Direct People say what they mean; no need to read between the lines. Not necessarily motivated by monetary reward or promotion.

why is australia a low context culture

Often prefer getting time off instead. Working overtime is the exception, not the norm. If overtime work is required, people want to be notified upfront.

DECISION MAKING Senior management is generally responsible for decision making; input from subordinates to help form decisions; decisions can be disputed if not deemed agreeable by constituency; decision maker may concede without losing face and respect.

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What Is a Low-Context Culture?

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