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Individualism, Collectivism, High And Low Context
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Individualism, Collectivism, High And Low Context






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Individualism, Collectivism, High And Low Context Individualism, Collectivism, High And Low Context Presentation Transcript

  • Individualist/CollectivistHigh- and Low-ContextCultural Comparisons
    • A system of expressive practices fraught with feelings, a system of symbols, premises, rules, forms, and the domains and dimensions of mutual meanings associated with these.
    • A learned set of shared interpretations about beliefs, values, and norms, which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group of people.
    What is Culture?From DonalCarbaugh
  • The framework, background, and surrounding circumstances in which communication or an event takes place.
    The background, the “field” of belief systems, world view, and perspectives people have been raised in.
    A set of “cultural lenses” though which one views the world and interprets communication—we can never “lose” completely the lenses we were raised with.
    What is Cultural Context?From Edward T. Hall
  • Contrasting Values: Individualist and Collective CulturesOsterman, Coon & Kemmelmeier
    Independent Control
    Goals for oneself
    Competition w/others
    Uniqueness is valued
    Private self-knowledge
    Direct communication
    Consistent self in all situations
    Prefers to work alone
    Relational w/group
    Sense of belonging
    Duty to group
    Harmony w/others
    Advice sought from others
    Self alters according to context
    Hierarchy important
    Prefers working in groups
  • Children rewarded for:
    Personal achievement
    Individual leadership
    Exercising choice or preference
    Individualistic Patterns
  • Logical
    Practical rather than theoretical
    Lives are compartmentalized
    Language expected to be precise and “just enough to get the message across”—
    Language is functional and necessary because surrounding context does not convey much information
    Low Context Cultural Traitsoften found in Individualistic Cultures
  • Children are taught that they are a part of a circle relations.
    Identity as a member of a group comes first, summed up in the South African ideal of ubuntu “I am because we are.”
    An example: American Indians have the highest number of military veterans and continue to have the highest number per capita of any other ethnic group in the U.S.
    Collectivist Patterns
  • Relations among people more important than “the business at hand.”
    Intuitive—collect clues to situation from the environment and what’s unspoken
    Language valued less to convey meaning and more to assist in relationship-building and creating an atmosphere (thus, more elaborate greetings, hierarchical forms of address, and “social lubrication” story-telling).
    High Context Cultural Traitsoften found in Collectivist Cultures
  • Monochronic time: One-track linear, doing things sequentially; time is compartmentalized. “Clock time,” with set beginning and ending times. Conversations like tennis match.
    Polychronic time: Multi-track circular, allows many things to happen simultaneously. Open-ended, completing the task or communication is more important than adhering to a schedule. Conversations like popcorn popping.
    Time is Part of Cultural Context
  • Low-context: no meaning is ascribed to the surrounding environment: words mean what they mean on the surface. Intent is to directly convey a message⇒ “Shut the door.”
    High-context: the surrounding environment created among the group conveys much meaning: people’s silence, body language, looks exchanged, the formality or informality of the setting, the people who are involved (are they equals or members of a hierarchy). Words’ meaning may be greatly influenced by the environment.
    Context and Communication
  • Pay attention to non-verbal: eye contact, physical distance, facial expressions, “the vibe”
    Pay attention to status: are you equals?
    Face-saving: important not to embarrass them—make sure they understanding teasing.
    Their conversation may at times be more for the purpose of relationship-building than for just exchanging information.
    Advice to Low Context People who are Communicating with High Context People
  • They take your words at face value.
    They may not pick up on your nonverbal clues or indirect (subtle) hints or cues.
    Their notion of roles are separate from status and personal identity (they compartmentalize more than you do).
    Their communication is direct and may seem too blunt but they don’t mean to be rude.
    Question: which gender do you think is high-context and which is low-context?
    Advice to High Context People who are Communicating with Low Context People
  • Autonomy is closely related to individualism; independence highly valued.
    “Everyone is equal and we treat everyone with friendliness to demonstrate this value,” in individualistic cultures.
    Embeddedness is related to collectivism—the inside group matters more than outsiders. Friendliness extended to group members.
    Let me draw some “cultural hearts” on the board for you.
    Boundaries and Friendshipin Different Contexts
  • Cultures are in general individualistic/low context or collective/high context.
    Individuals will exhibit traits of both kinds of culture depending on the situation they find themselves in.
    Cultural frameworks such as I/L-C and C/H-C are meant as broad definitions for understanding: they are not stereotypes!
    If you feel a little “oddness” between yourself and a classmate: it’s probably not “personal,” it’s cultural difference. Relax and learn!
    In Closing, Let’s Remember