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Chapter 3:

Culture
and
Communicating Across
Cultures
Facilitators:
Khoa Nguyen
Huyen Pham
Fall 2015

The Importance of
Intercultural
Communication
Global
Markets
Global
Connectivity
Intercultural
Workforce

Intercultural
Communication Matters
Global
Markets

Mergers, acquisitions,
and buyouts stir
growth beyond
national boundaries.
Vietnamese
companies in global
markets must adapt to
other cultures.
New trade
agreements, declining
domestic markets, and

Intercultural
Communication Matters
Advances in logistics
Global
and transportation
Connectivi
reduce distances.
ty
Information technology
has changed the way
we do business.
The Internet permits
instant communication
across time zones and
continents.

Intercultural
Communication Matters

Intercultur
al
Workforce

Immigration makes
intercultural
communication
increasingly necessary.
Business
communicators must
learn to adapt to an
intercultural
workforce.
Multinational
companies and

Lets watch a short video


What do you learn from the clip?

What is Culture?
Who is Geert Hofstede?
Hofstedes definition of culture

The collective programming of the


mind that distinguishes one group or
category of people from another.
(Hofstede & McCrae, 2004)

What is Culture?
In brief: Culture is
A set of behaviors, values, attitudes, beliefs
Shared by (at least) a group of people
Learned from previous generations (maybe)
Conducted in a period of time
Culture is

Shared
Learned
Systematic and organized

Characteristics of
Culture
Learned behavior
Dynamic and evolving

Inherently logical
Culture

Visible and invisible

Shapes us and our community

Your thought about


following pictures?

These pictures are taken from the


Internet

It is NOT wrong, it is just


different

How We Form

Ne
g at
Judgments
e!
iv

Stereotype
Oversimplified
behavioral pattern
applied uncritically to
groups

How We Form

Ne
g at
Judgments
e!
iv

Prejudice
Rigid attitude based on
erroneous beliefs or
preconceptions

How We Form

P os
itiv
Judgments
e

Prototype
Mental representation
based on characteristics
that are flexible and
open to new definitions

Hofstedes dimensions of
national culture
Individualism vs. Collectivism
Masculinity vs. Femininity
Strong vs. Weak Uncertainty Avoidance
Power Distance
Long-term vs. Short-term Orientation

Individualism vs
Collectivism

Dimensions of Culture:
Individualism
High-context cultures
tend
to prefer group values,
duties, and decisions.

Individualism
Low-context cultures
tend
to prefer individual
initiative, selfassertion, and personal
achievement.

Power Distance

Trompenaarss dimensions
of national culture
Universalism vs Particularism
Individualism vs Collectivism
Neutral vs Emotional
Specific vs Diffuse
Achievement vs Ascription

Universalism vs
Particularism

Dimensions of
Culture
Context

Time Orientation

Individualism
Culture

Communication
Style

Formality

Other important dimensions


High Context vs Low Context
Distance
Saving Face
Time Orientation

Dimensions of Culture:
Context
High-context cultures

Contex
t
Low-context cultures
tend
to be logical, linear, and
action-oriented.
North America,
Germany, Scandinavia

tend to be relational,
collectivist, intuitive,
and contemplative.
Japan, China, or Arab
countries

High-Context and Low-Context


Cultures
Japanese
Arab
Latin
American
Spanish
English
Italian
French
North
American
Scandinavian
German
Swiss

High
Context

HIGH-CONTEXT
CULTURES
Relational
Collectivist
Intuitive
Contemplative

LOW-CONTEXT
CULTURES
Logical
Linear
Individualistic
Action-oriented

Low
Context

Dimensions of Culture:
Communication Style
High-context cultures
rely on nonverbal cues
and the total picture to
communicate. Meanings
are embedded at many
socio-cultural levels.
THE POWER OF
SILENCE!!!

Low-context cultures
emphasize words,
straightforwardness, and
openness. People tend to
be informal, impatient,

Dimensions of Culture:
Formality
Some cultures may
prefer greater formality
in dress, speech, and
social interaction.
North Americans place
less emphasis on
tradition, ceremony,
and social rules.

Dimensions of Culture: Time


Orientation
Time is seen as
unlimited and neverending in some cultures.
Relaxed attitude toward
time.
Time is precious to
North Americans.
Correlates with
productivity, efficiency,
and money.

How national culture differs


from corporate culture?
National cultures

Corporate cultures

Dimensions of
Organizational Practices
Process-Oriented vs. Results-Oriented
Employee-Oriented vs. Job-Oriented
Parochial vs. Professional
Open System vs. Closed System
Loose Control vs. Tight Control
Pragmatic vs. Normative

Eye contact
In the U.S., the eye contact is?
In the English culture?

Eye contact
In South Asian and

many other cultures


direct eye contact is?
Most people in the
Arab countries share
a great deal of eye
contact and may
regard too little as
disrespectful

Gesture
A motion of the hands, head or body to

emphasize an idea or emotion.


A gesture could easily distort the
message

Perfect! OK!

Zero!
Worthless!

Rubbish!

Gesture
USA=OK

FRENCH =ZERO

JAPAN=MONEY

BRAZIL=INSULT

Gesture
How can the same Gestures be treated

differently in different cultures

Gesture

Western - Do you have a


telephone ?
Brazil - Your wife is cheating on you

Presenting Gifts
In Middle-East

countries:

Gifts are opened in


public
Gifts should only be
given to close friends
Gifts should be at the
highest quality (e.g.
itr)

However, the itr


should be?

Should never give


gold and silk to men

In China:
Its common to
exchange the gift
Do not give anything
in sets of four or gifts
that carry the
association of death,
funerals such as
clocks, cut flowers,
white objects
In Germany and

France:

It is NOT common to
give gifts when doing
business

Presenting Gifts
In Asia, the emphasis sometimes is

more on the act of gift-giving than the


gift itself

Topics can be discussed


In Indonesia: Family, travel/tourism,

sports, the local cuisine, future plans,


and success of groups or organizations.
In Germany: Sports (particularly football,

tennis), current events, politics. Among


those who imbibe, beer is often a good
topic of conversation

Topics should be avoided


In Indonesia: Politics, corruption, criticizing of

Indonesian ways, commenting on Indonesian customs


that you find (kind of) weird, religion.
In Saudi Arabia: Middle Eastern politics and

International oil politics, Israel, criticizing or questioning


on Islamic beliefs, women/ inquiries or complimentary
remarks about the female family members of your
Saudi associates.
In South Korea: Korean politics/local politics, The Korean

War, North Korea, Japan and your contacts in Japan,


your host's wife, personal questions.
In Germany: World War II, personal questions.

Achieving Intercultural
Proficiency
The belief in
the
superiority of
ones own
race and
culture

Over
ethn coming
ocen
trism
Maciej Frolow / Brand X Pictures/
Jupiterimages

Takes a
conscious
effort
Leads to
more
satisfying
relationships
Makes work
life more
productive
and
gratifying

Bridging the Gap Between


Cultures
See the world
Practice
Tolerance
Openmindedness
Empathy

through anothers
eyes

"To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use


your heart.
Donald Laird

Bridging the Gap: Saving


Face
Respect the image a
person holds in his or
her social network.
In high-context
cultures opt for
indirectness to help
preserve harmony.

Bridging the Gap


Be patient
Wait and
listen
Embrace
silence

Recognize the effort


non-native
speakers are
making

Respecting Differences and Working

Or
Improving Intercultural
M e al
ss
ag
Communication
Learn foreign
phrases.
Use simple English.
Speak slowly and
enunciate clearly.
Observe eye
messages.
Encourage accurate
feedback.

es

Check frequently for


comprehension.
Accept blame.
Listen without
interrupting.
Smile when
appropriate.
Follow up in writing.

W
Improving Intercultural
Meritt
en
s
es sag
Communication
Consider local
formats.
Observe titles and
rank.
Use short
sentences and
short paragraphs.
Avoid ambiguous
expressions.

Strive for clarity.


Use correct
grammar.
Cite numbers
carefully.
Accommodate
reader in
organization, tone,
and style.

Making Ethical Decisions


Across Borders

Broaden your view of


other cultures.
Avoid reflex judgments.
Find alternatives.
Refuse business if options
violate your basic values.
Conduct all business
openly.
Dont rationalize shady
decisions.
Resist lawful but
unethical strategies.

Capitalize on Workplace
Diversity
Seek training.
Understand the value
of differences.
Dont expect
conformity.
Learn about your
cultural self.
Make fewer
assumptions.

BananaStock / Jupiterimages

The End

Additional cultural
dimensions

Opinion

Sundays on the road

In the restaurant

Stomachache

Dining trends

Travelling

Transportation

Elderly day-to-day life

Shower timing

References
Guffey, M., & Loewy, D. (2011). Business
Communication - Process & Product (7th ed.). SouthWesterner.
Pease, A., & Pease, B. (2004).The Definitive Book of
Body Language. Australia: Pease International
Hofstede, G., & McCrae, R. (2004). Personality and
Culture Revisited: Linking Traits and Dimensions of
Culture. Cross-Cultural Research, 38(1).
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069397103259443