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Culture And Group Communication Essay

1303 words - 5 pages

For Group Communications, or Intro. to CMMU class -Culture and Verbal CommunicationFor this paper, I have once again chosen a topic that I have a great deal of interest in. I find it absolutely fascinating how something like culture can so dramatically affect the communication that may or may not take place between individuals of different cultures. In this paper, I will examine the differences between high- and low-context cultures, and the problems that can arise during communication between members of different cultures.Before looking at the differences between high- and low-context, we must first determine just what they are. To begin we must clearly define context. Context is the information that surrounds an event; it is inextricably bound up with the meaning of that event. The elements that combine to produce a given meaning - events and context - are in different proportions depending on the culture. The cultures of the world can be compared on a scale from high to low. According to Edward Hall, in his book Beyond Culture, low-context cultures use language primarily to express thought, ideas and feelings as clearly and logically as possible. To understand what is being communicated one must look at the spoken words. Put simply, in a low-context culture, what is said is what is meant. Conversely, in a high-context culture, there is a usage of subtle cues, often nonverbal with the aim of maintaining social harmony. The communicators from these cultures learn to determine what is truly being expressed by examining nonverbal behaviors, context of the message, history of the relationship, and the social rules governing interaction.Japanese, Arabs, and Mediterranean peoples, who have extensive information networks among family, friends, colleagues and clients and who are involved in close personal relationships, are considered high-context. As a result, they do not require or expect much in-depth, background information when communicating in their daily lives. This is because they keep those that are close to them informed about what is going on in their lives and so there is a common thread of knowledge among them. Low-context people would include Americans, Germans, Swiss and other northern Europeans. These people separate themselves and do not share information with others about their personal relationships, their work, and many aspects of their day-to-day life. As a result every time they interact with others they have to spend a lot of time sharing and explaining detailed background information.With each culture there are going to be different specific individual differences in the need for contexting or the process of filling in important background data. But the key is knowing whether the culture with whom you're communicating falls on the high or low side of the context scale. Listed below are some important characteristics of high- and low-context communication styles taken from our textbook Groups In Context.Characteristics of Low and...

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