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High Context Culture vs Low Context Culture

In: Business and Management

Submitted By vgraves
Words 1248
Pages 5
Vicki Graves
8/2/2015
Short Paper 1
INT-600
High-Context vs Low Context
South Korea & U.S.

Edward T. Hall created the phrase high-context culture to describe a country/culture’s communication style. A high-context culture, like South Korea, is one where “there are many contextual elements that help people to understand the rules.” (Hall’s cultural factors). That being said, because of the “unwritten rules” or nonverbal communication it can be confusing for an individual to fully understand the communication. A low-context culture, like the U.S., is one where “very little is taken for granted meaning more explanation is needed and there is less chance of misunderstanding particularly when visitors are present.” (Hall’s cultural factors). There is more of a focus on verbal communication than nonverbal like body language. Between a high-context culture like South Korea and a low-context culture like the U.S. there are many similarities and differences when it comes to cultural dimensions. Hofstede’s model of national culture uses five dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity, and long-term orientation.

Power distance focuses on how power is distributed and the extent to which subordinates accept how power is distributed unequally. It focuses on the belief that superiors and subordinates are different kinds of people. In South Korea power distance is high, receiving a score of 60 according to Hofstede, and embraced by all. It is and has always been a norm in society. Everybody has a place starting from birth, although that place can change throughout one’s life. Their place in society is dependent on a list of factors such as parent’s occupation and income, individual’s occupation and income, area of residence, school, age, etc. In most cases in the working environment subordinates wait for orders and try to “serve” their…...

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