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The High Context and Low Context Concepts - Paper Example

7 pages
1769 words
Vanderbilt University
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Section One: The High Context and Low Context Concepts

The high context and low context concepts refer to the manner in which individuals communicate in diverse cultures. Similarly, the differences in the meaning between the cultures may be obtained from the level at which the transmission of meaning is done through actual words used or implied by the context. For instance, high context implies that the more unspoken information is implicitly transferred during communication (Martin, 2015). Additionally, individuals within high context cultures place more importance or emphasis on long-term relationships as well as loyalty and they experience fewer rules and structural implementation (such as Saudi Arabia). On the other hand, low context implies that there is an explicit exchange of more information through the same message and nothing is hidden/implicit (Neuliep, 2012). Similarly, people living in low context cultures tend to follow standards and rules closely, have short-lived relationships, and are more task-oriented (such as United Kingdom).

The importance of understanding if international colleagues are from low context or high context cultures helps people in adopting effective communication style as well as in building stronger relationships with each other (Neuliep, 2012). High context and low context concepts are essential as they are incorporated in cross-cultural training programs including the managing international teams as well as Communicating across Cultures. For instance, the cultural awareness program includes a training that focuses on a single or some specific cultures by addressing the low context, and high context concepts. For example, the training teaches people how to do business or live in a different country, like England, and working in another country, like China (Meyer, 2014).

Low context and high context concepts have big difference, which is individualism versus collectivism. This difference implies that the high context/low context approach to global communication is important in solving conflicts that arise along from the differences (Rego & Cunha, 2007). Individualistic people, who are individuals from low context cultures, emphasize more on personal and self-interest achievement. These are individuals who are more likely to be more assertive, to compete as well as to place little or no importance on the groups harmony (Samovar, Porter, McDaniel, & Roy, 2014). Individualistic people cooperate in a group. However, this happens mainly to a level that the cooperation is critical to the achievement of personal goals which may be not be attained while working alone (Rego & Cunha, 2007). This condition places them in another situation where they need the cooperation because it means that they will accomplish their personal goals and interests. However, individualistic cultures encourage self-realization but create conflicts which are solved using the high context/low context approach to global communication.

On the other hand, collectivistic cultures possess challenges too, especially to the people from individualistic cultures. Collectivistic individuals are required by their cultures to fit and have others fit into various groups (Rego & Cunha, 2007). The collectivistic cultures, also known as the high context cultures, require subordination of personal objectives whereby they are forsaken for the welfare of the group as well as the collective goals to which these individuals belong. On the contrary, collectivists are relatively more passive and are more willing to avoid conflict, emphasize harmony, and cooperate (Rego & Cunha, 2007). However, it is important for people to understand the concepts of high context/low context approach to global communication for them to practice the above regardless of their culture. With the knowledge, the interests of the group are placed above their individual goals and are the paramount end that is to be attained.

Section Two: Using Intercultural Communication Skills to Improve Professional Practice

Intercultural communication skills improve professional practice by helping people know their team. Understanding different cultures may be a noble idea, but in reality, managers find themselves stranded like everyone else (Ladegaard & Jenks, 2015). When a person is in a functional outsourcing group which is diverse, or has just hired employees, or even the company is currently contacting various overseas investors, he/she faces a big opportunity that can help them improve their skills in intercultural communication which are much applicable to the new team they are about to form or join, it is imperative their success in their professional practice.

Moreover, intercultural communication skills help in conducting a productive group discussion with managers to clarify key aspects of intercultural communication and as a result improve the employee/client relationships and improve work productivity which is positive contribution (Meyer, 2014; Martin & Nakayama, 2015). Understanding areas of importance such as international nuances concerning the personal space in business interactions concept may help managers in such organizations create more welcoming and conducive workplace environment. Similar success can be achieved by understanding different standpoints on maintaining more eye contact and the topic of punctuality in meetings connotation as well as planned interactions.

Secondly, intercultural communication skills help people do their homework on various aspects of people they work with. Differences among people exist in all types of groups and understanding the general differences in a cultural group is equally important (Martin & Nakayama, 2015). Acquiring intercultural communication skills helps give professionals the ability to do their homework in a manner that they do not single out individuals, for instance, in the religious beliefs area. Thus, after sharpening their intercultural skills, professionals or managers can lead productive training sessions that explain several cultural beliefs nuances that may affect workplace related situations (Ladegaard & Jenks, 2015). For example, if the religion of team member requires that they conduct a prayer over some time in the day, the manager remembers to avoid scheduling important meetings at the same time, is a step that shows professionalism by conveying that the member is important to the team and the organization. The flexibility that is given around the holy days possibly ensures that the management is appreciated.

Additionally, intercultural communication skills help people understand and handle the issue of gender balance. The issue is important in workplace and in groups especially to people who are always against the idea of having single women being with men. This ensures a leader creates a workplace where both differences is tolerated and embraced to create fruitful business relationships (Samovar at al., 2014). However, more cultural considerations which arise from greater intercultural communication skills are socio-economic differences, generational differences, and gender differences (Martin, 2015). The considerations or components may overlap the other cultural considerations but a manager who has great intercultural training and an ongoing peers network can mentor others on intercultural communication when related challenges arise.

Thirdly, greater intercultural communication skills improve career practice by helping people avoid hurting others. The training on diversity programs does not encompass the best practice and thus, it is no longer good enough in applying the golden rule especially when handling individuals as a professional want others to treat them. With that in mind, in modern global workplaces, the current leaders are required to do better by stepping up the managerial skills by adhering to the Platinum Rule. It is how the intercultural communication skills are to help the professionals in their practice (Ladegaard & Jenks, 2015). Managers and other professionals are anxious to achieve success in the market.

However, people also use intercultural communication skills need to remain relevant in their professional field. Those who need to be or maintain their competitiveness in the international marketplace as well as lead successful teams that are performing their tasks with higher synergy understand that they ought to exercise a greater understanding of the manner in which other individuals want to be handled or treated within the business setting (Martin & Nakayama, 2015). Thus, getting to know the group members essentially calls for a more robust set of soft managerial skills. It also requires more effective implement methods for the same skills to ensure no individual feels singled out in the process.

Section Three: How Intercultural Communication Skills Enhance the Anticipated Career

The skills acquired on intercultural communication will help me in interviews and in my first job. I will be able to articulate what I know as well as what I can do, to anyone and anywhere whether in written or spoken form, by ensuring the context is well understood (Martin & Nakayama, 2015). I will also let the future employer know that I have the necessary skills and a set of unique skills that can help the company realize more success. I will communicate or show the will to always learn more.

Good intercultural communication skills give the ability to listen. The skills help me in applying the concept of idiocentrism and allocentrism as required. Idiocentrism involves individualistic characteristics, and it is essential at times. Idiocentrists are less concerned about people, and this ensures more privacy, which is socially acceptable in the contemporary world (Rego & Cunha, 2007). However, intercultural communication skills emphasize more on allocentrism which entails collectivism. Moreover, the mission as well as goals in the company and the responsibilities should be reflected in my work and this starts with my good listening skills. With the idea of idiocentrism and allocentrism, I will be able to listen to both clients and supervisors more closely and meet their needs without offending them. After the performance, I will listen to feedback and what I did right and where I could have done better and then improve. The skills will help me understand who is individualistic and collectivist and handle every situation as per the Platinum Rule. The information learned on the module about intercultural communications skills will help me satisfy the needs of my employer (Meyer, 2014). The knowledge gained will help me understand the context of my clients and the employers expectations (Martin & Nakayama, 2015). I will achieve this by ensuring that the employer and the clients listen and act. The skills obtained will be essential in explaining the same actions to both the employer and the clients to achieve success.

The knowledge of intercultural communication skills is important in my future career because it will help people understand me. With such skills, I will have the ability to explain my ideas to other people regardless of the culture (low context/hot context) in a manner that makes sense to them and is easy for them to understand. I will be able to hold different positions of leadership and even supervisor work in a way that will achieve productivity (Martin, 2015)s. The skills also enable a person in a future career to communicate with co-workers and ensure they are working together to serve their customers and the company.


High context cultures use high non-verbal communication more than the low context cultures. Low context cultures emphasize on collectivism and form long-term relationships, while high context cultures emphasize on individualism and form...

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