We’re Going To Talk
What is “Culture”?
A Communications Model
Sender Message Audience
A Better Communications
Sender Message Audience
What is Culture???
Provides patterns of
acceptable behavior &
May be based on….
Race and Religion
…All of the Above
Aware values &
Flexible & open
Sensitive to verbal
Aware of values,
of other cultures.
HIGH CONTEXT VS. LOW CONTEXT
Infer information from
message context, rather
than from content.
Prefer indirectness, Asian
politeness & ambiguity. Latin American
Convey little information Middle Eastern
Rely heavily on nonverbal
Rely more on content
rather than on context.
Explicitly spell out European
Value directness. North American
See indirectness as
Value written word more
than oral statements.
Some Cultural Scenarios
To help her American Company establish a
presence in Japan, Mrs. Torres wants to hire a
local interpreter who can advise her on business
customs. Ms. Tomari has superb qualifications
on paper, but when Mrs. Torres tries to probe
about her experience, Ms. Tomari just says, “I
will do my best. I will try very hard.” She
never gives details about any of the previous
positions she has held. Mrs. Torres begins to
wonder if Ms. Tamari's résumé is inflated.
Stan Williams wants to negotiate a joint venture
between his American firm and a Beijing-based
company. He asks Tung-Sen Lee if the Chinese
people have enough discretionary income to afford
his product. Mr. Lee is silent for a time, and then
says, “Your product is good. People in the West
must like it.” Stan smiles, pleased that Mr. Lee
recognizes the quality of his product, and he leaves
a contract for Mr. Lee to sign. Weeks later, Stan
still hasn’t heard anything. If China is going to be
so inefficient, he wonders if his company should try
to do business there.
Gloria Johnson is proud of her participatory
management style. Assigned in Bombay on
behalf of her U.S.-based company, she is careful
not to give orders but to ask for suggestions.
But the employees rarely suggest anything.
Even a formal suggestion system she established
does not work. Worse still, she doesn’t sense the
respect and camaraderie that she felt at the plant
she managed in Texas. Perhaps the people in
India just are not ready for a woman boss.
Alan Caldwell is a U.S. sales representative in
Mexico City. He makes appointments with Senõr
Lopez and is careful to be on time, but his host is
frequently late. To save time, Alan tries to get right
to business, his host wants to talk about sightseeing
and about Alan’s family. Even worse, the meetings
are interrupted constantly with phone calls, long
conversations with other people, and even customers’
children who come into the office. Alan’s first report
to his home office is very negative. He hasn’t yet
made a sale. Perhaps Mexico just isn’t the right
place to do business.