2.0 Communication Styles & Cultural Dimensions

Introduction to Communication Styles _ Cultural dimensions

check mark iconCommunication Styles & Cultural Dimensions Checklist

Please complete the readings and activities before continuing to Module 3.0

☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Cultural Value Systems
☐ Reflection Note: Identifying Your Cultural Values
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on Cultural Specific vs General Knowledge Frameworks
☐ Watch video on Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Model
☐ Watch Trecia’s video on High vs Low Context Cultures
☐ Complete the end of session questions

outcomes iconBy the end of this module you will be able to:

  • Identify self and others’ values.
  • Compare cultural dimensions from two or more countries.
  • Distinguish between high and low context communication styles.

graphic of a hand reaching into a textbook pulling out a lightbulb

heading iconWhat are Cultural Values?

In this video, you will learn about cultural values that are basically the core principles and ideals upon which an entire community exists, and protect, and rely upon for existence and harmonious relationships. Let us explore how this concept is made up of several parts: customs, which involve traditions and rituals; values, which are beliefs; and culture, which is all of a group’s guiding values.

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

Cultural Values: Examples

Note: The information presented below is not for comparison

reflection icon Reflection Note

Identifying your Cultural Values

For this activity, you can choose to download and use this document, or use the form below.

If you choose to complete with the online version, identify the cultural values you connect with most and then answer the questions at that follow.

heading iconCultural Knowledge and Dimensions

Now that you are aware of cultural values, and how our various beliefs, norms, and social practices shape our very existence, let us talk about cultural knowledge, and dimensions, and how we can use these dimensions to make comparisons among prevalent world cultures.

The concept of cultural dimensions is based on the idea that there are fundamental topics every culture has to deal with. Anthropologists and sociologists sought to define cultural dimensions in order to make different cultures comparable. Thus, dimensions can help to analyze cultural differences and their consequences.

Culture General Frameworks work with various cultural dimensions to provide a general perspective for comparing and contrasting cultures.  Let us now take a deep dive to understand these dimensions and how they are used by popular culture general frameworks namely Hofstede’s Six-Dimensional Model, and Edward Hall’s High-Low Content Cultural Communication Dimensions.

icons representing contrasting cultural dimensions, examples include dots lining up versus clustered together, dots in small pairs versus a tidy circle, a plate with chopsticks versus a plate with a fork, a single icon of a person versus many together
Graphical representation of contrasting cultural dimensions.

heading iconCulture-Specific and Culture General Knowledge Frameworks

In this video, you will be concentrating on culture-specific and culture general knowledge. You will learn about Confucian and the First Nation cultures, and how to use the culture general frameworks to compare and analyze various cultural dimensions.

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

heading iconHofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions Model

While human nature is inherited, culture is learned; however, individuals within all cultures vary based on differences, preferences, values, and experiences. Hofstede identifies cultural dimensions that are globally applicable and are reflected in all aspects of life, including family life, child-rearing practices, education, employment, and health care practices. Watch the video to know more about Hofstede’s six-dimensional framework.

Also, visit the link to 2.1 below to view how Hofstede’s dimensions are summarized on world maps, and also learn further about the cultural dimensions from Hofstede himself.

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

If you’re interested in reading more about Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Model explore 2.1 Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions – Maps of the World.

heading iconHigh vs Low Context Cultures

The concepts of high context and low context refer to how people communicate in different cultures. Differences can be derived from the extent to which meaning is transmitted through actual words used or implied by the context. In this video, we are going to explore Edward Hall’s High and Low Context Culture General Framework.

Downloadable version of the lecture slides.

Note: Although Edward Hall’s High and Low communication cultures refer to the values cultures place on indirect and direct communication, we should avoid stereotyping people based on the countries they may come from. We must keep in mind that high-context and low-context styles are not mutually exclusive. Each has its place and is preferred at different times or with different people, and thus we should not designate any individual or culture.

quiz iconCheck Your Understanding

donut icon You’ve completed Module 2!

Time to break out the donuts!

next icon What’s coming up?

Now you can move on to Module 3.0 Unconscious Bias & Visioning from the menu at the left. 2.1 Hofsteade’s Cultural dimensions – Maps of the World is further reading if you are interested in digging deeper into the concept of cultural dimensions.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Intercultural Awareness and Competence Copyright © 2021 by Trecia McLennon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book