In a high context culture (like in China), many elements of context must be taken into account to know how to respond appropriately (know the “rules” of the culture). Much is assumed and taken for granted. This is confusing to a person from a low context culture.
Low context cultures typically have very direct expressions of what is required in a particular situation. That is required is all situations which are similar. There is much less chance of misunderstanding. Social rules are social rules first, last and always.
In situations where people speed around and are very busy, low context communication is needed to explain the details one needs to know. Americans are more typically low context people because of the significant mobility of their culture. Below is a chart Hall used.
Again, sensitivity to other ways people function is important to good relationships. Friendship Partners need to learn how to help students from high context cultures better understand how to function in a different cultural context.
Principles cited in this blog: We all have to learn sensitivity to other people’s cultural background, especially when it comes to the context factor in culture.
Application for ISI ministry: One way we can help students is to help them see the need to understand the cultural context of others when it is very different from what one was raised with.
Next blog topic: Cultures: The Space Factor
Doug Shaw with Derrah Jackson