Hello, this is Cynthia from think-team 😉
I shared you a concept of cultural relativity to understand and smoothly communicate in multi-cultural setting in my previous blog here.
As I read further the book, it gets more interesting how the misunderstanding could happen due to our diverse cultural background. In her book, Meyer introduced 8 scales to understand how culture can vary from one to another, from one extreme to its opposite. The scales include:
Communicating: low-context vs. high-context
Evaluating: direct negative feedback vs. indirect negative feedback
Persuading: principles-first vs. applications-first
Leading: egalitarian vs. hierarchical
Deciding: consensual vs. relationship-based
Trusting: task-based vs. relationship-based
Disagreeing: confrontational vs. avoids confrontation
Scheduling: linear-time vs. flexible-time
In my previous blog, I gave you examples for scheduling and evaluating based on my experience. This time, I will share how different cultures could lead to misunderstanding. According to Meyer, there are two extremes of communication styles which are low-context and high-context. Low-context recognises precise, simple, clear communication as good communication. Repetition is appreciated if it helps to clarify the communication. On the other hand, high-context communication tends to give sophisticated, nuanced, and layered communication. Messages are often implied but not plainly expressed. The scale of communication for several countries is shown below.
You can see that the United States is the country with the lowest-context style globally, meaning that they literally speak straightforward. Many European countries also have low-context compared to many Asian countries like Japan, Korea, and Indonesia. The author shared that the Japanese are well trained to communicate between the lines. They get used to understanding the message without the others having to express it directly. For instance, Japanese people will not express their discomfort or disagreement explicitly; the listeners are expected to understand the atmosphere. I guess this notion is also similar to Indonesia’s culture, as I mentioned in the previous blog. Again, back to the concept of cultural relativity, although Japan and Indonesia have high-context communication, from Indonesians, Japanese people are perceived as talking more implicitly than Indonesians.
However, low-context is still recommended by the author to avoid misunderstanding in a multi-cultural setting. This could be a basis for why we promote transparency in su-re.co's culture to communicate from one gift maker to others. Also, minutes of the meeting is necessary to reduce confusion and save time for multi-cultural teams at su-re.co.
Thank you for reading. See you on the next blog. 😊