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T. Hall was born on May 16, 1914 Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist who made early discoveries of key cultural factors. His theories gave an insight into cross-cultural communication.

The foundation for his lifelong research on cultural perceptions of space was laid during World War II when he served in the U.S. Army in Europe and the Philippines.
He stated that cultures differed along 3 dimensions:

Context is the information that surrounds an event, it is inextricably bound up with the meaning of that event. The elements that combine to produce a given meaning events and context are in different proportions depending on the culture. The cultures of the world can be compared on a scale from high to low context.

HIGH CONTEXT: A high context message or communication is one in which most information is already known to the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message. Many contextual elements that help people to understand the rules. Much is taken for granted. It can be very confusing for a person who does not understand the 'unwritten rules' of the culture. Example:- French



More explanation is needed. There are less chance of misunderstanding. The mass of the information is vested in the explicit code. They classify their personal relationship, their work, and many aspects of day to day life. Example:- German, Americans


High-context culture

Low-context culture

Overtness of messages

Many covert and implicit messages, with use of metaphor and reading between the lines. Inner locus of control and personal acceptance for failure Much nonverbal communication Reserved, inward reactions Strong distinction between in-group and out-group. Strong sense of family. Strong people bonds with affiliation to family and community High commitment to longterm relationships. Relationship more important than task. Time is open and flexible. Process is more important than product

Many overt and explicit messages that are simple and clear. Outer locus of control and blame of others for failure

Locus of control and attribution for failure Use of non-verbal communication Expression of reaction Cohesion and separation of groups People bonds

More focus on verbal communication than body language Visible, external, outward reaction Flexible and open grouping patterns, changing as needed Fragile bonds between people with little sense of loyalty. Low commitment to relationship. Task more important than relationships. Time is highly organized. Product is more important than process

Level of commitment to relationships Flexibility of time

Human concepts of time grew out of the natural rhythms associated with daily, monthly and annual cycles. Out of this two time systems has been evolved:One as an expression of our biological clock. The other being the solar, lunar and annual cycles.
T.E.Hall restricted to those manifestations of time that have proved to be stumbling blocks at the cultural interface.

1) 2)

MONOCHRONIC: Also called M-Time, means doing one thing at a time. It assumes careful planning and scheduling. Paying attention to and doing one thing at a time. Monochronic people tend also to be low context. Time is experienced and used in a linear way. Is being perceived as tangible somewhat like money that can be spent, save, wasted, lost. They dont like to be interrupted. Example:- German

POLYCHRONIC: Human interaction is valued over time and material things, leading to a lesser concern for 'getting things done' -- they do get done, but more in their own time. Being involved in many things at once. Aboriginal and Native Americans have typical polychronic cultures. Polychronic people tend also to be high context. Another example is French.


Monochronic action

Polychronic action


do one thing at a time Concentrate on the job at hand

do many things at once


Are easily distracted

Attention to time

Think about when things must be achieved

Think about what will be achieved


Put the job first Seldom borrow or lend things Emphasize promptness

Put relationships first Borrow and lend things often and easily base promptness relationship factors

Respect for property


Monochronic Culture

Polychronic culture

Territoriality is the act of laying claim to and defending a territory and is a vital link in the chain of events necessary for survival. Space also communicates POWER.

Proxemics - the study of man's behavioral

use of space. It is the study of "perception and use of space".

HIGH TERRITORIALITY: Greater concern for ownership. They seek to mark out the areas which are theirs and perhaps having boundary wars with neighbors. Territoriality also extends to anything that is 'mine' and ownership concerns extend to material things. Security thus becomes a subject of great concern for people with a high need for ownership. People with high territoriality tend also to be low context.



ownership of space and boundaries are less important to them. They will share territory and ownership with little thought. Have less concern for material ownership and their sense of 'stealing' is less developed People with low territoriality tend also to be high context.

Hall said that personal space can be viewed as an extension of the human body, and he defined four distinct zones:

3) 4)

The intimate zone, for whispering and embracing (within 18 inches of your body) The personal zone, for conversing with close friends (18 inches to 4 feet) The social zone, for conversing with acquaintances (4 to 10 feet) The public zone, for interacting with strangers (10 to 25 feet).

Edward T. Hall explain the cultural context in which corporations in Germany France and United States operate and how this contributes to misunderstandings between business personnel from each country. He found these principle to be useful at home as well as at work place.


Americans think that the French are...


The French think that the Americans are...


low context : like Germany everything must be clear everything is in the contract

dis-organized, Insincere & not disciplined

high context like Japan a place must be left for adaptation and interpretation eveything is in the relationship

boring not creative


time is money exactitude is essential

not focused dispersed

schedule independent you can be late if you get a better achievement

too much into details bureaucratic

Interpersonal distance

"big bubble" avoid physical contact

touch you too much

"small bubble" security is being part of a group

arrogant and dominating

Americans from the German Perspective Negatives

Overly familiar, intrusive Nave (historically & politically) Poorly educated, narrow-minded Undisciplined, lacking taste Shallow & over-confident

Americans from the German Perspective Positives

Friendly Resourceful, energetic. Happier, more productive, greater freedom than most Resilient American Society: great opportunity for success & upward mobility

Germans from the American Perspective

Disciplined, well-educated Neat, orderly Systematic, well-organized Reserved, private Tough competitors