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Eureka: A new model for cultural communication dimensions Eureka: A new model for cultural communication dimensions
by Jay Gutman
2018-01-07 10:30:18
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Hofstede has six dimensions. The world value survey has four dimensions. I will outline here what are my dimensions, twelve in total, but I focus on communication. The dimensions are mere observations and did not involve careful data gathering other than field work.

cultur1_400Hierarchy vs. egalitarianism. No amount of research can deny that Hofstede's hierarchy vs. egalitarianism is a cultural dimension. In hierarchical cultures titles tend to be important, higher ups tend to take almost everything subordinates do for granted. In hierarchical cultures give your boss a million dollars out of your own pocket and he or she will take that for granted, because they believe their status and rank entitles them to that. In hierarchical cultures higher-ups tend not to say “please” and “thank you” as their status naturally entitles them to receive favors from subordinates. In hierarchical cultures orders are expected to be executed fast and without discussion. In egalitarian cultures there is some form of hierarchy, but orders can be rejected, favors are only carried out if the subordinate wishes and communication tends to flow both ways. In hierarchical cultures, communication between superiors and subordinates tends to flow from the superior to the subordinate.

Satire vs. Respect vs. Deference. This is a dimension I came up with. In some cultures like France, communication tends to have satirical elements to it, that is involves mocking the people who are around us. That is communications revolves around people's flaws rather than qualities. In other cultures communication tends to involve respect, that is no mockery is made when talking about people, that is people are accepted for the flaws and admired for their qualities. In cultures where communication is based on deference, people's flaws tend to be masked and cast under the rug and only qualities will be put forward.

Ambiguity vs. fantasy vs. accuracy. In some cultures, when reporting or communicating information, a great deal of ambiguity is used, that is most things are described in vague terms. Being precise tends to irritate the people you are communicating with. In cultures where communication is based on fantasy, reports will involve precise facts but that have little to do with accuracy. In cultures where accuracy is the norm, reports will be fact-checked for accuracy.

Exclusivity vs. Inclusivity of social relations. Hofstede calls this group vs. individualistic cultures but I find that a bit vague. Some cultures are exclusive, meaning that in any group of insiders outsiders will be carefully vetted before they join the group. A new group member can disrupt the harmony of the group and lead other group members to leave. In inclusive cultures, everyone's welcome and new members of groups tend not to be vetted. That is you can go to an office or party and find new faces everywhere, whereas in exclusive cultures new members are rarely seen.

Cynicism vs. Empathy. In all cultures good news is shared along with bad news. In some cultures, bad news and good news will be delivered coldly and will rarely be celebrated if it's good news or mourned if it's bad news. In cultures of empathy, good news and bad news is shared with a great deal of empathy, good news is celebrated, bad news mourned together.

Individual-based communication vs. Surroundings based communication. In some cultures the main topic of conversation tends to focus around the self and their day to day activities, while in other cultures communication is dominated by what happened in the surroundings. In individual communicating based models people will tell you how their day went and how they see their life going, in surroundings based communicating they'll tend to focus on what happened in the news, in the media or in the neighborhood.

Agonism vs. Suggestion: In some cultures, agonism, meaning aggressive communication methods tend to be used when suggesting that something should be done or something has not been done. In other cultures, a softer form of suggestion will be used when indicating that a task needs to be performed or an action needs to be done.

Emotions vs. Facts vs. Narration: in some cultures communication tends to revolve around emotions and how people feel about certain issues. In other cultures facts tend to be discussed and communication revolves around factual knowledge. In other cultures narration is the norm, that is communication will have a story-telling component to it.

Flowing communication vs. Stilted communication. In some cultures people seem to never run out of conversation topics and only the fall of the night will lead the parties to leave. In other cultures, communication is a bit more stilted and communication topics tend to dry out quickly.

Direct communication vs. Indirect communication: In some cultures facts are reported directly and orders are given directly. In other cultures, there may be the use of hints, charades, euphemisms and figures of speech when communicating.

Loud vs. Quiet communication: In some cultures, if you sit at a restaurant or at a meeting room communication will tend to be loud and passionate. In other culture, the tone tends to be low and a low voice is used when communicating.

Excluding members of a group vs. negotiating with the members of a group. In some cultures, when there are disagreements, members of a group or individuals tend to be excluded and the silent treatment is reserved to them. In other cultures, negotiating with the group or individual who disagrees is the norm.

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