Cross-Cultural Communication: Research Project
This report first examined the professional and scholarly literature on cross-cultural communication and its underpinning theory. The report contains an Introduction and purpose, a review of relevant literature, a discussion of theory, an explication of the research methodology used in a quantitative study of Arab (i.e., Kuwaiti) businessmen's attitudes toward Western communication styles and activities, and analysis of data generated by the study. Results indicate that Hofstede's Dimensions of Culture are reliable predictors of communication style preferences.
Culture is defined herein as "a shared set of meanings that are lived through the material and symbolic practices of everyday life (Knox & Marston, 2001, p. G-2)." A cultural system consists of a collection of interacting elements that taken together constitute a particular group's collective identity (Knox & Marston, 2001). While most individuals obtain from their surrounding and nurturing culture a broad as well as specific understanding of what is (and is not) valued in terms of individual behavior and attitudes, most cultures permit a significant amount of freedom in which individual personality is formed.
Culture, in the view of Geert Hofstede (1980; 2000), can be understood as having specific dimensions - dimensions that vary from one culture to another and which, taken as a totality, shape such cultural entities as behaviors, values, norms, and communication systems. These dimensions consist of individualism versus collectivism, power distance relations, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and femininity, and time orientation. Generally, cultures in which a high power distance, low tolerance for uncertainty, and long term time orientation are prevalent are cultures that value formality in business relations, are collective or group oriented, emphasize rituals of courtesy and respect, and do not engage in rap...