Each of us grows up in a Culture that provides patterns of acceptable behaviour and belief. We may not be aware of the most basic features of our culture until we come into contact with people who do things differently. For example, we read from left to right. In some countries, test goes from right to left or form bottom to top. In the United States, new acquaintances often ask, “What do you do?” as if our job tell people who we are. In many countries, new acquaintances want to know, “Who is your family?” and are more likely to judge people by their family ties.
We can categorize culture as high-context or low context.
- In High-context culture, most of the information is inferred from the context of a message; little is “spelled out.” Japanese, Arabic and Latin American cultures are high-context.
- In Low-context culture, context is less important; most information is explicitly spelled out. German, Scandinavian and dominant U.S. cultures are low-context.