Hall's cultural factors
Edward T. Hall was an anthropologist who made early discoveries of key cultural factors. In particular he is known for his high and low contextcultural factors.
In a high-context culture, there are many contextual elements that help people to understand the rules. As a result, much is taken for granted.
Thiscan be very confusing for person who does not understand the 'unwritten rules' of the culture.
In a low-context culture, very little is taken for granted. Whilst this means that moreexplanation is needed, it also means there is less chance of misunderstanding particularly when visitors are present.
Contrasting the two
French contracts tend to be short (in physical length,not time duration) as much of the information is available within the high-context French culture. American content, on the other hand, is low-context and so contracts tend to be longer in order toexplain the detail.
Highly mobile environments where people come and go need lower-context culture. With a stable population, however, a higher context culture may develop.
Note the similarity withTrompenaars' Universalism (low context) and Particularism (high context).
| Factor | High-context culture | Low-context culture |
|| | |
|Overtness of messages |Many covert and implicit messages, with use|Manyovert and explicit messages that |
| |of metaphor and reading between the lines. |are simple and clear. |
| || |
| Locus of control and |Inner locus of control and personal | Outer locus of control and blame of |...