Nachádzate sa tu

Culture and Intercultural Communication Styles

Nowadays when the world is intensively interconnected via means of electronic communication, the representatives of various cultures interact among themselves more intensively than in the past. Intensive business and private interactions force people to think more about their communication styles and the reasons of possible misunderstandings. People try to discover the background of their communication styles. They find culture as one of determinants which influence their communication style repertoire.
There have been created many definitions of culture and probably new ones will be generated in the future. We have tried to select those definitions that display the relation between culture, communication, intercultural communication styles and related setting and processes.
The direct interconnection between culture and communication styles was established by E.T.Hall who points out a reciprocal relation between culture and communication.
“Culture is communication and communication is culture” (E.T. Hall, 1959, p.169)
The view of E.T. Hall could be supported by Ting Toomey, who also sees a strong reciprocal relation between culture and communication and points out that “the culture from which individuals come affects the way they communicate, and the way individuals communicate can change the culture they share”. (Ting Toomey, 1999, p.18)
A close connection between culture and communication is visible in definition by Scollon who defines culture as “culture is a verb”what means “culture is not something that you think or possess or live inside of. It is something that you do. And the way that you do it might be different at different times and in different circumstances. (Scollon, 2012, p.5)
To prove a close relationship between culture, communication and everyday life we can proceed with the definitions made by Damen, Mead and Andrew who explain how culture of a particular person is being developed. They define culture as “learned and shared human patterns or models for living; day-to-day living patterns. These patterns and models pervade all aspects of human social interaction. (Damen, 1987, p. 367)
With reference to the definition of culture as learned and shared human patterns and models for living we can deduce that culture is learned from other members of the same culture, people are not born with it. In terms of communication a member of a culture is taught how to interact with others.
The focus on the process of social and under certain conditions intercultural interaction within which culture is learned is supported by view of Milton J. Bennett who defines culture as “a result of the lived experience (praxis) of participating in social action.” (Bennett, Milton J.,2005).
The view of Milton Bennett could be supported by Avruch who views culture as “a derivate of individual experience, something learned or created by individuals themselves or passed on to theme socially by contemporaries or ancestors”. (Avruch,1998, p.9)
Keven Avruch makes distinction between local and generic culture while he defines local culture as “the complex system of meaning created, shared and transmitted (socially inherited) by individuals in particular social groups.” (Keven Avruch, 1998, p.9,)
Janet Bennett defines culture as „the learned and shared values, beliefs, and behaviors of a group of interacting people.“ (Janet M. Bennett,2012, p.15)
The view of culture and consequently intercultural communication style is close to the view of Ting Tommey who identifies culture as consisting „of the underlying set of beliefs and values that drives people’s thinking, reacting and behaving. (Ting Tommey, 1999, p.10)
Ting Tommey also points out that culture as “learned system of meaning is hared and transmitted through everyday interactions among members of the cultural group from one generation to the next”. (Ting Tommey, 1999, p.9)
The connection between the individual as the carrier of multiple cultures and the carrier of multiple communication styles which he/she is expected to use in communication across cultures is proposed by Hopmann. In his view culture is not monolithic and restricted in its effects to a single level of social structure, including the nation-state, culture does not map transparently onto something called nationality. (Hopmann, 1996 in Keven Avruch, 1999, p. 44)
Keesing views culture as a system of knowledge, shaped and constrained by the way the human brain acquires, organizes, and process information and creates „internal modes of reality“. He focuses on necessity to study culture within the social and ecological petting in which humans communicate. (Keesing, 1974, p.89 in Gudykunst, 1988, p.29)
Also the definition by Miller and Steinberg points out that people choose among various communicative strategies based on situations in which receivers of the message respond. They assume that „when people communicate, they make predictions about the effects, or outcomes, of their communication behaviours. They also take into account the importance of knowledge of past events and expectations about future events while making predictions“. (William B.Gudykunst, Stella Ting-Toomey, 1988, p.18)



  1. Angrosino Michael (2007): Doing Etnographic and Observational Research. Sage Publications Ltd, London
  2. Avruch Keven (1998): Culture and conflict resolution. United States Institute of Peace
  3. Beck Ulrich (2007): Was ist Globalisierung? Suhrkamp Verlag Frankfurt am Main
  4. Bennett J. Milton (2005): Paradigmatic assumption of intercultural communication
  5. Bennett J. Milton (2012): Turning cross-cultural contact into intercultural learning. Proceedings of the Universidad 2012 8th International Congress on Higher Education, The University for Sustainable Development, Feb.15, 2012, Havana, Cuba
  6. Bennett J. Milton (1998): Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication. Selected Readings. Intercultural Press, Inc.
  7. Bennett Janet (2012): Designing Intercultural Training: Skills and Tools for the Educator
  8. Berger Peter & Luckmann Thomas (1996): The Social Construction of Reality. A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. Penguin Books
  9. Bolten.J (2001): Interkulturelle Kompetenz. Erfurt
  10. Bouzek Jan (2008): Jak se domluvit s jinými? Úvod do medzikulturní komunikace. Triton
  11. Bowe Heather, Martin Kylie (2007): Communication Across Cultures. Cambridge University Press
  12. Cushner Kenneth & Brislin W. Richard (1996): Intercultural Interactions. A Practical Guide. Sage Publications Ltd, London
  13. Deardorff K. Darla (2009): Intercultural Competence. SAGE Publications, Inc., Thousand Oaks
  14. Designing Intercultural Training: Skills and Tools for the Educator, Janet M. Bennett, 2012
  15. Eriksen Hylland Thomas (2007): Globalization. Berg
  16. Gibbs R. Graham (2007): Analyzing Qualitative Data. Sage Publications Ltd, London
  17. Gibson Robert (2008): Intercultural Business Communication. Cornelsen, Berlin
  18. Gibson Robert (2008): Intercultural Business Communication. Cornelsen & Oxford University Press GmbH & Co.
  19. Featherstone Mike (1991): Global Culture. Sage Publications Ltd, London
  20. Flick Uwe (2012): Designing Qualitative Research, Sage Publications Ltd, London
  21. Gudykunst B. William (2004): Bridging Differences. Effective Intergroup Communication. Sage Publications Ltd,London
  22. Gudykunst B. William, Ting-Tommey Stella (1988): Culture and Interpersonal Communication. Sage Publications, Inc.
  23. Hall, E.T. (1976): Beyond culture. Doubleday, New York
  24. Hall E.T. (1959): The Silent language. Doubleday, New York
  25. Hofstede G. & Bond. M. (1984) Hofstede’s culture dimensions. Journal of Cross Cultural Psychology, 15, 417-433
  26. Hofstede, G. (1991): Cultures and organizations. McGraw-Hill. London
  27. Hofstede, G.(1979): Values systems in forty countries. In L. Eckensberger, W.Lonner, & Y.Poortinga (Eds.). Cross-cultural contributions to psychology. Lisse, Netherlands: Swets & Zeitlinger.
  28. Hofstede Jan Gert, Pedersen B. Paul, Hofstede Geert (2002): Exploring Culture. Intercultural Press, London
  29. Hopmann P.T. (1996): The Negotiation Process and the Resolution of International Conflicts. University of South Caroline Press, Columbia
  30. Introduction. Bridges not walls. (2nd edition): J.Stewart. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  31. Jorgensen L.Danny (1989): Participant Observation. A Methodology for Human Studies. Sage Publications.
  32. Katz Lothar (2006): Negotiating International Business. Booksurge
  33. Keesing R. (1974): Theories of Culture. Annual Review of Anthropology 3, p. 73-97
  34. Landis Dan, Bennett Janet M, Bennett Milton J. (2004): Handbook of intercultural training. London. 2004
  35. Lechner J. Frank and Boli John (2012): The Globalization Reader. Fourth Edition. Willey-Blackwell
  36. Mead R., Andrews T.G. (2009): International Management: Culture and Beyond (4th ed.).Chichester: Wiley
  37. Mediation Theory and Practice (2006): James J. Aflini, Sharon B.Press, Jean R. Sternlight, Joseph B. Stullberg: LexisNexis
  38. Nisbett E. Richard (2011): The Geography of Thought. Nicholas Brealey Publishing, London
  39. Paulston B.Christina, Kiesling F.Scott and Rangel S. Elizabeth (2012): The Handbook of Intercultural Discourse and Communication. Blackwell Publishing, London.
  40. Samovar A. Larry, Porter E. Richard, McDaniel R. Edwin (2007): Communication between cultures. Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, Boston
  41. Saphiere Hofner Dianne, Mikk Kappler Barbara, DeVries Ibrahim Basma (2005): Communication Highwire. Leveraging the Power of Diverse Communication Styles. Intercultural Press. Boston
  42. Silverman David (2006): Interpreting Qualitative Data. Sage Publications Ltd, London
  43. Scollon Ron, Scollon Wong Suzanne and Jones H.Rodney (2012): Intercultural Communication. A Discourse Approach. Blackwell Publishing Ltd
  44. Spencer-Oatey Helen & Franklin Peter (2009): Intercultural Interaction. A Mulitdisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Communication. Palgrave Mackmillan, New York
  45. Storti Craig (1994): Cross-Cultural Dialogues. 74 Brief Encounters with Cultural Difference. Intercultural Press, London
  46. Stringer M. Donna, Cassiday A. Patricia (2009): 52 Activities for Improving Cross-Cultural Communication. Intercultural Press, London
  47. Ting-Tommey (1999): Communicating Across Cultures. The Guilford Press


Copyright © 2011. Eva Gáboríková. EFE - English For Everyone