Text Box: Culture and Non-Verbal Communication  






Culture variations can affect the way people communicate non-verbally.  Actions that are not seen as offensive in your home country may be deemed so in foreign business ventures.  Although there are many, the following five are the most important:


Immediacy and expressiveness---These demonstrate availability for communication.  High immediacy cultures are called contact cultures, and are mostly located in warm-temperature areas like Arab countries.  Low immediacy cultures are low-contact cultures, and are found in cool climates (most North European countries). 



Individualism vs. Collectivism---Individualistic cultures are more remote and display less non-verbal communication.  Collectivistic cultures stress cohesion as a group, and spend time in close proximity to one another. 


Masculinity---Women in low-masculinity cultures show more synchrony in their movement than those in high-masculinity cultures. 


Power distance---Research shows that high-power distance cultures tend to be more “untouchable,” tend to be more tense in subordinates’ body movement, tend to smile more for subordinates to appease superiors or to be polite, and tend to be more aware that vocal loudness may be offensive to others. 


High and low context---Research has found that people in high context cultures tend to be more implicit in verbal codes, perceive highly verbal persons less attractive, tend to be more reliant on and tuned into non-verbal communication, and expect to have more non-verbal codes in communication.  




Cultural Variations


Low-Context Culture

High-Context Culture

1.  Overtly displays meanings through direct      communication forms.

1.  Implicitly embeds meanings at different levels of the sociocultural context. 

2.  Values individualism.

2.  Values group sense. 

3.  Tends to develop transitory personal relationship. 

3.  Tends to take time to cultivate and establish a permanent personal relationship. 

4.  Emphasizes linear logic.

4.  Emphasizes spiral logic. 

5.  Values direct verbal interaction and is less able to read nonverbal expressions.

5.  Values indirect verbal interaction and is more able to read nonverbal expressions. 

6.  Tends to use "logic" to present ideas.

6.  Tends to use more "feeling" in expression. 

7.  Tends to emphasize highly structured messages,    give details, and place great stress on words and technical signs. 

7.  Tends to give simple, ambiguous, noncontexting messages. 


















This table shows the ideas of the logical, individual, and direct low-context culture and the ambiguous, group-oriented high-context culture.









Cultural variations affect non-verbal communication in many ways.   The five most important variations that we recognize are:  immediacy and expressiveness, individualism vs. collectivism, the effect of masculinity, the power distance in the culture, and the differences between high and low-context cultures.  By recognizing and adjusting for cultural differences that are present across the globe, you can succeed in business endeavors abroad.






Works Cited



By:  Xpressionz