In times of globalisation, the global village and the Internet, the aspect of intercultural communication becomes more and more important. People have the possibility to travel across continents, students are highly recommended to pass an internship in a foreign country and bigger enterprises will hardly survive without introducing their products in foreign markets or merging with foreign companies in order to establish a multinational company. Therefore the knowledge of at least one foreign language is definitely a crucial skill one should have. But being able to transform a word or a sentence from a native into a foreign language does not guarantee a trouble-free course of a conversation led by members with different cultural backgrounds. It is at least as important to be aware of how language is used in another culture and to see through the culturally specific patterns of communication. Thus, one has to get away from the ethnocentric view in order to investigate differences in speech and to be able to recognise the true intention of the interlocutor. Only the ability to interpret the spoken and unspoken in the right way combined with a good knowledge of a language will lead to a successful and smooth conversation. The intention of this paper is to investigate differences in speech among cultures, which can lead to a communicative breakdown. In order to clarify the term ‘culture’, we will begin with finding an appropriate definition. We will then turn to a categorisation of cultures in the ‘cultural variability’ chapter in order to reveal different cultural assumptions about their values and worldviews which are also reflected in their specific way of communicating. Different verbal communication styles will be presented in the fourth chapter before we turn to investigate ‘silence’ as a part of verbal communication. Based on these results we will analyse a business negotiation between a Singaporean and a German businessman as well as between negotiators of western cultures, and reveal at the same time differences in proceeding in such a situation.
Before we can talk about cultural differences, we first have to clarify in which way the term “culture” will be used throughout this paper. As there are more than 300 definitions 1 of this term I will mainly focus on those which were presented in the seminar.
Basically, all human beings have the same biological characteristics. Everybody has the ability to sleep, eat, move etc 2 . But throughout our socialisation process we learn patterns of thinking, feeling and potential acting from our environment, i.e. from close relatives, neighbourhood, friends, school etc. Especially during our childhood we acquire such patterns, which are established more and more firmly the older we are. Hofstede calls these patterns “mental programs” or “software of the mind” 3 . He compares the acquisition of patterns by a human being with the programming of a computer. Of course members of the same culture do not all and always (re)act in the same way and (re)actions are not entirely predictable due to individual personalities. But knowing the cultural background of a person helps understanding and, to some extent, predicting likely (re)actions. Hall/Hall use a similar terminology calling culture “a shared programme for behaviour” and comparing it with “a giant, complex computer; one has to know how the system works to lead a satisfactory life” 4 . Once one has learned how the system works, (s)he is likely to be able “to control one’s environment, at least to a partial extent” 5 . So it is possible to interact with the environment, i.e. with people having the same cultural background, without great disturbances.
In order to find a final definition of ‘culture’ which will be used in this paper, I will quote Hofstedes concept of ‘culture two’:
“It is the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.” 6
The concept of ‘culture two’ differs from the concept of ‘culture one’. The latter describes ‘culture’ as “the training or refinement of the mind; civilisation.” 7
1 Slembek, E. in: Jonach, I. (ed.) (1998), p. 27
2 Prosser, M. (1978), p. 5
3 Hofstede, G (1991), p. 4
4 Hall, E.T.,Hall, M. (1983)
5 Prosser, M. (1978), p. 5
6 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 260
7 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 260
3 Cultural Variability
Before we have a closer look at the differences in verbal communication styles, we should learn more about how to distinguish one culture from another. Therefore some dimensions of cultural variability will be examined in this chapter. As in the previous chapter, I will focus on those dimensions which were chosen by Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey in order to describe their verbal communication styles.
3.1 Individualism vs. Collectivism
The ‘individualism - collectivism dimension’ is the “major dimension of cultural variability(...) 8 ”. People in collectivistic societies “live in societies in which the interest of the group prevails over the interest of the individual.” 9 People see themselves as a part of a specific group. The members of this group, which Hofstede calls the ‘we’- or ‘in-group’, are first members of the “extended family” 10 , but also co-workers, colleagues or classmates 11 .
“Die Japaner sind direkt ihrer Gruppe loyal. Ihre Loyalität, die eigentlich ihrer Familie gelten sollte, dehnen sie auf ihre Firmen aus. Die Firma ist sozusagen ihre Familie, die die Angestellten lebenslang treu betreut. Die japanischen Gewerkschaften sind überwiegend Betriebsgewerkschaften, die der Mutterfirma treu bleiben." 12 One’s identity derives from of the group and one would never think of breaking the loyalty towards the group. That means that there is lifelong loyalty and goals of the ‘in-group’ are more important than personal goals. The ‘we’ identity takes precedence over the ‘I’ identity in collectivistic cultures. 13
In conclusion we can say that “Collectivism (...) pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” 14
8 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S, (1988), p. 40
9 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 50
10 Hofstede, G: (1991), p. 50
11 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 42
12 Oshio, T. in: Otte, W. (ed.) (1985), p. 155
13 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 40
14 Hofstede, G. (1991), pp. 50
In contrast,” the ‘I’ identity has precedence in individualistic cultures over the ‘we’ identity(...)” 15 . Individual goals are considered more important than those of the ingroup and in order to achieve a goal it is possible to break with the ‘in-group’. “Group membership shifts and people move from group to group, without much recognition of those left behind in the earlier groups.” 16 Members of individualistic cultures “are supposed to look after themselves and their immediate family only (...)” 17 . They are taught to stand on their own two feet and one is never “supposed to be dependent on a group.” 18
The identity is taken from the personal ‘I’ which differs from other people’s ‘I’. So everyone is considered as an individual with individual talents and goals and “the ties between individuals are loose.” 19
3.2 Low vs. High context communication
Members of cultures with high-context communication send messages “in which most of the information is either in the physical context or internalised in the person, while very little is in the coded, explicit, transmitted part of the message.” 20 Both, sender and speaker, are involved in a specific context. The speaker does not express his intention in an explicit way but he/she expects from his/her interlocutor to understand the meaning of the message within its context.
In contrast, the low-context communication is one “in which the mass of the information is vested in the explicit code” 21 . The receiver does not have to take a complex context into consideration, when decoding the message. What must be said, will be said.
It is assumed that high- / low-context communication and the dimensions of individualism and collectivism are “isomorphic” 22 , i.e. that high-context communication is used in collectivistic cultures, whereas members of individualistic cultures use low-context communication.
15 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 40
16 Prosser, M. (1978), p. 67
17 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 40
18 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 51
19 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 51
20 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 79
21 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 79
22 Gudykunst, W.B./Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 44
3.3 Uncertainty avoidance
Hofstede’s dimension of uncertainty avoidance describes “the extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by uncertain or unknown situations 23 .” He distinguishes low and high uncertainty avoidance. Members of cultures with high uncertainty avoidance, have lower tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity, which expresses itself in higher levels of anxiety and energy release, greater need for formal rules and absolute truth, and less tolerance for people or groups with deviant ideas or behaviour.” 24
Furthermore, they are more likely to show emotional feelings, aggressive behaviour is accepted when a conflict or competition occurs, and there is a strong tendency for consensus.
Members of cultures low in uncertainty avoidance take uncertainty as “a normal feature of life” 25 . They have lower levels of anxiety, accept ambiguity, have lower stress levels and a subjective feeling of well-being, just to name a few characteristics.
3.4 Power distance
"Power distance is the extent to which less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally." 26
Power distance describes also the extent to which employees accept that superiors have more power than they have. Furthermore that opinions and decisions are right because of the higher position a person has. In countries with high power distance employees are too afraid to express their doubts and disagreement with their bosses. The index for power distance describes the dependence of relationships in a country. It is small in countries where bosses and subordinates work closely together and consult each other. Subordinates and superiors consider each other more or less as equal even if there are differences in the educational level. The hierarchical system can always change depending on the circumstances. The hierarchies are flat
23 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 113
24 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 115
25 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 125
26 Hofstede, G. (1991), p. 28
with a decentralised organisation and a small number of supervisors who are expected to be accessible to their subordinates. Within a company the degree for unequal treatment is reduced to a low level. There is an interdependence between employer and employee. The salary range is narrow between the top and bottom in companies. Subordinates expect to be consulted during the decision-making process. In contrast in large power distance countries the relation between boss and subordinate is distant and dependent on the decisions of the boss. In companies with larger power distance and a very centralised organisation, subordinates expect to be told what to do from their superiors because they consider each other as unequal. Inequalities are normally expected and privileges are seen as something natural by superiors. Centralisation is the norm and the salary range is wide. People in high power distance cultures express positive emotions to superiors and negative emotions to subordinates.
We will keep the dimensions of individualism-collectivism, low- and high context communication, uncertainty avoidance and power distance in mind, in order to explain different verbal communication styles.
4 Verbal Communication Styles by Gudykunst and Ting-Toomey
4.1 Direct vs. Indirect Style
The direct-indirect style refers to the way of expressing the speaker’s true intention in terms of his needs, wants and desires. Members of individualistic, low-context cultures tend to use the direct style, which corresponds best to the value orientations (honesty, openness, individual worth) of such cultures. The language is therefore used in a straightforward and precise way and emphasises “speaker’s ability to express their intentions.” 27 . Categorical words, such as “absolutely” and “certainly”, are often employed as well as “no” in order to answer in the negative. Members of collectivistic, high-context cultures prefer to use the indirect verbal style. Speakers of such cultures often use imprecise and even ambiguous words to communicate their message. By doing so, they “emphasise listener’s abilities to infer
27 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S., Nishida, T. (eds.) (1996), pp. 30
noticed that he did not know the right way. So my mistake was to take the ‘yes’ as a German ‘yes’ which led to the misunderstanding.
This is just one example to show how easily misunderstandings can occur, when interlocutors with direct and indirect style communicate.
As we have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, collectivistic societies tend to use the indirect style. Iranians for example avoid being embarrassed or embarrassing members of their in-group. They therefore “will often talk around the point(...) and expect the listener to be intuitive enough to discover the hidden message being communicated.” 33 They are more likely to use abstract ideas than concrete facts. Presenting bad news is avoided to the extent that “in some instances in which a close family member dies, the communication of this information may be postponed for months and even years.” 34
In conclusion, we can summarise that the use of direct speech in individualistic, lowcontext cultures, asserts self-face need and self-face concern whereas in collectivistic, high-context cultures, the indirect speech is preferred in order to keep up group harmony and to preserve mutual-face need. Assumptions on values and a “set of deep-rooted historical-political logics” are decisive elements for the choice of one of these two dimensions. 35
We will now turn to a further dimension of communication style which is the elaborate, exacting and succinct style dimension.
4.2 Elaborate vs. Exacting vs. Succinct Style
These three verbal stylistic variations describe the quantity of talk in everyday conversations in different cultures. The elaborate style distinguishes itself by a rich, expressive language, which uses a large number of adjectives describing a noun, exaggerations, idiomatic expressions, proverbs and metaphors. This style is mainly used in cultures of the Middle East such as Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Saudi-Arabia which are moderate on Hofstede’s uncertainty avoidance dimensions and are highcontext cultures.
33 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S., Nishida, T. (eds.)(1996), p. 188
34 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S., Nishida, T. (eds.)(1996), p. 189
35 Gudykunst, W.B., Ting-Toomey, S. (1988), p. 104
his or her discrete intend clear and explicit.” 40 The verbal message contains the message to a great extent. These cultures can handle new situations confrontatively without verbal elaborations or understatements, due to the values of honesty and openness.
In contrast, especially to the elaborate style, members of high-context and high uncertainty avoidance cultures use the succinct style, where explicit verbal information does not contain all of the information which is supposed to be transmitted. As the communication pattern of high-context cultures depends heavily on the non-verbal aspect, the verbal message is considered as only a part of the message being communicated. Silence, indirectness, understatements and pauses, too, carry a meaning. The Japanese for instance have developed haragei, or the ‘art of the belly’, for the meeting of minds without clear verbal interaction. Japanese leaders are actually supposed to perform haragei rather than having verbal abilities. 41
Silence, or ma, is a very important aspect in high-context and high uncertainty avoidance cultures. Whereas members of low-context cultures feel rather uncomfortable when silence occurs in everyday conversation, the Japanese have even developed an “aesthetics of silence”. 42 “It is viewed as essential to selfrealisation and sublimation.” 43 Hall states that ma in Japanese speech means that “it is the silences between the words that also carry meaning and are significant.” 44 A closer look at the subject of silence will be taken place later in this paper.
4.3 Personal vs. Contextual style
As we have already mentioned in the cultural variability chapter, cultures have different assumptions about values. This fact is also reflected in their style of speaking. Members of individualistic, low-context cultures tend to see every individual as equal which is also reflected in their language. North Americans for example prefer a first-name basis and direct address. Using titles, honorifics etc is avoided. They are conscious about equalising their language and their interpersonal relations.
40 Okabe, R. in: Gudykunst, W.B. (ed.), (1983) , p. 35
41 Okabe, R., pp. 38
42 Okabe, R:, p. 39
43 Okabe, R., p. 39
44 Hall, E.T. (1983), p. 208
Differences of age, status and sex are no reasons to use different language styles. Therefore they use in their speech the personal style which reflects an egalitarian social order where both, speaker and listener, have the same rights and both use the same language patterns. A person-oriented language stresses informality and symmetrical power relationships.
In contrast, members of collectivistic, high-context cultures find themselves during a conversation in certain roles which can depend on the status of the interlocutors. In the Korean language for example, exist different vocabularies for different sexes, for different degrees of social status or intimacy. Using the right language style in a conversation is a sure sign for a learned person. In the Japanese honorific language, there are not only differences in vocabulary but also differences in grammar. 45 If one fails in choosing the right words it is considered an offence. As we can see, formality is essential in human relations for the Japanese which is in sharp contrast to the North Americans. They are likely to feel uncomfortable in some informal situations. For them, formality “allows for a smooth and predictable interaction(...)”. 46 Therefore they employ the verbal contextual style. The contextual style is heavily based on a hierarchical social order and is a rather role-centred language. According to Okabe, the Japanese language can be seen as a status-oriented language which stresses formality and asymmetrical power relationships.
4.4 Instrumental vs. Affective style
These dimensions refer to how and to which extent language is used in verbal exchange in order to persuade the interlocutor. That includes the speaker’s attitude toward his listeners. The instrumental style is goal-oriented in verbal exchange and employs a sender-oriented language. Speaker and listener are clearly differentiated. The former transmits an information, idea or opinion while the listener is the receiver of the message. The speaker tries to persuade his or her listener in a confrontational setting with arguments in the step-by-step process viewing himself or herself as “an agent of change” 47 . Even if the listener is not ready to accept his counterpart’s opinion and maybe contradicts, the speaker will go on talking in order to achieve a
45 Okabe, R., p. 35
46 Okabe, R., p. 27
47 Okabe, R., p. 36
speaker attempts to adjust himself or herself to the feelings of his or her listeners. Awase is the logic not of choosing between but of aggregating several alternatives.” 53 The affective style is dominant in collectivistic, high-context cultures.
In this chapter we want to clarify what silence is, which forms of silence have been observed and why it occurs during a conversation. This will be the basis for further investigations of the use of silence in different cultures.
Bruneau stated that "Silence is to speech as the white of this paper is to this print. Physiologically, silence appears to be the mirror image of the shape of discernible sound for each person. Speech signs, created by necessity or will, appear to be mentally imposed grounds of silence. Mind creates both. (...) The entire system of spoken language would fail without man's ability to both tolerate and create sign sequences of silence-sound-silence units. In other words, significations of speech signs are possible because of their interdependence with imposed silence." 54 Hence, silence destroys continuity which is necessary in order to lend clarity to speech. Only by the destruction of continuity we can consider a thought or an emotion as finished.
Bruneau described three different forms of silence, each with different functions: psycholinguistic silence, interactive silence and socio-cultural silence.
5.1 Psycholinguistic Silence
Both, encoder and decoder of speech need to gain time to either encode mental thoughts into proper words and grammatical forms, or to decode a message. This is often done by hesitations which are forms of silence 55 . They include unfilled and filled pauses. Pauses can be filled with utterances such as 'ah', 'um', repetitions, sentence corrections, word changes etc. The longer or the more complex the periods of speech are, the longer is the hesitation. Psycholinguistic silence does not contain a
53 Okabe, R., pp. 36
54 Bruneau, T.J. in: Mortensen, C.D. (1979), p. 307
55 Bruneau, T.J., p. 312
potential source of misunderstanding in an intercultural conversation as it only describes cognitive processes. We therefore turn directly to the next form of silence.
5.2 Interactive Silence
Another kind of silence is called "interactive silence" which are pausal interruptions in a conversation and which tend to be longer than hesitations. Bruneau noted that "interactive silences differ from psycholinguistic silence mainly in each participant's conscious recognition of the degree and manner in which he is expected to participate in communicative exchange." 56 A long interactive silence can signify that one is careful or an has an emotionally close relationship with his or her counterpart or, in contrast, an interpersonal snub when the participants are not familiar. Moreover interactive silence can express deep emotions and it is used as a form of social control. In the following we will take a closer look on the issue of turn-taking, i.e. when the decision must be made, who will assume the burden of speaking.
5.2.1 Turn Taking and Transition Relevant Places
During a conversation of two or more interactans, the question when one has finished expressing his intention and is ready to give the burden of speech to the interlocutor, is very important as a smooth, synchronised manner of turn taking reduces the risk of an uncomfortable interruption in conversation. 57 In discussions between two politicians of opposite parties for example, it happens quite often that one speaker is interrupted by his or her interlocutor. He or she then often claims his right to finish the sentence. There seems to be a rule in conversation that only one person speaks at a time and that the other has to wait until a certain point before taking over the burden of speech. Enninger calls these points Transition Relevant Places (TRP’s), “points where speakers may change in conversations.” 58 . They can be relatively short but
56 Bruneau, T.J., p. 315
57 Wiemann, J., Knapp, M. in: Mortensen (1979), pp. 227
58 Enninger, W. in: Knapp, K. (ed.) (1987), p. 271
Enninger found out that Old Order Amish people are very tolerant concerning nonphonation. In a sixty minute conversation of members of this culture he counted 85 between-turn non-phonations, varying in length from five to 55 seconds. The big differences in length reveal that in this culture an obligatory conversational principle concerning the duration of pauses at TRP’s does not exist but an optional rule producing a high tolerance for non-phonation.
In contrast to the Old Order Amish, North American speakers would hardly accept a pause longer than six seconds. They will only tolerate such a gap when it has been marked in advance as a temporary interactional exit (for example by saying ‘Wait a second’) which has been accepted (for example by saying ‘Take your time’). Without this hold-accept procedure, longer pauses are rather possible in unfocused interactions where “participants are not so much concerned with filling the time by a continuous flow of turns, but the management of sheer and mere copresence., as for example retired neighbours sharing a park bench.” 61
In order to distinguish cultures using rather longer pauses at TRP’s and those using shorter ones at these points we can refer to Hall’s low- vs. high context dimension. High context cultures have widely shared socio-cultural assumptions and therefore they do not have to verbalise as much as low-context cultures. Hence, longer pauses are more common in high-context cultures and shorter ones in low-context cultures.
5.3 Socio-cultural silence
Cultural communication patterns include not only rules concerning the use of verbal expressions but determine also situations in which entire social and cultural orders select silence in order to express their intentions or feelings. Socio-cultural silence may help understanding cultural communication patterns much better than spoken words. Basso stated that “ an adequate ethnography of communication should not confine itself exclusively to the analysis of choice within the verbal repertoires. It should also (...) specify those conditions under which the members of the society regularly decide to refrain from verbal behaviour altogether.” 62
61 Enninger, W., p. 281
62 Basso, K. in: Carbough, D. (ed.) (1990), p. 305
There is no clear distinction in some positions from interactive silence but it can be seen as a concurrent support.
Cultures have developed certain conceptions of authorities. These conceptions often include the use of silence for different purposes. Students for example become quiet as soon as the teacher enters the room. The public will stop talking when the judge enters the court. Becoming silent in such situations means a recognition and acknowledgement of the authoritative position.
Cultures also refrain from speech at certain places. Churches, libraries and cemeteries are just a few examples where people keep silent for the purpose of maintaining norms and popular belief.
Silence as a major source of rhetorical control takes place mostly in ceremonial public events, like flag rising, praying or testimony. If one breaks the silence in such a situation, it is seen as strong anti-social behaviour.
6 Differences in business negotiation
6.1 Analysis of Singaporean-German business negotiation
After having discussed differences in communication styles and in the use of silence among cultures, we will now investigate differences in business negotiation strategies. The topics discussed above may help to understand the different ways of proceeding in negotiation situations across cultures.
Negotiations deal with the questions of what should be discussed, how the positions should be presented and what intentions concerning their relationship the negotiators have. These three levels of negotiating can be described as subject matter, atmosphere and long, medium and short term relationship. Western cultures are basically interested in a short or medium term relationship. American businessmen have to publish their results in quarterly reports and Germans think in terms of fiscal years. In contrast, a long term relationship is of crucial importance, especially for Asians 63 what may support the conclusions made on the individualismcollectivism level as collectivistic cultures tend to be loyal to their in-group members and business partners can be considered as in-group members.
63 Mühlen, A. in: Pürschel, H. (ed.) (1994), p. 217
This proceeding is consistent with the assumption made in the personal vs. contextual style chapter. As we have said, the contextual verbal style is used collectivistic, high-context cultures like Singapore. Mühlen and the director find themselves in certain roles. The former in the role of the inferior, the latter in that of the superior. Both can or better should use a certain communicative mode in order to not affect the result negatively. The demander should use the pull-mode, i.e. acting on the offensive but in concealed manner. If he uses the push-mode, i.e. if he acts offensively and openly, it can be viewed as aggressive and face threatening since formality is not kept. An indirect rejection of the demand would be likely. The director rejected Mühlens' request indirectly by not moving at all, i.e. he remained silent. 67 A direct rejection, i.e. acting defensively and openly, is rather unlikely in collectivistic cultures, since 'no' as an answer is avoided.
6.2 Differences in negotiation patterns between France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States
In the previous chapter we investigated in which aspects Singaporean and German business negotiation strategies differ and learned that there are relatively big differences which can easily lead to difficulties. But these differences, of course, do not exist only between cultures with so different values and shared assumptions. Among the occidental cultures as well, there are different aspects which can influence the outcome of a negotiation.
Campbell investigated “the influence of the similarity of negotiators (...) on bargaining strategies (...) and negotiation outcomes (...)” 68 : Even if the negotiations, on which the data is based, were not conducted by businessmen of different cultures but by persons of the same nationality, a comparison reveals differences in negotiation patterns.
For French negotiators for example, similarity 69 of buyer and seller is very important.
67 Mühlen, A., pp. 227
68 Campbell, N.C.G., Graham, J., Jolibert, A., Meissner, H. in: Journal of Marketing, Bd. 52, 1988, pp. 49-92
69 Campbell uses McGuire’s definition of similarity: „ Presumably the receiver, to the extent that he perceives
the source to be like himself in diverse characteristics, assumes that they also share common needs and goals.
The receiver might therefore conclude that what the source is urging is good for „our kind of people,“ and thus
change his attitude accordingly.“
distance. [They] feel a personal relationship might interfere with the performance of [their] job.” 70
Finally, strategic approaches are not the same. While German and British negotiators use a distributive or instrumental one, Americans employ a problem-solving approach 71 . When these two styles clash in a negotiation, Americans might get the impression that the interlocutor is not really interested in the own needs. And, viceversa, Germans or British could think that the negotiation becomes too detailed and thus, too long.
In conclusion we can say that negotiations in the above mentioned western cultures seem to proceed differently. Strategies in proceeding vary and aspects like role or similarity are valued differently. It is therefore necessary that one is aware of these differences in order to lead a trouble free conversation and, moreover, to achieve a high individual profit
After having defined the term ‘culture’ we categorised cultural variables, such as individualism-collectivism, low- and high context communication, uncertainty avoidance and power distance, in order to explain cultural differences concerning shared assumptions about values and worldviews. Considering these variables, we turned to explain different verbal communication styles, distinguishing between the direct-indirect, the elaborate-exacting-succinct, the personal-contextual and the instrumental-affective style and assigned them to specific cultures. We learned that there are significant differences in the use of language. Silence can be seen as a part of verbal communication and we saw that cultures use it to a different extent as a rhetorical tool. Furthermore it was shown that the length of pauses between the change of speakers differ between cultures. The example of the Athabaskan and the English speaker revealed that different assumptions about length of a pause at TRP’s could lead to disturbances as each speaker could interpret it negatively. Negative feelings about one’s interlocutor could moreover be stretched on the whole
70 Campbell, N.C.G., Graham, J., Jolibert, A., Meissner, H., p. 53
71 Campbell defines the problem-solving approach „as a set of negotiation behaviours that are co-operative,
integrative and information-exchange-orientated.“
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