Individual Cultural Variables
INDIVIDUAL CULTURAL VARIABLES INDIVIDUAL CULTURAL VARIABLES
The individual cultural variables are following
- Acceptable dress
- Decision making
Time is also an important factor in communication. For example, Germans are time-precise; rarely do you wait for an appointment in Germany. In Latin American cultures- you may wait an hour; your host is not showing disrespect thereby, same is the example here in Pakistan. Just reflecting a different concept of time; arriving late is a socially accepted custom here in our country.
How close may a stranger stand to you?
What does it feel like when you are crowded? For example, most Americans feel uncomfortable if a stranger comes closer than 18 inches. So body languages depend on communication in which culture you are. Americans demand more room buffer space between themselves and others when speaking. To some other cultures (Arabs, Latin Americans), Americans who do not stand close seem cold and aloof. Conversely, some cultures consider those who stand close to you as intrusive, rude, pushy, and overbearing. Concepts of office space differ. In third-world countries, several people occupy the same office, even the same desk. Furniture is arranged according to alleged mystic powers. In Germany one’s door is often closed; you knock before entering the room. You cannot assume that a western concept of space is accepted and understood throughout the world.
It may be a good idea prior to visiting your host country to visit various ethnic restaurants in your home country. Then you’ll have an initial idea as to the kinds of food available: how they are served, fix, or eaten. it is used to be that only the tourists in London or Tokyo would rush off to the ubiquitous McDonald’s or that those in Beijing would other a domino’s pizza or a meal at Kentucky fried chicken. But now the natives in those countries also frequent such places. When we got off the beaten path, however, the food and its preparation—will vary. Pork is forbidden in Middle Eastern countries but is a path of the Asian diet and that of many other countries; beef is hard to find in India; veal is plentiful in Europe; rice is eve-present in Hong Kong and China.
The dress also has value in communication. When u have a good dress then the sound will be clear. So, it’s very important when you are communicating in front of a gathering, your dress should be perfect. It is better to ask about the mode of dress for an occasion in your host country than to risk making an embarrassing mistake. In the Middle East, long cotton coats are acceptable. In some situations, you may see the Hawaiian muumuu, the Polynesian sarong, the Japanese kimono, the Iranian chador, or the Mao dark-blue jacket and pants.
Manners also have value in communication. So, you should be aware of the manners of the culture to whom you are communicating. Some cultural anthologists suggest that you observe children in foreign cultures because by watching them you learn the behavioral habits of elders. Children shake your hand in Germany, hug you in Italy, and often stay in the background in India. In fact, the ritual of the greeting and the farewell is more formal overseas with children and adults. You bring a gift when visiting most homes in Europe. If you bring flowers, you avoid gifts of Red Roses in Germany France, Belgium, and Japan. In Saudi Arabia, you will learn that the junior prince is silent when a senior enters.
Patience above all is needed in intercultural communication, in doing business with other countries. Americans are typecast as moving too quickly in asking for a decision. give more thought to communication. Americans are accused of (blame) being quick; “we wish to get to the point fast.” When one reaches Japan, decision time is held back as group consensus (compromise) moves toward a decision. As you can imagine much time is spent in reaching an answer. Thus patience-and your understanding of the decision process-adds to your success in dealing with a foreign environment.
Regardless of culture, a kind of verbal communication (body language) occurs when strangers meet, each seeking to determine which topics are acceptable and non-controversial (not in). Additionally, the tone of voice of one’s initial words can influence your initial perception of whether the meeting is positive or negative. We judge people to a great extent by their voice. Some native languages demand many tonal variations, giving the impression to a non-native of loudness, even superiority.
Many nonverbal symbols exist for every culture, even in subcultures. Knowing the major desirable and undesirable cues (signs) helps to know both intended and unintended communication errors. For example, a handshake is a traditional form of greeting in the west.