Monday, 21 March 2011

Saving Face In High-Context Cultures

High-context cultures refers to a culture's tendency to use high context messages over low context messages in routine communication. In a high context culture, many things are left unsaid, letting the culture explain. Words and word choice become very important in higher context communication, since a few words can communicate a complex message very effectively to an in-group (but less effectively outside that group).

In these cultures saving face is very important. A refusal is a potential loss of face for both parties.  For example: To save face, a person who must refuse an invitation to dine out with a business associate might say "You must be very tired and want to have a quiet evening" this subtle refusal avoids putting it in words.

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