Die Bedeutung von High Context Cultures vs. Low Context Cultures im interkulturellen Training
Burkert, Anna Kristin
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This thesis discusses the importance and role of Edward T. Hall’s cultural dimension High-Context-Communication and Low-Context-Communication and its impact in the intercultural training. In the first chapter of my thesis, I provide a discussion of the terms culture, interculturality and intercultural communication. Especially interculturality is a term that I replace with transculturality. Transculturality implies that cultures not only consist of their original systems of norms and traditions but are constantly changing and include a mix of cultural traits, influenced by their individuals’ diverse cultural backgrounds. In the second chapter of my main part I introduce cultural theories by Alexander Thomas and Edward T. Hall. The focus, however, lies on Hall’s dimension of High-Context- and Low-Context-Communication. In inter-views with two intercultural trainers which were conducted beforehand, I address the problem of teaching Hall’s cultural dimension. In my thesis, I give a summary of the trainers’ teaching experience. Furthermore, a survey among five university students takes a closer look at their expectations before transcultural training and their experience afterwards. The last chapter introduces three approaches for dealing with High-Context-Communication and Low-Context-Communication in transcultural training. My analysis shows that the engagement with linguistic transcripts of authentic conversations is highly beneficial for students and enables them to improve their skills. Students can reconstruct High-Context sequences and understand their preference organisation. The second recommendation is the teaching of contextualization clues that are typical of certain cultures and languages. The third approach suggests combining Hall’s communication dimensions with Hofstede’s cultural dimensions and Thomas’ Kulturstandards. Teaching this combination facilitates transcultural learning. I conclude that Hall’s dimension of High-Context- and Low-Context-Communication has been included into transcultural training, but the training would highly benefit from a more diverse focus on this dimension.