Saving Face |
By: Francine D. Kemp |
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Within the last nine years, more than 310,000,000 people migrated daily to new points on the globe. (Kemp 2009) Why are so many people migrating? In a world where culture understanding may become more important than actual communication, “Saving Face” by Francine Kemp tries to help us understand conflict in multicultural organizations. To obtain a better understanding of what Kemp ...view middle of the document...
High Context groups are very collective and interdependent societies, often hierarchical and highly traditional. Edward Halls’ work, which also studies cross cultural communication, defines low context cultures as needing more explanation with less chance of misinterpretation. Hall defines high context cultures as a group of people who understand the rules and as a result there is room for error. (Raimo)
Factor | High-context culture
| Low-context culture
Overtness of messages | Many covert and implicit messages, with use of metaphor and reading between the lines. | Many overt and explicit messages that are simple and clear.
Locus of control and attribution for failure | Inner locus of control and personal acceptance for
failure | Outer locus of control and blame of others for failure |
Use of non-verbal communication | Much nonverbal communication | More focus on verbal communication than body language |
Expression of reaction | Reserved, inward reactions | Visible, external, outward reaction |
Cohesion and separation of groups | Strong distinction between in-group and out-group. Strong sense of family. | Flexible and open grouping patterns, changing as needed |
People bonds | Strong people bonds with affiliation to family and community | Fragile bonds between people with little sense of loyalty. |
Level of commitment to relationships | High commitment to long-term relationships.
Relationship more important than task. | Low commitment to relationship. Task more important than relationships. |
Flexibility of time
| Time is open and flexible.
Process is more important than product | Time is highly organized.
Product is more important than process |
Table Source: http://changingminds.org/explanations/culture/hall_culture.htm
Kemp states “There is no country that is excluded from the need for more cultural understanding.” (Kemp 2009) Increasing globalization of organizations makes Kemp’s statement more important than before. In today’s business world, managers and leaders are faced with understanding people from different cultures. This includes but is not limited to: Values, beliefs, attitudes, religion, history, political systems, ethic subcultures and language. Leaders today face cultures within cultures in their workforce. In order to address clear message leaders must make sure that they are able to effectively communicate with all cultures within the organization.
So is it possible if people disagree this could actually help an organization? In some cultures handling a disagreement must be done in a way that the individual will still retain his position of authority and respect among co workers and/or peers. This tactic of communication could be viewed as “saving face.” An American idiom, save face means to preserve one`s good reputation or dignity when something has happened to hurt it. http://www.americanidioms.net/save-face/ Different cultures may prefer an eye to...