David Livermore

“A low-context culture is a place where little is left to assumption so things are spelled out explicitly. In contrast, high-context cultures are places where people have significant history together and so a great deal of understanding can be assumed. Things operate in high-context cultures as if everyone there is an insider and knows how to behave. Written instructions and explicit directions are minimal because most people know what to do and how to think. Our families are probably the most tangible examples we have of high-context environments. After years of being together, we know what the unspoken rules are of what to eat, how to celebrate holidays, and how to communicate with each other. Many of our workplaces are the same. We know when to submit check requests, how to publicize an event, and how to dress on “casual” Fridays. New employees joining these kinds of organizations can really feel lost without adequate orientation. And many religious services are also very high context. People routinely stand, bow, or recite creeds that appear very foreign and confusing to someone just joining a religious community for the first time. Discerning whether a culture provides direct and explicit communication versus one that assumes a high degree of shared understanding is a strategic point of knowledge. And leaders need to bear in mind the areas of their own organizational and national culture that are high context and how that affects outsiders when they enter. Table”


David Livermore, Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success
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Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success Leading with Cultural Intelligence: The New Secret to Success by David Livermore
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