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Dimensions of Intercultural

Nonverbal Communication

Dimension One Extreme The Other Extreme

1. CONTEXT1 Low Context High Context

Core Value Freedom of speech, directness Silence, indirectness
Nonverbal Traits Literal meaning, specific Information in the physical context,
details, precise time schedules or internalized in the person
Typical Cultures Swiss, German, North American. China, Japan, Korea

2. IDENTITY2 Individualism Collectivism

Core Value Individual freedom Group harmony
Nonverbal Traits Proximally distant, different Proximally close, coordinated
schedules, expressive of facial expressions and body
emotions movements
Typical Cultures U. S., Australia, Great Britain. Venezuela, Colombia, Pakistan

3. POWER DISTANCE3 Low Power Distance High Power Distance

Core Value People’s equality Respect for status
Nonverbal Traits Located at high latitudes, Located near the equator,
more tactile, relaxing and untouchable, regulated
clear vocalic cues nonverbal displays
Typical Cultures Austria, Israel, Denmark Philippines, Mexico, Venezuela

4. GENDER4 Femininity Masculinity

Core Value Caring for others Material success
Nonverbal Traits Relaxed and coordinated High level of stress, loud,
vocal patterns, nurturing aggressive
Typical Cultures Sweden, Norway, Netherlands. Japan, Austria, Venezuela

5. UNCERTAINTY5 Uncertainty Avoidance Uncertainty Tolerance

Core Value Certainty, what is different Exploration, what is different
is dangerous causes curiosity
Nonverbal Traits More emotional displays, More positive and friendly
higher level of anxiety to strangers
Typical Cultures Greece, Portugal, Belgium Singapore, Denmark, Sweden

6. IMMEDIACY6 Low Contact High Contact

Core Value Certainty, what is different Exploration, what is different
is dangerous causes curiosity
Nonverbal Traits Located in cooler climates, Located in warmer countries nearer
stand apart and touch less, the equator, stand closer together
stay “cool” and touch more, expressive
Typical Cultures Japan, China, Korea North Africa, France, Brazil
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The degree to which communication is explicit and verbal or implicit and nonverbal.

The degree that society reinforces individual or collective achievement and interpersonal

The degree of equality or inequality between people in the country or society.

The degree of traditional gender role of achievement, control, and power.

The degree of avoidance or tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity within the society.

The degree of closeness, intimacy, and availability for communication.

Andersen, Peter A. & Wang, Hua (2009). Beyond Language: Nonverbal Communication Across
Cultures. In Larry A. Samovar, Richard E. Porter, Edwin R. McDaniel (Eds.), Intercultural
Communication: A Reader (12th Edition). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, pp. 264-281.

Summary Compilation by Ron Compton

Intercultural Communication
McHenry County College