Understanding Cultural Dimensions

Understanding Cultural Dimensions

Week 1, DQ 2

Why is it important to understand the cultural dimensions of group members? How does this affect group communication?

There can be many diverse cultures represented in a group. Understanding the cultural dimensions of group members is vitally important for the success of the group. Culture is connected to an individual’s beliefs, values, interpretation, and behaviors. Understanding one’s culture is critical to effective communication. Additionally, an individual’s cultural background can affect group communication especially if individuals are demographically located in different parts of the world, and in today’s global environment, cultural differences are increasing the diversity of groups.

In the textbook Working in Groups. Communication Principles and Strategies authors Isa Engleberg and Dianna Wynn (2007) says,

We owe a great deal to a psychologist and an anthropologist for identifying several significant dimensions of culture. Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede’s groundbreaking research on cultural characteristics has transformed our understanding of others. He defines an intercultural dimension as “an aspect of a culture that can be measured relative to other cultures.

Hofstede’s research identifies four dimensions that distinguish cultural groups, and adds that when these groups interact they must find ways to negotiate the dialectic tensions that most likely accompany cultural interactions (Engleberg and Wynn, p. 74, 2007). Hofstede mentions masculinity and feminism, high and low context of conveying messages, monochronic and polychronic time as it relates to how people view the importance of time.

All of these dimensions affect group communication in how information and messages are conveyed and received. The potential for misunderstandings increases as well as biases, prejudices and other issues that can become barriers to effective group communication. What may be the norm in one country or one...

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