Communication styles as dimensions of national culture

  • Smith P
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Abstract

Evidence is presented that national cultures may be distinguished in terms of prevalent styles of communication, as exemplified by survey response styles. A distinction is made between the average communication style within a given nation and the nation-level dispersion of communication styles. Secondary analyses of published values, beliefs, and personality data are used to test hypotheses concerning the attributes of nations that differ in terms of their citizens’ tendencies to agree and to disagree, and in terms of frequency of response extremity versus moderation. The tendency of individuals in different nations to agree or disagree is most concisely explained by measures derived from the concept of individualism-collectivism. The nation-level frequencies of agreement plus disagreement are best explained by Minkov’s dimension of monumentalism-flexumility. The benefits of controlling these response tendencies for extracting valid measures of cultural variation and for defining a fuller range of cultural dimensions are discussed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Acquiescence
  • Communication
  • National Culture
  • Response Style
  • World Values Survey

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