Cross-cultural communication is a field of study composed of two streams: (i) cross-cultural comparisons of how individuals from one culture communicate differently than those from another culture and (ii) communication dynamics involving interactions of people from different cultures. The critical difference between the two streams is that the former does not necessarily involve interactions among members from different cultures whereas the latter does. Nevertheless, cross-cultural communication and intercultural communication are often used interchangeably, partly because intercultural communication is fraught with cross-cultural communication differences and assumes such differences as given. Therefore, cultural differences are the dominating frameworks, such as Hofstede’s national culture dimensions (Hofstede 1980, cited under Hofstede’s National Cultural Dimensions and Communication), for studying both cross-cultural communication differences and intercultural communication dynamics. Many references included here adopt the term “intercultural communication,” yet the content is primarily about cross-cultural differences in communication; a few, however, are exclusively devoted to interactions of people from different cultures. The bibliography that we have built therefore centers around how various cultural dimensions affect and account for between culture communication differences and inter-cultural communication dynamics and how cross-cultural or intercultural communication competence affects intercultural-communication effectiveness.
This section featured some noticeable review articles and books on cross-cultural communication. Gudykunst 2003 initiates scholarly dialogue on cross-cultural communication. Lewis 2010 explicitly provides theoretical framework to study the subject. Ting-Toomey 2010 reviews dominant conceptual and theoretical work on cross-cultural communication, whereas Merkin, et al. 2014 and Taras, et al. 2010 take an empirical approach to show the implications of cross-cultural communication. Lastly, Smith 2011 offers a refreshing perspective to study communication as a key cultural dimension.
Gudykunst, William B., ed. Cross-Cultural and Intercultural Communication. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE, 2003.
This book offers a comprehensive, theoretical review of cross-cultural communication. Notably, the topics include languages, nonverbal communication, expression and perception of emotion, cognition and affect, and face concerns, among other topics. Also see Edited Volumes.
Lewis, R. D. When Cultures Collide: Leading across Cultures. 3d ed. Boston: Nicholas Brealey, 2010.
The three-part book reviews various frameworks in cross-cultural management. In chapter 5, “Bridging the Communication,” the author provides various communication patterns across cultures (e.g., Italian, Finnish, German, French, English, Swedish, Spanish, American) and other communication patterns that are relevant in management context (e.g., listening habit and listener attention span).
Merkin, Rebecca, Vas Taras, and Piers Steel. “State of the Art Themes in Cross-Cultural Communication Research: A Systematic and Meta-Analytic Review.” International Journal of Intercultural Relations 38.Suppl. C (2014): 1–23.
This recent meta-analysis contains sixty empirical publications and extensively reviewed and tested the cross-cultural effect, in terms of Hofstede’s national cultural dimensions, on various communication patterns. Also see Hofstede’s National Cultural Dimensions and Communication.
Smith, Peter B. “Communication Styles as Dimensions of National Culture.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 42.2 (2011): 216–233.
The author proposes national cultures could be distinguished according to the styles of communication (high/low of agreement/disagreement): extremity culture, consensus culture, dissent culture, and moderate culture. In the process of theorizing the framework, the author also thoroughly reviews national level predictors that affect communicative behavior.
Taras, Vas, Bradley L. Kirkman, and Piers Steel. “Examining the Impact of Culture’s Consequences: A Three-Decade, Multilevel, Meta-Analytic Review of Hofstede’s Cultural Value Dimensions.” Journal of Applied Psychology 95.3 (2010): 405–439.
This review mainly focuses on the effects of Hofstede’s cultural value dimensions in a management context. Pages 416 and 420 each feature a table providing the main effect of communication patterns and individualism and uncertainty avoidance.
Ting-Toomey, Stella. “Applying Dimensional Values in Understanding Intercultural Communication.” Communication Monographs 77.2 (2010): 169–180.
A comprehensive review of both distinctive as well as dimensional value framework for cross-cultural communication studies. The author argues in cross-cultural communication studies treating cultural values such as individualism and collectivism as continuous dimensions would facilitate theoretical interpretation of cross-cultural differences. Also see Hofstede’s National Cultural Dimensions and Communication.
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