CHAPTER 3

Culture and Communication: Flexing Across Styles

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

—AMERICAN PROVERB

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know.

—CHINESE PROVERB

Don’t beat around the bush.

—ESTONIAN PROVERB

As these proverbs so aptly show, there are a myriad of styles and manners in which people build trust, relate to one another, and communicate their needs and expectations. We find it helpful to apply insights from social psychology and anthropology—the notion that we have communication styles that might differ from our coworkers—to the business world. We borrow the styles and dimensions researched by various cultural anthropologists, such as Edward Hall and Geert Hofstede, who identified recognizable patterns ...

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