Edited by Lieven Buysse, Karoline Claes and Erwin Snauwaert
[ITL - International Journal of Applied Linguistics 161] 2011
► pp. 68–89
A Comparison of Mexican and US American Students’ Perceptions of High-Low Context Business Communication Style
Cross-cultural studies (Hofstede, 1984, 1991, 2001; Hall, 1959, 1976) posit that Mexico is a more collectivistic and high context culture than the United States of America and therefore it could be claimed that Mexicans will communicate and perceive professional communication in a different way than US Americans. In contrast, professional communication and social (psychology) studies argue that in order to communicate in a truly intercultural way it is necessary to go beyond the frame of cultural dimensions, since shared professional and educational frameworks could override the impact of cultural differences in professional settings. While empirical evidence so far has shown mixed results, the results of this article provide additional evidence to support the view that the two cited cultural dimensions have been overridden, since the Mexican (N=280) and US American (N=300) student samples showed a rather similar perception of professional dialogues in a monocultural as well as in an intercultural communication setting. A shared framework of knowledge and skills, the impact of the new media and technologies, the virtual and real intercultural encounters between Mexicans and US Americans, their shared educational level, and the fact that nearly all of the Mexican participants reported to speak English as a foreign language and that a majority of the US American participants reported to speak Spanish as a foreign language, could explain, at least for the studied samples, the observed convergence.