Members from different cultures differ in the way they communicate their thoughts and feelings with one another. One of these differences involves the use of indirectness in their speech. A study conducted by Thomas Holtgraves investigated this difference and compared two cultures, Korea and the United States. Following is a discussion of the findings of this study, as well as the issues that arise as a result of members of the two cultures interacting. Important implications for members are also described and discussed. Finally, these implications and issues are applied to the multicultural context of Canadian society and recommendations are made that will help overcome any problems that may arise.
Cultures vary a great deal in their values, beliefs, and practices, yet there are still universal aspects that certain cultures share with each other. These universals are used to divide cultures into two main types of cultures, collectivistic (emphasizing group connectedness), and individualistic (emphasizing individual autonomy) (Holtgraves, 1997). Members of collectivistic cultures are more concerned for the feelings, needs, and wants, or the face (identity) of fellow group members. Therefore it is assumed that members of such cultures are more likely to use
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