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The influence of culture on information overload

Wiley-IEEE Press
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  • Communication
  • Linguistics
  • Literature


9348 209..213 3GCH05 07/27/2012 1:49:47 Page 79 5 THE INFLUENCE OF CULTURE ON INFORMATION OVERLOAD JAN M. ULIJN and JUDITH B. STROTHER ABSTRACT Too often, all communication genres are analyzed without recognizing the unavoidable impact of a communicator’s cultural framework on producing, receiving, or attempting to comprehend the document. Differing cultural preferences, varying rhetorical styles and discourse patterns, in addition to linguistic elements, can easily cause information overload. This chapter analyzes the impact of culture on information overload, primarily using Hall’s high context versus low context model. We demonstrate that high and low context cultures correlate with typical discourse styles, using Kaplan’s model as an example. Hinds’ theory of Reader versus Writer Responsibility for comprehension provides further insights into possible causes of cross-cultural information overload. A shared professional and/or corporate culture may mitigate the cross-cultural issues in some cases, although it does not eliminate them. Cases from specific cultures—Latin American, Japanese, Chinese, and others—are used to demonstrate the issues discussed in this chapter. With so many textual elements acting as potential problems for international communicators, translating documents from one language to another is often not enough. Localization, or making a This dominance of technology over culture is an illusion. The software of the machines may be globalized, but the software of the minds that use them is not. Geert Hofstede Mechanical Engineer and Social Psychologist 79 Information Overload: An International Challenge for Professional Engineers and Technical Communicators, First Edition. Edited by Judith B. Strother, Jan Ulijn, Zohra Fazal. � 2012 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Published 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 3GCH05 07/27/2012 1:49:47 Page 80 product linguistically and culturally appropriate for the target audience, makes an important c

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