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Context-dependent vs. content-dependent: an exploration of the cultural behavioural patterns of online intercultural communication using e-mail


  • Norhayati Zakaria
  • Derrick L. Cogburn


The purpose of this study was to explore the cultural behavioural patterns of online intercultural communication in a globally distributed collaborative environment. We conducted a qualitative content analysis on the data drawn from a public e-mail archive of the trans-national civil society participants in the UN World Summit on the Information Society. The findings showed that there were no significant differences observed between the frequency of contributions between high and low-context participants in the collaborative processes. But, importantly, the findings suggest that culture matters in the form of intercultural communication styles and the cultural values to which participants subscribe. Based on Edward Hall's high and low-context theory, distinctive patterns of high-context and low-context cultural behaviours were evident in the strategies, approaches and communicative mannerisms of people participating in the distributed collaboration under analysis. In summary, online cultural behavioural patterns can be illustrated as context-dependent or content-dependent.

Suggested Citation

  • Norhayati Zakaria & Derrick L. Cogburn, 2010. "Context-dependent vs. content-dependent: an exploration of the cultural behavioural patterns of online intercultural communication using e-mail," International Journal of Business and Systems Research, Inderscience Enterprises Ltd, vol. 4(3), pages 330-347.
  • Handle: RePEc:ids:ijbsre:v:4:y:2010:i:3:p:330-347

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