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Divergent Cultural Characteristics

Communities have certain cultures that are different from those of other communities. So, it is not unusual to observe that people from different communities have divergent cultural characteristics such as distinct values and behaviours in some areas. 

What are Divergent Cultural Characteristics?

  • Individualist vs Collectivist
  • Explicit rule vs Implicit rule
  • Uncertainty- accepting vs Uncertainty-rejecting
  • Time Orientation (monochronic vs polychronic, short term vs long term)
  • Masculine vs Feminine Orientation
  • Direct vs Indirect
  • Materialism vs Relationships
  • Low-power vs High-power Distance

Deep Dive into Divergent Cultural Characteristics

Individualistic versus Collectivist Cultures

In individualistic cultures, there is great emphasis on self. The focus is on individuals and their unique traits. Such a culture produces individuals that are self-dependent and seek to conquer situations on their own. Seeking help from others is usually not an option. It is a different scenario for people who grew up in a collectivist culture. They are raised to believe in the power of togetherness and having a close-knit people. In this culture, there is a strong emphasis on sharing and also considering the needs of others before decisions are made (01)

Explicit-Rule Cultures versus Implicit-Rule Cultures

A key difference between the two cultures is that while the clarity of the former value, the latter is based on careful observation. In explicit-rule culture, rules and guidelines to be followed are clearly stated. There is usually no room for personal interpretations or misunderstandings. On the other hand, in implicit-rule cultures, the rules and guidelines are simply known without being said directly. People involved understanding from cues, tones, and body language, what is to be done and how it is to be done (01). To fit into such a culture will require patience and close observation of the behaviour of the community. It also helps to ask questions.

Short-Term versus Long-Term Orientation

In short-term orientation, there is the expectation of immediate results and in the case that it does not happen, disappointment follows. The focus is usually on the past and presents more than it is on the future. Traditions are esteemed and maintained and culture of reciprocity is observed. There is also more focus on personal traits. The same cannot be said of a community with a long-term orientation. In such a community, value is placed on persistence and perseverance. There is a focus on the future and goals are for the long run. The action of an individual is seen to transcend that individual and affects the present family members and many generations (01).

Read more about Civilization, Culture and Belief.


(01) 2020. Intercultural and International Business Communication. Retrieved on 30 December 2020 from (URL)