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Indian Cultural Values & Communication

Office of International Services September 2010

Quick facts Overview of US and Indian Cultural Values Student panel Q & A

Quick facts:

State Indian students: ~700 (30% of international student population) Population of India: 1,173,108,018 (July 2010) Religions: 80% Hindu, 13.5% Muslim, 2% Christian, 2% Sikh Worlds largest democracy Languages: Hindi (national language 41%); 14 official languages; over 100 languages spoken 28 states and 7 territories

Henderson, C.E. (2002) Culture and Customs of India. Westport: Greenwood Press

Cultural Values
Individualistic Privacy valued Competition valued Individuals praised Loyalty to self

Collectivist Identifies self within a more important group(s) Group decision making Individual praise is uncomfortable even shameful Group welfare is goal

Application: How team work is approached, how life decisions are made (whom to marry, which school to attend, where to live?), how view of self is influenced, when/how individuals lose face/are shamed

v Universalism s Egalitarian Fairness above all Comfortable working in absolutes Seen as legalistic

Particularism Favoritism based on ingroup Goal is group harmony Exceptions are the norm Its who you know Hierarchical society

Application: How one gets a job/promotion, how deals are made and with whom, consequences when rules are broken, which relationships are valued over others, the value of the team

Monochronic Time is money Punctual Values time, appointments, or productivity over people


Polychronic Relationships and spontaneity are drivers of ones time

Application: When a guest arrives at a hosts house for dinner/party, when to arrive at a meeting, how emergencies are handled and what constitutes an emergency; how much small talk takes place at the beginning of a conversation

Direct Communication One means what one says Do not keep ones feelings to oneself (positive or negative) Little guessing of anothers meaning


Indirect Communication What is said is not necessarily what one means One must infer meaning Saving face is valued Third party/liaison used to communicate information

Application: How a manager motivates or enables change within the work place; how to correct someone; how to say no; how to communicate bad news

Low Power Distance People are more or less equal or deserve to be treated equally


High Power Distance Rigid hierarchies Status matters

Application: Degree of formality or informality that is easily established within the workplace, classroom, etc.; when to address someone by first name; how to greet another person

vs Low Uncertainty High Uncertainty Avoidance Risk averse Avoidance Differences within or Comfortable with risk outside groups not easily Differences among tolerated individuals and Conformity is comfortable groups more easily tolerated Less regulation/control over lifes situations Application: How one views people/positions of authority; how many

times one asks/rephrases a question; how readily someone accepts something as fact; how quickly one tolerates outsiders or situations that challenge the status quo; loyalty to tradition vs desire for innovation

Indian Value and Communication Styles Indian time vs American time

Many are native English speakers (British) Defined gender roles Highly bureaucratic system of government Hierarchical; Status matters Body language May not say no directly; need to infer Titles are important Less touching among people, especially Sources: Storti, Craig. Figuring Foreigners Out, 1999 between genders Bennett, Milton. Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication, 19
Henderson, C.E. Culture and Customs of India, 2002.

OIS Programs http://www.ncsu.edu/ois/program s/

International Friendship Program: Yearlong match Breaking Bread: One-time dinner hosting English Conversation Club: Be a weekly conversation partner -Tuesdays, & Thursdays, 3:30pm, College of Textiles, Port City Java -Fridays, 3:30pm, Daniels Hall Culture Corps: Request a culturespecific presentation

Student Panel