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Desert Highway
Thoughtful writing authored and shared by members of of the Thinking Collaborative community to support others on the journey.

Sustaining the Journey

Cultural Communication Patterns 2

Authored By:

Thinking Collaborative


August 11, 2014

This month we are exploring cultural orientations in an effort to better understand ourselves and become more conscious and flexible in working in diverse settings. Rosinski offers a framework for looking at our cultural orientations. Additional dimensions of Communication Patterns are Affective/Neutral and Formal/Informal.

The affective pattern is one of warmth, relationship and social connections while the neutral pattern relies on distance and precision in communications. Sometimes people actually state that they dislike “touchy-feely” interactions.

Closely connected is the formal pattern that relies on common protocols and ritual whereas the informal pattern embraces a more extemporaneous and less rigid pattern. It is easy to see the formal pattern when one watches royalty in Great Britain. Recently we have begun to see the informal pattern in US presidents appearing in jeans and shirtsleeves.

When do you feel most natural and comfortable? What might you say about your co-workers in a group you are a part of? How have these patterns affected trust building? What might you need to be attentive to in a coaching conversation with a new member of group?

Source: Rosinski, P. (2003). Coaching across cultures: new tools for leveraging national, corporate and professional differences. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

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