High Context – Low Context

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The American anthropologist Edward T. Hall (1914-2009) developed the concept of „social cohesion“. One of his less known social theories involves the distinction between „high context culture“ and „low context culture“. Hall observes a difference between Southern and Eastern cultures/nations on one hand and Northern and Western cultures/nations on the other hand when it gets to bonding.

Within regions that exhibit high context cultures – regions in the South and in the East of this planet- businesses are likely to be structured via cliques or families. The chapters about the Catholic Church and about the Sizilian Mafia in Gisela Schmalz´s book: Cliquenwirtschaft (October 2014) document that Hall is quite right about Southern Europe. Thanks to tight and long-term personal relationships businesses in Italy do flourish – or not.