Cultural Variations In Non-verbal Communications Introduction Consumer Behaviour

In a culture we have many variations in non-verbal communications. Each culture assigns a meaning to non-verbal signs utilized by it. There are some variables in non-verbal communication.
These are:

  • Use of time
  • Use of space
  • Friendship
  • Agreements
  • Things
  • Symbols
  • Etiquette


Time is a resource which is distributed equally amongst everybody. Every person has the same amount of time at his disposal. What view individuals and societies take of time makes them different. Some can be classified under monochronic culture and others in polychronic culture.

Some of the important differences between monochronic and polychronic culture are given in the table below:


The meaning of time may be different in different cultures. Some people take time in making decisions according to the importance of decisions. Some insist on coming to the point directly in business transactions and are well prepared. Some keep appointments by the minute, others make people wait for a long time.

Space may be related to prestige rather than the need. The higher the office, the bigger the office space and so on. Americans have the offices of executives on the top floor and tend to separate the office of subordinates whereas, the French like to put the executives in the midst of subordinates. Japanese have their discount stores on the upper floor. Some cultures and individuals maintain a fair distance while interacting with associates. Arabs stand very close to each other. This is known as the personal distance maintained by the people.

Friendship plays an important role in business transactions. Good personal relationship and feelings matter most in a long-term agreement. Social contacts developed by parties gain priority over technical specifications. Americans make friends easily, and drop them easily as well, because of both social and geographical mobility. Some cultures like Indian or Latin Americans have lasting relationships that endure for a long time and so does the business.Personal ties, personal trust leads to cooperation and a lot of transaction can take place between parties. Some want to transact business only with those whom they get along and,making money is secondary. Some try to develop mutual confidence and trust, so that a lasting business results.

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