Cultural Profile: Edward T. Hall

Matthew MacLachlan

30 Nov 2009

Name: Edward T. Hall

Nationality: US American

Born: May 16, 1914 in Webster Groves, Missouri, USA

Known For: One of the founding fathers of Intercultural Communication

Key Cultural Concepts: space (proxemics), time (chronemics), high context, low context

Key Publications:

  • The Silent Language (1959). New York: Doubleday & Co.
  • The Hidden Dimension (1969). New York: Doubleday & Co
  • Beyond Culture (1976). Anchor Books
  • The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time (1983). New York: Doubleday & Co.
  • Understanding Cultural Differences – Germans, French and Americans (1990). Maine: Intercultural Press

Edward T. Hall, a respected anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher with a PhD from Columbia University, is often recognised as one of the founding fathers of intercultural communication. Hall developed a number of cross-cultural concepts which have become integral to any cross-cultural training discussion about cultural differences. His concepts include proxemics, monochronic and polychronic, and high context and low context.

Hall worked extensively with the military and the U.S. Foreign Service Institute in the 1950s training government personnel to become more effective communicators in cross-cultural interactions. This experience and research helped validate a number of important cultural concepts, all of which anyone doing business with another culture needs to be familiar with.

Many of Hall’s theories are widely used in cross-cultural training programmes such as Doing Business in the Middle East and Living and Working in France to improve understanding of communication styles and how people build relationships in that culture. Cross-cultural training applies each theory to a practical context to help you be more effective in cross-cultural interactions.



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