Cultural Variations in Politeness Strategies Used in Email Communication

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Being polite is important for creating and sustaining successful professional relationships. Because politeness norms vary across cultures, cultural differences in the communication of politeness may create misunderstanding. Individuals in East Asian cultures tend to use more high-context communication styles that are based on relational concerns and politeness principles, while people in Western cultures tend to use more low-context communication styles that entail being more open and precise. This study of email communication shows how cultural differences exist in the linguistic expression of politeness regarding face concerns. While members of East Asian societies tend to use more apology expressions, members of Western societies tend to use more gratitude expressions. Since communication styles and politeness strategies vary from culture to culture, it is important for business professionals to enhance their understanding of these cultural norms as they communicate with others in a globalized world.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntercultural Communication for the Global Business Professional
EditorsMara K. Berkland, Amy Grim Buxbaum
ISBN (Electronic)9781003298199
ISBN (Print)9781032285399
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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