Loading
Notes d'étude
Study Reminders
Support
Text Version

Set your study reminders

We will email you at these times to remind you to study.
  • Monday

    -

    7am

    +

    Tuesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Wednesday

    -

    7am

    +

    Thursday

    -

    7am

    +

    Friday

    -

    7am

    +

    Saturday

    -

    7am

    +

    Sunday

    -

    7am

    +

Chronemics
Welcome dear participants, in today’s module we shall discuss Chronemics which is a studyof time in the context of nonverbal communication. Chronemics is a subcategory of nonverbal aspectsof communication which has emerged as the studies in this field broadened.Conventionally time has been treated as an abstract concept and it is in this contextthat linguistically we have responded to this idea, representing it in different idiomsand phrases for example, quality time or time and tide wait for none.However, we find that as studies in the field of nonverbal aspects of communication is startedto broaden their perspective, in the areas of organizational behavior, business communicationas well as an anthropology people started to study the dimensions of time in particularcontexts. A communication based a study of time is dependent on how people in differentcultures in different work cultures perceive and structure time in their interactions withother in their dialogues as well as in their relationships with others. In the area ofcommunication we also study how in different ways people respond to it and thereby whattype of nonverbal messages they try to communicate with it.Our values in the context of time are reflected in our attitudes as well as in other aspectsof nonverbal communication. And these can be understood in terms of how do we spendour time, do we waste it, do we keep on postponing things, are we able to utilize the time toits maximum. There are of course, individual variations in the way we respond to our understandingof time and evaluate. But at the same time we find that the culturalimpact on this aspect of NVC is also valuable.As human beings we have a complex temporal identity, which is constructed at differentlevels at personal as well as social, cultural and professional levels. All types of verbalmessages as well as nonverbal messages have their own temporalities. They have a pointof beginning and a point at which they end. There has been something happening beforethat point and there would of course, something else would take place after that.So, our communication, in the context of time or in the context of the larger phenomenaof nonverbal aspects of communication, is not outside the context. Chronemics ask fora more dynamic way of studying our professional interactions with emotional understandingsand connotations which we have individually, socially and culturally with time. Studiesof chronemics have developed from interdisciplinary literature on time and they have been alsosupported by researchers in diversified fields of biology or sociology, psychology as wellas anthropology. People have always been associated with studies of time in different ways, butbefore we started using the term chronemics or even before we apply these understandingsin the area of business and professional communication, a number of scholars have to be listed toacknowledge their contribution for the development of this idea.From the modern perspectives, we find that the idea was first of all developed by E RobertKely who is better known as E R Clay and the same idea was carried forward by William Jameswhom we students of English literature recognized primarily for his use of the phrase is ‘streamof consciousness technique’ in his works. The idea was also carried forward by GeorgeHerbert Mead and these leading developers of the study of human acts and presentnessalerted us to this idea that the time is not governed only by the external clock time.William James suggested that there is also an internal dimension of time which he calledas ‘duree’. Another philosopher whom we have to acknowledgeat this stage is Harold Innis, the famous Canadian communicologist who published hisfamous book Changing Concepts of Time in 1952. He studied the impact of time as well as spacefor the development of civilization. The ideas of Harold Innis were further enriched by MarshallMcLuhan who discussed time and human communication in several works. We primarily know McLuhanfor introducing us to the term global village in his works, but he has also talked aboutthe concept of time. In 1952 only, the same year in which HaroldInnis has published his book, Edward T Hall also published his book The Process of Change.Hall was to write periodically about time and the socio cultural relations over thenext four decades and his ideas have encouraged other researchers to take up similar studies.The actual term chronemics was coined in 1972 by Fernando Poyatos, a Canadian linguist andsemiotician. In dealing with a communication system of the speaker-actor, Poyatos brieflydiscussed the chronemics that concerned conceptions and the handling of time as a bio psychologicaland cultural element of social interactions. He had introduced this idea in cross culturalstudy of paralinguistic ‘alternates’ in Face to Face Interaction which was publishedin 1975. As examples for chronemically significantaspects in communication, he included the cross cultural differences in the durationof ordinary social visits, response latency among different cultural groups when a questionis asked or for example, a decision is to be made. He also looked at conversationalsilences and pauses as part of cultural chronemics. Continuing with these observations, Andy luckingand Thies Pfeiffer suggests that since temporal experience depends on the changing of something,Chronemics is probably best conceived of as a kind of paralinguistic or supra segmentalfeature.Tom Bruneau developed the first article on time and nonverbal communication in 1974 andhe also attempted to define chronemics and outlined its characteristics in 1977. So,it is in this decade of 1970s that the maximum understanding of the impact of chronemicswas being talked about by various research scholars. Since these early works, we findthat a number of works and commentaries have come out on the significance of chronemicsin the field of professional communication.I would base my initial discussions over this concept on the findings of Edward T Hall.He has recognized three time systems and named them as technical, formal and informal.Technical time according to him is the scientific measurement of time which is associated withthe precision of keeping the time the way different mechanical devices for example,clock and watches primarily are used to keep time. So, formal time is the time which welearn on the basis of our social conditioning. A West and Turner have quoted the exampleof the USA and have talked about how the American society is being governed by the clock andcalendar. People have been socially conditioned to thinkthat when it is1 PM it is normally the time to work and when it is 1 AM it is normallythe time to sleep. At the same time we find that in our contemporary cultures our arrangementof time is broadly fixed and rather methodical. So, to say that the majority of the peoplefollow similar patterns at workplace and in their personal lives also.Informal time is normally our understanding of time at a personal level. Hall has includedthree different concepts within it and these are duration, punctuality and activity. Durationis related with the time which is formally allocated to a particular event. For example,in a meeting for a particular agenda item we might have allocated 40 minutes. And atthe same time sometimes in certain cultures our estimates can be normally imprecise whereas,in some cultures as we will later see these estimates have to be as close to precisionas possible. And at the same time there are personal definitions also for example, ifI say I would be there within 2 minutes then what exactly I mean by these 2 minutes wouldit be 1 hour or exactly 2 minutes or maybe somewhere around 15 to 20 minutes.Another aspect which is associated by Hall with informal time is punctuality; which isbasically our promptness associated with the way we keep time. We are normally consideredto be punctual when we arrive at the designated place at the given time. Some people are tardyand habitually late comers and at the same time there are cultural associations also.In certain cultures for example, punctuality is not exactly a value because late comingis often associated with our status and perceptions of power. Activity is also another chronemicsvalue our use and manage of time is defined in a cultural manner too.Other aspects which may be associated with our concept of time is our willingness towait, the way we maintained time, during our interactions and to what extent the use oftime punctuality etcetera are a reflection of our status and a part of the power game.The way we look at time, we maintain our association with it and the way we value it, affects thelifestyle. It is also a reflection of our own work culture as well as at a larger scaleit becomes a reflection of the work culture of an organization. It also affects our communicationand professional relationships too in the long run.Hall has also pointed out that time can be an arithmetic characteristic as far as oursocial pressures are concerned. We are encouraged to use time wisely and at the same time wemay also be cautioned not to be too obsessive about it. The way different cultures understandthe function of time can be understood from several different angles. Hall has treatedtime as a language, as a thread which runs through cultures.In his opinion it acts as an organizer and at the same time it also acts as a messagesystem it reveals how people treat each other and at the same time it also tells us aboutthe things which people value. Hall has taken a historical perspective as far as the humanconcept of time is concerned.He suggests that our consciousness of time has emerged from the way we learn to respondto natural rhythms, which were associated with changes in the season, with changes duringthe days, annual cycles of different crops etcetera.Though the hidden dimensions of time remain to be exceedingly complex, basic time systemscan be termed as possessing either monochronic or polychronic orientations. Hall suggestthat most of our cultures are either monochronic or polychromic. Although these patterns whichare almost polar opposites cannot be applied rigidly to all the cultures; a given cultureis likely to have a preference for either one of these and would be more inclined towardsit. However, there may be cultural and ethnic variations. A particular culture may be inclinedtowards a particular preference or orientation in terms of time.But within that culture we may find some smaller groups for example, ethnic groups or sub culturalgroups who are disposed in a different manner and have retained a different associationwith time. In general Hall suggest that northern European and American cultures are monochronicand mediterranean cultures are polychronic.So, how do we look at the differences between the monochronic and polychronic orientationsof time? A monochronic understanding of time is linear and it is governed by our clockin comparison to it, a polychronic culture is a non-linear one and it is more orientedtowards time. It prefers relationships in terms of the ideaof keeping time. Monochronic culture also has a short term orientation in relation witha polychronic which is a long term orientation whereas, monochronic prefers precision wefind that the polychronic cultures understand the time has a particular flow. The basicdifference between these two orientations has been beautifully summed up by McCool whenhe says that the monochronic cultures are based primarily on clock time whereas, polychroniccultures are typically based on people time. And this is by far the more significant differencebetween the two. These cultural orientations towards the way we value time as people arereflected in our day to day activities also.A culture which has a monochronic orientation assumes our linear order of things and itsuggests that things have to be completed in a sequential pattern. One thing has tofollow the other and A should always precede B and A should end before the task B begins.And therefore, monochronic cultures value those tools and systems which increase focusand help us in saving time. They look at time as money as value which has to be structuredand therefore, their culture and therefore, the work cultures in these monochronic culturesare governed by a well structured and well defined schedules. The focus in these culturesis somehow to reduce distractions during plant interactions and they always try to save timeas much as possible. The non-verbal clues which can be associatedwith this orientation are linked with certain tendencies which are exhibited in individualand it over cultures. For example, the capability and tendency to plan ahead, to schedule things,to schedule meetings etcetera. So, that there is no fuzziness during the day. Punctualityas a value has to be there and at the same time there is a tendency to push things throughthe agenda so, that things can end on time. And at the same time they do not want to dabblewith so many things simultaneously and they prefer to do one thing at a time. The countrieswhich are typically associated with a monochronic orientation are most of the countries in northernEurope the scandinavian countries Germany USA and Japan.Hall has also pointed out that the monochronic perceptions and preferences in the culturesof Northern Europe and the USA are not natural they are learnt social and cultural valuesand at the same time they happen to be arbitrary. He has traced the development of this attitudeto the early days of industrial revolution which had occurred during 1760 to 1820 andsome people a stretch it to 1840 also in Europe and the USA.The factory life required that the labor has to report at a given time and the appointedhour was always announced using different types of bells or whistles etcetera. Thispunctuality was necessary to maintain and sustain industrial revolution and graduallythese attitudes have seeped into these cultures and therefore, monochronic cultures placea paramount value on schedules on tasks on completing the things by the deadline andtherefore, Hall has gone to the extent to say that in the American business world, theschedule, is sacred and time is tangible. Because our preference for the monochronicattitude encourages us to take up only one thing at a time, people who are governed byit do not like to be interrupted and also do not prefer to suddenly change the pre decidedscheduling.Hall has also been able to point out certain constraints which are associated in his opinionwith the monochronic reference for time. He says that this perception of time seals peoplefrom one another and as a result intensifies some relationships at the cost of others.He has suggested that this time preference is like a room in which some people are allowedto enter while others are kept out of it. The rigidity and the focus to keep the schedulesintact conditions, people to think that those people who do not subscribe to similar valuesystem in the context of time are basically inefficient and unreliable and at the sametime they are rather disrespectful. Hall feels that even though most of the westerncultures are dominated by the monochronic perception of time. It is not a natural focusof the way human beings have evolved and in his opinion this preference seems to violatemany of humanity’s innate rhythms. It does not mean, however, that he prefers a differentperception of time. It is a part of his analysis only and has to be perceived in the same manner.In contrast we find that polychronic orientation encourages a certain flux and non-linearity.These cultures value relationship and predictions more than they value rigidity towards time.There is always more emphasis on finishing the natural agenda first rather than keepingthe schedule in a mechanical manner. For example if two people who belong to this culturedmeet on the street corner after a long time, they would prefer to catch on what is goingon in others life first rather than rushing to a 10 o clock meeting, a slight delay isunderstandable. The nonverbal cues which seep into our workenvironment in such cultures are reflected in being non punctual during the meetings.Non punctuality is not necessarily related with a negative work culture rather it hasto be understood as a certain empathy if people tend to get late. Meetings are used for buildingrelationships the focus on finishing the agenda is not typically over there.In these cultures we find that multitasking is considered as a value and therefore, acertain flexibility is encouraged. In Latin American countries, in most of the Africanand Arabic countries as well as in some countries and certain segments in South Asia we findthat a polychronic orientation towards time is followed. It is also followed in thosesections of the society the world over which are basically rural and agrarian because theyfollow the larger cycles of the crop and production etcetera and at the same time those societieswhich rigorously follow the religious calendars this orientation is normally found.In those cultures where a polychronic understanding of time is prevalent, multiple timelines areroutinely followed. It is understood if people are not able to follow the deadlines becausethey have preferred to do some other thing within the allotted hour. The tendency toview this attitude from a monochronic perspective is to view them as basically chaotic or random.The monochronic cultures are also primarily known as the clock cultures because for themtime is measured and it is of essence. The punctuality which is practiced over thereand the precision which is preferred in these cultures is reflected in various routinesalso. For example, keeping the time as far as the public transport is concerned is reflectedbecause of this cultural preference also. In the context of the business world sometimeswe find that too much of an emphasis on monochronic perspective can backfire in a multiculturalsetting because the idea that sometimes it may take years to develop a loyal customerbase is not understood by such people.The different ways in which cultures respond to punctuality and other time related valuesis nicely displayed in this video. I guess we all believe that time is prettyconstant, but around the world attitudes to it differ greatly, while you can set yourwatch by Swiss trains not all cultures break the day down into minutes and seconds forother cultures punctuality is a very different matter.A German sales exactly we are trying to open doors in a number of African countries scheduletwo meetings a dye, for him quite easygoing. His first meeting did not even take placetill a dye later by the end of his trip he was. So, stressed out he could hardly operatehe mistakenly thought his hosts would look at time like he did.In Africa like in the middle east or South America there they work in blocks of time,half a day maybe certainly not in minutes as long as they can achieve what they needin that block of time, then exactly when is less importance that is not to say that theyare less efficient or effective its just that they work at their own pace. If you work inseconds then you need to adapt otherwise you are going to set yourself up for a lot ofresistance from your hosts and you are going to get constant disappointment.And then there are cultural anomalies; in French society absolute punctuality is notthe highest priority, but if you arrive late at a French restaurant do not expect a warmwelcome the French take their food very seriously and consider lateness a sign of disrespectfor their culinary efforts you had a better pay some serious compliments to the waitersif you want to get back in there good books.The American expression time is money can be taken very literally in the US, a chattybank teller whose lines moving slowly will cause customers to become impatient and youwill also get an earful if the line has to wait because you have not filled out yourforms ahead of time. Certain tendencies of monochronic and polychronicorientations which we have already discussed are related with punctuality.Monochronic orientations prefers punctuality which is considered to be almost sacred. So,10 O clock meeting means that the discussions have to begin at 10 o clock. On the otherhand polychronic cultures are more people centered and for them a 10 o clock meetingmeans at 10 o clock people going to start assembling there and start greeting each other.In the polychronic orientation punctuality is largely ignored to the rhythm of the peopleand the rigid adherence to completing the projects and delivery bills, according toa rigid schedule is sometimes overlooked.The cultural variations in the perception of time are also discussed in this particularvideo.Every culture has his own perception of time every culture of his friendship and a perceptionof time in a separate light.In some countries people dedicate their lives to build a strong relationship with theirfamilies like the Arabic people.Or others mainly dedicate their lives for their career like the Japanese.I have the rush says the American, my time is up the Arab scornful of this submissiveattitude to schedules would only use this expression if were imminent.The western European and North American countries few time as a linear vision.Time as a beginning and an end, this culture is fast paced compared to other cultures whenwestern cultures make a decision of our business they will see it as final when they come throughan agreement and so, they do not have to rethink or just of the agreement; they wants to doas much as possible in the time they have.The Arabic countries in the perception of time as a flexible vision.Being led to an appointment or checking a long term to get down to business is the acceptednorm for most Arabic countries; for flexible time cultures schedules are less importantthan human feelings.When people are relationships to mount attention or required nurture time becomes a subjectivecommodity there can be manipulated or stretched.Meetings will not be rushed or cut short for the sake of an arbitrary schedule, time isan open ended resource communication is not regulated by a clock.In Asia the people view the perception of time as a cyclical vision, shin culture takesa concept to a next step.When the process of life ends the Asian countries will start at birth again, the Asian countriesare slower paced and the western European countries.For instance when the Chinese people make an appointment for example a business dealthey were always arrive early. So, they will not be wasting your time there are more focuson the career when the Asian people make a decision there always refute as a decisionlater on see if it is still the right choice if this is not a case, they will adjust accordingly.For instance when European businessman want to make a deal or sign a contract with Chinesebusinessmen, they expect to make to deal fast and only think about the future while theChinese businessman will always look for a long term solution and everything to do severaltimes. If he has met quickly the western cultures will see it as a waste of time.Our cultural preferences as far as our understanding of time is concerned are reflected not onlyin our relationship with other people, but also in our relationship with technology.A clear example of it is the way the global websites are designed. We find that monochronicusers are quick and decisive and usually task oriented and they design the websites in thesame manner. On the other hand we find that polychronicusers emphasize process over results and prefer to gain a high level of understanding overa practical implementation. And this difference is easily visible in the way technology isused by different cultures. In the fast changing pace of our work cultures where we may haveto work with people from different cultural background, our awareness of how time is perceiveddifferently in different cultures has become almost a must.People who work at an international level must know what are the different definitionsof time and how do people relate to it differently. A particularly interesting word which is usedin Latin American countries is Manana. In the Middle East a synonymous world is Bukrawhich indicates a particular attitude, it means that what cannot be done today wouldbe done tomorrow. So, this laid back attitude in terms of time is a cultural aspect of lookingat our values and our relationships with other people. In the monochronic cultures we findthat time is divided and further subdivided into identifiable units; however, in polychroniccultures we find that time is a happy mixture of past present and future and these segmentsare not strictly segregated. So, we have to understand whether the peoplewith whom we work, look at time in a formal and task oriented fashion or do they lookat time as an opportunity to a spend time and develop interpersonal relationships.In some cultures we find that lack of punctuality is associated with our social prestige. Itis very common in certain societies as well as in certain organizations to make the subordinateswait for the appointments so that they can internalize the significance and importanceor the higher rank of their superior. Power and dignity are often shown by arriving lateand it is also used as a tactic in certain countries particularly we can refer to thework culture of the Middle Eastern countries. However we find that in monochronic culture’slack of punctuality is always frowned upon. A very interesting example is that of MichaelJackson, who angered the judge when he arrived late in one of the courts in 2005. Punctualityis considered by monochronic cultures as a value and it is not relaxed even for thosepeople who are considered to be as social or cultural leaders in different fields.It is interesting to note that in certain international situations the name of a countryis also inserted after the time of the meeting is given and the insertion of the name ofa country indicates that, one also has to understand how the particular country associatesitself with time the insertion of the name of a country allows the participants fromdifferent cultural backgrounds to understand if the time is fixed or fluid as far as theinvitation is concerned. I take this example from Martin and Chaney,who have cited this example of an invitation where the meeting is announced at 9 AM “Malaysiantime”. Now Malaysian time is an indication that the punctuality would be practiced ina fluid fashion. Work time and personal times are strictly separated in monochronic cultures;however, in polychronic cultures we find that the work time and personal time are not strictlyseparated they often include in to each other. These cultural aspects percolate further intodifferent organizations and it is reflected in their work culture.For example how much time is given during a work day to the company tasks and how muchtime is given to socializing? In monochronic cultures we find that the division is typically80 percent task and 20 percent social, on the other hand in polychronic countries wefind that it may be rather cute. Understanding appropriate connotations of time is thereforeimportant in international situations globalization of business is influencing how the conceptof time is viewed around the world particularly at the level of the individual, at the levelof the organization. So, more than the country we find that it is the organization whichis reflecting the cultural associations with time. It is interesting to note that the workcultures in the offices of the same company, which are located in different countries,may follow different patterns. A head office situated in a country wherethe preferences for monochronic attitudes would work in a different atmosphere in comparisonto another office which is situated in a country which is governed by the polychronic attitude.These differences alert us to the manner in which time is perceived in different waysand the extent to which we are conditioned by our social and cultural parameters. Andat the same time the necessity to adapt ourselves in an empathetic manner to different viewpointsas far as our associations with time is concerned.The differences of attitude between monochronic and polychronic individuals can be furtherunderstood with the help of this video. It also indicates our attitudestowards relationships. Business and other professional activities are planned withintime and diverse understandings about our preferences can also cause confusion.For an American time is truly money and therefore, it is always considered to be precious; becausethis society is basically a profit oriented society Germans and Swiss link time with theirsense of order tidiness and planning. In certain other cultures for example, in Spanish cultureas well as in Italian and Arabic cultures, we find that the considerations of time areusually subjected to human feelings. The understanding of the French, as far asthe punctuality is concerned, is also closer to a polychronic attitude. Our understandingof time helps us to organize our nonverbal communication in a better way and to modulateour dialogue and conversations in such a way that the other people can also empatheticallyunderstand it. Thank you.