Hall, communication, monochronic time, M-time, monochronicity, polychronic time, P-time, polychronicity, culture, interpersonal relations, task management.
"Monochronic and Polychronic Time" is an excerpt from Edward T. Hall's book The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time first published in 1983 and in which he studies the relationships between people and how time can challenge the process of communication and especially cross-cultural communication, considering the fact that the way time is perceived and thus managed varies among different cultures. Indeed, time is one of the most central differences that separate cultures and cultural ways of doing things (LeBaron, 2003). In this excerpt he introduces the idea that time is handled according to two different systems depending on whether it is a Mediterranean patterned culture or a North European patterned one, explaining that these systems (and respectively cultures) are polychronic and monochronic.
[...] Army Corp of Engineers in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. During the 1950s he worked for the United States State Department, at the Foreign Service Institute teaching inter-cultural communications skills to foreign service personnel, developed the concept of "High context-Low context" culture, and published several practical books on dealing with cross-cultural issues. He also created the concept of proxemics (how physical distance between interlocutors influences the communication process), and the monochronic-polychronic concept. References : LeBaron, M. (2003). Cross-Cultural Communication. Beyond Intractability. [...]
[...] Eds. Guy Burgess and Heidi Burgess. Dahl, S. (2006). Intercultural Research: The Current State of Knowledge. Allen C. Bluedorn, A. C., Felker Kaufman, C., Lane, P. M. (Nov., 1992) How Many Things Do You like to Do at Once? An Introduction to Monochronic and Polychronic. [...]
[...] Polychronicity implies a much less formal perception of time. The polychronic societies are more focused on relationships, “[the polychrons'] involvement in people is the very core of their existence”. Hall describes the American conception of time and compares it to different cultures such as Latin American or Arabic cultures. American time (like Canadian and most Northern and Western European time) is monochronic whereas Latin American and Arabic cultures' time is polychronic. He explains that for Americans for instance, ‘time is money', it is a commodity that should not be wasted, time is tangible; the notions of appointment and punctuality are sacred as the arbitrary concept of divisions of the clock (hours, minutes, seconds, etc.). [...]
[...] Saying that a culture is polychronic or monochronic does not mean that all individuals in this culture are polychron or monochron. Also, Hall explains that monochronic time system and polychronic time system are ideal-types. They manifest themselves in different versions, tighter or looser. Biography: Edward Twitchell Hall (May – July 20, 2009) was an American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher. He did research on the influence of culture on human behaviour, on the cultural perceptions of space, time and context. He is considered a founding father of intercultural communication as an academic area of study. [...]
[...] “Monochronic and Polychronic Time”, by Edward T. Hall, reprinted from The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time (1984), Anchor Books, a division of Random House. “Monochronic and Polychronic Time” is an excerpt from Edward T. Hall's book The Dance of Life: The Other Dimension of Time first published in 1983 and in which he studies the relationships between people and how time can challenge the process of communication and especially cross-cultural communication, considering the fact that the way time is perceived and thus managed varies among different cultures. [...]
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