Intercultural Awareness: Cultural and Relational Effects on Gathering Awareness Information

Nanyi Bi, Jeremy P Birnholtz, Susan R. Fussell

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Awareness information, information about others’ presence and activities that allows us to determine their availability for conversation, plays an important role in workplace communication, as people often gather and act on it in the process of negotiating mutual availability. This paper presents a laboratory experiment examining how gathering awareness information is affected by the cultural backgrounds and mutual familiarity of collaborators. Results suggest that members of cultures considered more relationship-oriented (e.g., China) gathered awareness information less frequently than members of cultures that are more task-oriented (e.g., the United States). We argue that this is because of the different motivations for interaction prioritized by these cultures. We did not find any effect for familiarity, but provide several alternative explanations for this result.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationiConference 2014 Proceedings
EditorsMaxi Kindling, Elke Greifeneder
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)978-0988490017
StatePublished - 2014


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