Date of Original Version
Abstract or Table of Contents
Eastern and Western cultures differ along several dimensions affecting computer-supported collaborative work. We consider one such dimension, low context (requiring little situational information) or high context (requiring substantial situational information) communication style. Specifically, we report on a laboratory study comparing communication and performance of low-context American dyads, highcontext Chinese dyads, and mixed American-Chinese dyads on a negotiation task under two possible media conditions: audio conferencing or video conferencing. Although theoretical cultural work and some prior research suggest that high-context Chinese dyads can benefit from the visual cues available in video-enabled systems, we found little support for this hypothesis. There were no effects of culture or medium on conversational efficiency. We did find differences in word usage and quality of interaction between the groups, suggesting potential impact on long term collaborations. We discuss some of the implications of these findings for a theoretical understanding of culture and collaborative work.