Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Examples

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory. Also, Definition and Examples of Geert Hofstede Six Cultural Dimensions.

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

Hofstede’s cultural dimension was developed in 1980 by Dutch management researcher Geert Hofstede. It is also known as Hofstede’s model and Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions refer to the conceptual framework that identifies the differences in culture globally.  It shows a systematic process to compare the nations based on beliefs, values, behaviors, and attitudes. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory shows the effects of a society’s culture on the values of its members. It also shows how these values relate to behavior, using a structure derived from factor analysis.

Initially, Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory has only four dimensions: power distance index, individualism vs collectivism, masculine vs feminine, and uncertainty avoidance index. In 1988, Michael Harris Bond added the 5th dimension, “Long-Term versus Short-Term Orientation”, to Hofestede’s model.  Similarly, in 2010, Michael Minkov described and added the 6th dimension named indulgence vs restraint to Geert Hofstede’s theory. Therefore, it is also known as Hofstede’s dimensions of national culture that evaluates and represents cultural differences globally.

This model generates rank for each country through contained scores on a specific dimension. Each dimension of the Hofstede model is different from other dimensions for its unique factor analysis. Hence, it is one of the critical theories to understand the cultural differences prevalent across the country. Cultural difference creates cultural conflict that is also known as the communication noise barrier.

Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions

Geert Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism Vs Collectivism, Masculinity Vs Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), Long Vs Short Term Orientation, and Indulgence Vs Restraint. This cultural dimensions theory is beneficial to understand and change the work attitude of the organization, group, team members, and so on. It also assists the negotiators to understand the opposite party during international negotiation. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions are a significant model of communication that contributes to international and cross-culture communication.

Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions are:

  1. Power Distance Index (PDI)
  2. Individualism Vs Collectivism
  3. Masculinity Vs Femininity
  4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)
  5. Long Vs Short Term Orientation
  6. Indulgence Vs Restraint
Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions- Geert Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions Theory
Geert Hofstede’s Six Cultural Dimensions

1. Power Distance Index(PDI)

(Extent of Inequality and Power Distributed in Society)

The power distance index refers to the degree to which society members accept the distance of power and authority. It is a crucial element of Hofstede’s six cultural dimensions that assess the inequality (more versus less) among members of society. Additionally, it has a significant impact on international business negotiation. The power distance index differs into high power and low power distance index.

High Power Distance

The high power distance refers to a society where less powerful people easily accept the unequal power distribution in the community. It means the acceptance of the inequity between high- and low-status members of society. People with High PDI expect that power will be distributed in society unequally, so they do not complain about inequality. It has become a tradition that they convey from generation to generation. They value traditional norms and social rules. Therefore, people in high power distance countries accept the inequity in organizations smoothly.

Examples of High Power Distance Countries

Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Arab countries have very high power distance scores; therefore, these countries are examples of high PDI in 2022. For example, Bangladesh and China ranked high power distance countries with scores of 80. Additionally, India scores 77, and Singapore scores 74 in the power distance dimension. People from the following countries easily accept the inequalities between people with high and low power status. People in these countries do not complain; instead, they admit it as a social order.

Hofstede country comparison website: www.hofstede-insights.com. Anyone can compare the country’s culture through the following link.

Example of High Power Distance Countries- High Power Distance Countries- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Low Power Distance

Low power distance refers to a culture where less powerful people do not accept unequal power distribution in society easily. It means the acceptance of equity and equality between high- and low-status members of society. The member of the community practice fairness and interdependence activities in society. People in a low PDI society are pragmatic; hence, they are less orientated to traditional values. They also complain about the subsisting inequity between high- and low-status members in communities and organizations.

Examples of Low Power Distance Countries

Austria, Israel, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom are examples of low power distance countries in 2022. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, Austria has achieved the lowest PDI country with 11, following Israel with 13, Denmark with 18, New Zealand with 22, Norway with 31, Germany with 35, and the United Kingdom with 35. People from these countries do not accept the inequity between high and low-influential people in society, community, and organization. They raise their voices against injustice and discrimination in society.

Example of Low Power Distance Index Countries in 2022- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions

 

Differences Between High and Low Power Distance Culture
High Power Distance Culture
Low Power Distance Culture
People certainly accept unequal power distribution in society. In contrast, people complain about unequal power distribution.
Junior people respect the senior people in society and seniors expect obedience Senior and junior people respect each other equally.
Discrimination is prevalent in every sector of the country; for example, social, government, and non-government organizations. On the other hand, people raise their voices against discrimination.
The political leader and organizational boss are autocratic people. The political leader and organizational boss are democratic people.
For example, high power distance cultures exist in Bangladesh, China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, and Arab countries. For example, low power distance cultures exist in Austria, Israel, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

2. Individualism Vs Collectivism

(Prefer To Work Independently or Interdependently)

Individualism and collectivism are the most significant cultural dimensions that separate the society where people prefer to work personally or interdependently. According to Hofstede’s model, a high score in the country indicates individualistic culture. On the other hand, the low score indicates collectivistic culture. Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory encourages collectivistic culture; so, the members of an individualistic society should understand that they are part of a larger group. Therefore, they should pay all-out efforts to achieve a shared goal. Tuckman’s theory of communication discusses more how to work together in a group to achieve common goals.

Individualism

Individualism refers to the individualistic culture of society where people prefer to work separately and seek freedom in the workplace. Individualistic members like to work alone and seek credit for their work. In this culture, task prevails over the relationship in the workplace. People in individualistic cultures do not want to work in groups, so they set independent goals and appreciate freedom. Thus, they are assertive, self-reliant, competitive, and value individual achievement.

Individualistic Countries Examples

Usually, individualist cultures are prevalent in western countries. For example, the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Ireland are individualistic countries. According to Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture, the  United States scores 91, following Australia with 90, the United Kingdom with 89, Canada with 80, Netherlands with 80, New Zealand with 79, and Ireland with 70. Therefore, people from these countries prefer to work alone and foster independent achievement.

Individualistic Countries Examples

Collectivism

Collectivism refers to the collectivistic culture of society where people prefer to work together and foster interdependent achievement. Collectivist members like to work in groups and try to help each other. They prefer to work in groups instead of working alone. In this culture, relationship prevails over task in the business setting. They also emphasize group identity and group success. Hence, they are cooperative, obedient, and self-sacrificing. The family member maintains strong relationships with members in collectivism. On the other hand, family members do not focus on maintaining strong relationships in an individualistic society.

Collectivistic Countries Examples

Collectivist cultures are common in Asian and Latin American countries. Guatemala, Ecuador,  Venezuela, Indonesia, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Bangladesh, and Malaysia are considered the most collectivistic nations globally. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model, a low score in this dimension indicates a collectivistic society. For example, Guatemala has ranked the most collectivistic country in the world with a score of 06, following Ecuador with 08, Venezuela with 12, Indonesia with 14, Pakistan with 14, Taiwan with 17, South Korea with 18, China with 20, Bangladesh with 20, and Malaysia with 26. So, people from these countries prefer to work in groups and intend to achieve shared goals.

Collectivistic Countries Examples

Hofstede Cultural Dimensions Masculinity vs Femininity

Differences Between Individualistic and Collectivistic Culture

Individualistic Culture
Collectivistic Culture
Firstly, People are intended to work alone. In contrast, people are intended to work in a group or team.
Additionally, people foster personal achievement. People foster group achievement.
In this culture, the member takes responsibility only for the immediate family, including the wife and children. On the other hand, in a collectivistic society, the member takes responsibility for the extended family, including parents and grandparents.
In the workplace, employees are supposed to focus on personal tasks, and they compete with each other for positions. In contrast, employees are supposed to share the workload.
Tasks control the relationship However, relationship prevails over tasks.
Government plays a small role in society. The government certainly plays the most critical role in society.
Above all, people are assertive, self-reliant, self-interest, competitive, and independent. Whereas, People are obedient, self-sacrificing, cooperative, and interdependent.
I- Consciousness We- Consciousness
For example, individualistic cultures are prevalent in the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Ireland are For example, collectivistic cultures are prevalent in Guatemala, Ecuador,  Venezuela, Indonesia, Pakistan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Bangladesh, and Malaysia.

3. Masculinity Vs Femininity

(Assertiveness and Nurture Society)

Masculinity versus femininity is another dimension of Hofstede’s theory that differentiates society based on gender roles and traits. The high score of the dimension refers to the masculine culture driven by competition and material success. On the other hand, the low score indicates a feminine society driven by the quality of life.

In business circumstances, masculinity versus femininity refers to as “tough versus tender” cultures.

Masculinity

Masculinity pertains to traits associated with assertiveness culture in society. According to Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, men focus on personal tasks and material success in masculine culture. Gender roles are differentiated and, the role of men and women overlap less than in feminine society. The men are more assertive, decisive, dominant, and focused on success. On the other hand, women are more humble, loving, and focused on quality of life. In this society, men concentrate on assertiveness, heroism, and performance. The men of these societies are more competitive than feminine societies. Children in China learn the importance of personal achievement since childhood. So, they compete with each other for self-success.

In business settings, masculinity refers to the rough culture in the organization. The Boss does less discussion with employees to a make- decisions.

Examples of Masculine Countries

Slovakia, Japan, Hungary, Austria, Venezuela, Italy, Mexico, and China are considered masculine countries for their high score in this dimension. For example, Slovakia scores 100, following Japan(95), Hungary(88), Austria (79), Venezuela (73), Italy 70, Mexico (69), and China (66). So, the gender role of these countries is specific and overlaps very little.

Examples of Masculine Countries and Culture in 2022- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Examples of Masculine Countries in the World (High Score)
Feminine

Femininity denotes traits associated with nurture culture in society. The members of feminine society focus on relationships and quality of life. They are nurtured, cooperative, modest, and caring to other members of society. They also maintain modest behavior in the community and organization.

In the business context, femininity refers to the tender culture in the organization. The Boss does great discussion and intuitive analysis to make decisions.

Examples of Feminine Countries

Sweden, Norway, Netherlands, Denmark, Costa Rica, and Finland are considered as the most feminine countries in the world for their low MAS score in this dimension. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, Sweden ranked the most feminine country in the world with a score of 5, following Norway (8), Netherlands (14), Denmark (16), Costa Rica (21), and Finland (26). So, the gender role of these countries is fluid that overlaps significantly.

Examples of Most Feminine Countries in the world
Examples of Most Feminine Countries (Low Score)

4. Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI)

(Extent of Comfort in Uncertain Situations)

The uncertainty avoidance index describes how people from different countries deal with ambiguous situations. It also identifies the people who are comfortable in uncertain moments and who are scared to encounter unwanted difficulties. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the uncertainty avoidance index differs into two categories: high uncertainty avoidance and low uncertainty avoidance index.

High Uncertainty Avoidance

People in high uncertainty avoidance societies follow the rules and regulations thoroughly to avoid undesirable moments. They prefer to follow routines and make plans to prevent unpredictable moments. They also believe proper planning is an essential component for achievement; hence, parents control their children’s lives excessively. People in high UAI-scoring countries are more traditionalistic, stiff, and structured. The structured person tends to do the right things and avoid unwanted consequences.

Examples of High Uncertainty Avoidance Countries

Greece, Guatemala, Russia, Portugal, Belgium, and Japan are considered as the high uncertain avoidance countries. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, Greece has become the highest uncertainty avoidance country with a score of 100, following Guatemala (98), Russia (95), Portugal(95), Belgium(94), and Japan(92). So, people from these countries prefer to lead a planned life to avoid unwanted risks.

Examples of High Uncertainty Avoidance Countries- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Examples of High Uncertainty Avoidance Countries
Low Uncertainty Avoidance

People in low uncertainty avoidance societies are comfortable with undesirable moments. They mainly act first before garnering enough information. They are not intended to follow all rules and regulations thoroughly; so, they work to reduce the unnecessary rules from society and organizations. People in low UAI countries are relaxed and open-minded; therefore, they do not scare to encounter uncertainty and unpredictability.

Examples of Low Uncertainty Avoidance Countries

Singapore (8), Jamaica(13), Denmark(23) and Hongkong(29), Sweden (29), and also Malaysia 36 are examples of low uncertainty avoidance countries. People from these low UAI countries accept the risk easily and do not scare to encounter unwanted situations.

Examples of Low Uncertainty Avoidance Countries- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Low Uncertainty Avoidance Countries in the World

5. Long Vs Short Term Orientation

(Pragmatic Versus Normative)

Long versus short-term orientation is a crucial dimension of the Geert Hofstede theory that categorizes society based on pragmatic and normative actions. Michael Harris Bond added this dimension in 1988. It assists to measures the tendency of long-term or short-term results. It also describes how people deal with the past, present, and future.

Long Term Orientation

People in long-term orientation are focused on the future consider it more valuable than the past. They tend to spend huge time to achieve long-term results. The members in the long-term orientated society are practical, modest, and more careful. They also encourage others to utilize time and money properly to achieve the goal.

Examples of Long Term Orientation Countries

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions theory, South Korea(100), Taiwan(93), Japan (88), China(87), Germany(83), and Singapore(72) are the long-term orientation countries in the world. So, people from these countries set long-term goals and expect perseverance and satisfaction.

Long Term Orientation Countries Example in 2022- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions
Examples of Long Term Orientation Countries
Short Term Orientation

People in short-term orientation are focused on the past and the present, considering them more valuable than the future. They prefer to enjoy the current situation regardless of their future goal. The members in the short-term orientated society are spiritual, normative, and nationalistic.

Examples of Short-Term Orientation Countries

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model, Ghana(4), Nigeria(13), Australia(21), United States(26), Philippines(27), and also Norway(35) are considered as the short-term oriented countries in the world. So, people from these countries set short-term goals and expect immediate satisfaction.

Examples of Long Term Orientation Countries- Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Examples
Examples of Long Term Orientation Countries

6. Indulgence Vs Restraint

Indulgent versus restraint stands for cultures that allow people to enjoy or suppress gratification. In the 21st century, Michael Minkov described the six dimensions and extended the Hofstede theory.

Indulgence

Indulgence refers to a society where a higher percentage of people acknowledge that they are leading a happy life. People in an indulgent society enjoy life freely; hence, they have fun and obtain optimistic attitudes. They certainly prioritize having friends, playing games, and spending leisure time appropriately.

Examples of Indulgent Countries

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, the most indulgent countries in the world are Venezuela(100), Mexico(97), Puerto Rico(90), El Salvador(89), Nigeria(84), Colombia(83), Germany(83), Trinidad and Tobago(80), Sweden(78), Australia (71), Canada(68), Australia(68), and also Argentina(62).

Example of Indulgent and Restraint Countries in the world in 2022
Example of Indulgent and Restraint Countries in the world in 2022
Restraint

Restraint refers to a society where a smaller percentage of people declare that they are leading a happy life. People in a restrained society suppress gratification and do not focus on the freedom of speech. Additionally, they regulate life by the traditional norms and have pessimistic attitudes.

Examples of Restraint Countries

According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions model, the restraint countries in the world are Pakistan(0), Egypt(4), Latvia(13), Ukraine(14), Albania(15), Belarus(15), Estonia(16), Iraq917), Russia(20), and also China(24).

Differences Between Indulgent and Restrained Societies
Differences between Indulgent and Restrained Societies
Indulgent Versus Restraint

The two additional dimensions of global cultural differences are high context versus low context and monochronic versus polychronic time. In 1976, Edward T. Hall introduced these cultural dimensions that differentiate one from another nation.

High Context Vs Low Context

High context: High context members consider background, interpersonal history, and nonverbal communication cues when communicating. Messages are implied and context-sensitive-for example, Japan, China, Greece, and Mexico.

Low Context: Low-context members want facts a clear, direct communication. Messages are explicit, factual, and objective—for example, in England, the US, and Germany.

 Monochronic Versus Polychronic

Monochronic: Monochronic members focus on one task at a time and work hard to meet deadlines. They also adhere to plans, schedules, and deadlines because time is valuable. For example, people in North America and Northern Europe are mostly monochronic.

Polychronic: Polychronic members are frequently late, do many things at once, are easily distracted, and tolerate interruptions. Additionally, they are not obsessed with promptness or schedules because time is not highly valued. For example, people in Kenya, Argentina, African America, and Asia are polychronic. The monochronic versus polychronic time is an example of chronemic nonverbal communication.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Hofstede’s Dimensions of National Culture are Power Distance Index (PDI), Individualism Vs Collectivism, Masculinity vs Femininity, Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI), Long Vs Short Term Orientation, and Indulgence Vs Restraint.

What is Culture?

Culture is a set of values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, symbols, and norms shared by people in a society or community. The cultures vary from country to country and community to community. For example, Malaysian culture is not similar to Australian culture. Additionally, the culture of African Americans is not identical to White Americans.

Citation for this Article (APA 7th Edition)
Kobiruzzaman, M. M. (2021). Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions- Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions Examples. Newsmoor- Best Online Learning Platform. https://newsmoor.com/cultural-dimensions-hofstedes-cultural-dimensions-theory-with-six-dimension/

Symbolic Convergence Theory Definition, Example and Strengths & Weaknesses

Symbolic Convergence Theory: History, Description, Example and  Strengths & Weaknesses. Examples of Symbolic Convergence Theory.

Symbolic Convergence Theory

Symbolic convergence theory refers to a communication model that represents the fantasies that transform from individual to cohesive group.  It was developed by Ernest Bormann. People share common fantasies and visions and these collections of individuals are merged into a cohesive group. SCT presents an explanation for the appearance of a group’s cohesiveness, consisting of shared emotions, motives, and meanings. Symbolic Convergence Theory consists of three words such as symbolic, convergence, and theory. Group members cooperatively create and sustain a shared consciousness including shared meaning through interaction.

A diagram of the Anatomy of the Symbolic Convergence Theory has given below.

Symbolic Convergence Theory (SCT)- Code Words Phrases Slogans Gestures

Convergence

Convergence means forming a new unified whole or evolving into one through coming together with two or more things. It comes from the prefix con- and verb verge. Here, the prefix con means together, and the verb verge, which means to turn toward. We can use convergence to explain things that are in the process of coming together, like the slow convergence of your opinions with those of your mother, or for things that have already come together. For example, a crowd of mass people all move together into a group.

 Theory

The theory is a set of principles on which the practice of an activity is based. It is a formal concept or set of ideas that aim to explain something. For example, the Tw0-step flow of communication theory, Groupthink Muted Group Theory, SOCIAL IDENTITY THEORY,  Tubb’s Theory- Small Group Communication, and so on.

Symbolic convergence: When 2 or more private symbol worlds incline toward each other, come closer, or overlap. It is called a symbolic convergence.

History of the Symbolic Convergence Theory

Ernest Bormann established Symbolic Convergence Theory in 1972. SCT was first proposed by Ernest Bormann in the Quarterly Journal of Speech in 1972. Bormann and his colleagues at the University of Minnesota introduced SCT as a framework for discovering, describing, and explaining the dynamic process by which humans come to share symbolic reality.

SCT is a communication-related theory introduced by Ernest Bormann who is a Professor at the University of Minnesota in the United States. American communication theorists knew as the originator of symbolic convergence theory (SCT) and its attendant method, fantasy theme analysis, which both explore how the sharing of narratives or “fantasies” can create and sustain group consciousness.  He argued that group consciousness can occur at any level of communication, from within small groups to mass media. Thus, he identified symbolic convergence as a general theory of communication.

Description of Symbolic Convergence Theory

Symbolic Convergence Theory offers elucidation for the appearance of a group’s cohesiveness, consisting of shared emotions, motives, and meanings. Through SCT, members of the group can build a community or a group consciousness that grows stronger if they share a cluster of fantasy themes. Although this theory allows theorists and practitioners to anticipate or predict what did happen and what will happen it does not allow for control of human communication.

It attempts to explain how communication can create and sustain group consciousness through the sharing of narratives or fantasies. SCT explains that meanings, emotions, values, and motives for action are in the communication contexts by people trying to make sense out of a common experience. It is a process through which collectives create and share a consciousness and develop a common symbolic reality.

Symbolic Convergence Theory has a three-part structure

Firstly, elucidation of the recurring forms of communication involved in shared group consciousness.

Secondly, the illustration of why group consciousness begins rises and is maintained.

Thirdly, an explanation of the process of how an individual begins to share (or stops sharing) a common symbolic reality.

Anatomy of symbolic Convergence Theory

The social sciences and the communication discipline readily accept the use of several metatheoretical concepts (for example, power and scope, heuristic and isomorphic, elegance and parsimony, and validity and utility) to evaluate the quality of theories. There is less agreement about the metatheoretical concepts that would allow us to compare the anatomy (muscles, bones, arteries) of one theory with the anatomy of another.

Basic Concepts: (Fantasy themes)

A fantasy theme is a dramatizing message that depicts characters engaged in action in a setting that estimates for and explains the human experience. It is not something imaginary, but rather it is a “creative or imaginative interpretation of events which fulfills a psychological or rhetorical need.

Fantasy Theme Analysis is a form of rhetorical criticism. Rhetorical criticism explains the symbolic artifacts of discourse include the words, phrases, images, gestures, performances that people use to communicate. It shows how the artifacts work, entertain and arouse, and convince and persuade the audience. Rhetorical criticism studies and analyzes the purpose of the words, sights, and sounds that are the symbolic artifacts used for communications among people

Collective consciousness refers to the set of shared beliefs, ideas, attitudes, and knowledge that are common to a social group or society.

The basic concept is the fantasy theme and its associated basic concepts include symbolic cue, fantasy type, and saga.

Symbolic Cue

A symbolic cue is a code word, phrase, slogan, sign, or a nonverbal communication example that works to trigger previously shared fantasies and emotions. They can also heighten a group’s cohesiveness.

Fantasy types

A fantasy type is a stock scenario that uses to explain new events in a well-known, dramatic form such as Watergate, Irangate, and Whitewatergate. Taking stock is to think about all the aspects of a situation or event before deciding what to do next. A fantasy type is a fantasy theme that has a large number of rhetorical visions. They help make sense of a new phenomenon by providing known references.

Notable Example of Fantasy types

For example, a fantasy type would be when Richard Nixon was campaigning through his home state of California in 1952. A fund was put together by some wealthy Southern California businessman on behalf of Nixon. The newspapers picked this up and ran headlines such as “Secret Rich Men’s Trust Fund Keeps Nixon in Style Far Beyond His Salary”. The purpose of this fund was to help Nixon pay for expenses that he could not otherwise pay for out of his income. National newspapers were two to one in the favor of dropping Nixon from the ticket after this. And, his only hope was to find a way to regain public trust and support. Six days after the crisis, Nixon addressed the public by radio to respond to the charges against him.

A fantasy theme emerging from this story would be Nixon presenting himself as the American dream. During his speech over the radio, he emphasized how he made his own way in the world and had to work for a living. Richard Nixon also said, “How does a candidate pay for political expenses not covered by the government? The first is to be a rich man, which I am not. I feel that it is essential in this country of ours that a man of modest means can run for President. He offers autobiographical references that allow him to appear like the average man. This is an appropriate fantasy theme because it developed a response to the allegations. He is not a rich man who is getting money from everyone, but a hard-working man who started from the ground and worked upwards.

Saga

A saga is a long story of heroic achievement of the life of an individual, group, organization, or larger entity such as a nation. It is a great historical achievement and event for individuals or a nation.  For instance, examples of American sagas include “the spirit of entrepreneurship” and “the power of the ballot box. Symbolic convergence theorists claim that the Soviet Union had difficulty managing the coherence of the fifteen republics due to the weakening of the communist rhetorical vision and decreasing sagas.

Finally, this theory declares that communities are formed and maintained by the stories they share. The theory also suggests that humans are storytellers and share dramatization of an event. They make sense out of the complexities by creating a script or narrative to account for what happened. People share symbolic facts called fantasies, cues, and types with each other.

Message Structural Concepts: (Rhetorical vision)

A rhetorical vision is a composite drama that unifies people in a common symbolic reality. A rhetorical vision has five elements such as:

  1. Dramatis personae – the actors and players who give life to the rhetorical vision
  2. Plotline – provides the action of the rhetorical vision
  3. Scene – details the location of the rhetorical vision
  4. Sanctioning agent – legitimizes the rhetorical vision
  5. Master analog – the reflection of a deeper structure within the rhetorical vision
Dynamic Structure Concepts

At the meta-theoretical level of analysis, the dynamic structure concepts of any communication theory refer to the deep structure tension or war underlying a message’s cast, form, or mold. With SCT the war occurs between righteous, social, and pragmatic fantasy themes and ultimately competing for rhetorical visions.

Righteousness refers to the quality of being morally correct and justifiable. A pragmatic way of dealing with something is based on practical considerations, rather than theoretical ones. A pragmatic person deals with things in a practical way.

Communicator Structure Concepts

At the metatheoretical level of analysis, communicator concepts focus on the names given to communicators from the lens of a particular theory. With RAT, the communicators are called arguers, audiences, and critics. With Symbolic Convergence Theory, the major communicator concepts are fantasizers and rhetorical community along with their attributes such as the inclination to fantasize and dramatic communication style.

Medium Structure Concepts

This metatheory concept allows us to understand the medium as a propagating matter, such as in the statement: corn grows best in sandy loam soil. For example, IST grows best in open and mixed communication systems and not well in closed communication systems. RAT grows differently in field invariant and field-dependent media. URT operates differently in high-context, collectivist cultures than it does in low-context, individualist cultures. Likewise, NPT grows best in an open, democratic society and does not do well in a closed, totalitarian state. Fantasies (and thus SCT) grow best in a medium that fosters group sharing or public sharing as opposed to just personal fantasizing.

As Bormann (1972) noted, fantasies that begin in small groups often are worked into public speeches, become picked up by the mass media, and “spread out across larger publics”. With both group and public sharing the tendency for fantasies to be embellished, reconfigured, reworked, and evolved increases. The result is that members of groups and public rhetorical communities come to have a stake in the symbolic construction. The resultant symbolic construction has then entered their consciousness through the causative entity.

Evaluative Concepts

At the metatheoretical level of analysis, all communication theories posit one or more technical concepts. These concepts allow for the evaluation of communication that falls within the purview of a particular theory. For example, with IST, the primary evaluative concepts are fidelity, capacity, and uncertainty reduction.

With SCT, three primary technical concepts enable the evaluation of the quality and effects (outcomes) of fantasy-sharing among the members of rhetorical collectivities:  shared group consciousness, and rhetorical vision reality-links, and fantasy theme artistry.

Shared group consciousness

A shared group consciousness must exist within a rhetorical community in order for a fantasy theme to chain out, a rhetorical vision to develop, a saga to exist, or a symbolic cue to imbue meaning. Some terms that portray a shared group consciousness are common ground, mutual understanding, created social reality, meeting of minds, and empathic communication. Once a group has reached shared group consciousness, they no longer think in terms of “I” or “me” but in terms of “us” and “we.” After all, communication is the drive that allows groups of people to move towards their goals. A shared group consciousness also reduces uncertainty by allowing groups to develop an identity that shapes their culture. Shaping their own culture can influence norms, roles, and even decision-making.

Rhetorical vision reality link

A rhetorical vision reality link allows for a viable rhetorical vision that chronicles an authentic account of the phenomena along with tangible evidence. The lack of a rhetorical vision reality link, with no clear observational impressions of the facts, may lead to disprovable fantasies, characterized by rumor, innuendo, gossip, and even paranoia.

Fantasy theme artistry

Fantasy theme artistry is the rhetorical ability to present situations in a form that appears attractive to people so that they will share them. By presenting situations in a form that appears attractive to an audience, or showing that you have an understanding of the stories that the group shares. You can speak to their stories and turn their opinions in your favor.

Strengths and Weaknesses of the Symbolic Convergence Theory
Strengths of the Symbolic Convergence Theory

The stories or fantasies of symbolic convergence theory can help businesses, corporations, or politicians. Because SCT is a general theory built on the method of natural sciences. People apply it to many different cultures and timelines. They also use to account for the communicative processes, created by a group, used to foster the creation and sustenance of the group’s so-called “consciousness.”

Strengths

Below are a few points of how and why SCT can be useful in everyday situations. Determining communication malfunctions. A question that happens a lot within SCT is, “Why do some fantasy themes spark a chain of sharing while others fail?”

Groups fate as a part of a group has common experiences that predispose them to share fantasies that relate to their concerns. Therefore, these groups will have successful fantasy chains because they have more in common and are able to share more. Group members often find the direct confrontation of such issues to be unsettling when issues of power, sexism, role conflict, social rejection, and other touchy topics come into play. These fantasy chains may begin, but often do not last very long. Assessing communication efforts and persuasive campaigns. This theory can provide insight within small groups, meetings, lectures, and speeches. However, it provides greater use of assessing effects within the media.

In the 1976 campaign, the investigators included the relationship between the media messages and the audience’s effects in their study. These studies analyzed the extent to which actual voting behavior can be anticipated by participation. By being able to predict the voting behaviors, political representatives could carefully craft their messages for different groups of people before giving their speeches and lectures to best benefit themselves. The role of consciousness. Within fantasy chains, there are three phases that keep the chains going. They are consciousness creating, consciousness-raising, and consciousness sustaining. In the first phase, people come to create a commonality among their group. If the groups share this common fantasy, consciousness-raising will often fall in line next. And lastly, the two first points combined will create a sustaining fantasy chain that will last.

 Weaknesses of the Symbolic Convergence Theory

The dangerous phenomenon is an important element of symbolic convergence theory. It is the propensity of the phenomenon that people use against public goodwill. Whether unintentionally or intentionally, SCT can be seen at work in revisionist history. The intentional malevolent use of SCT principles against the public good. People can use it in the rash of “Fake News” campaigns. Therefore, false perceptions are feed to society in order to create a false, but widely believed, consensus (convergence) of belief. This is tantamount to intentionally creating false representation on the walls of Plato’s cave.