Title: A cross-cultural study of mobile instant messaging: does culture shape young people's communication styles on MIM?

Authors: Jacqueline Urakami; Ting Sheng Lim

Addresses: Department of Industrial Engineering and Economics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, W9-57, 2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan ' Department of Industrial Engineering and Economics, Tokyo Institute of Technology, W9-57, 2-12-1 Ookayama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-8552, Japan

Abstract: The goal of the study was to identify culture specific communication patterns in mobile instant messaging (MIM). Differences in communication style between Germans and Japanese based on the following cultural variables were predicted: low and high-context, direct and indirect communication, instrumental and affective styles, individualism and collectivism, independent-self and interdependent-self. Survey data indicated that Germans prefer a low-context, direct style, express negative as well as positive emotions, and value information exchange in MIM. Japanese prefer a high-context, indirect style, avoid expressing negative emotions and value relationship maintenance. Experiment results revealed that messages containing graphical expressions compared to text only messages increased interaction enjoyment, and positive mood for Japanese but not for Germans. Likeability was evaluated as higher by Germans and Japanese, when messages contained graphical expressions compared to text only messages. The study showed that communication in MIM is culturally shaped and highlights the importance of non-verbal information.

Keywords: cross-culture communication; text messaging; social interaction; mobile instant messaging; MIM; emoji; Japanese; Germans.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2021.10033836

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2021 Vol.19 No.6, pp.708 - 733

Accepted: 24 Jun 2020
Published online: 29 Oct 2021 *

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