High or Low Context Culture in Dublin

As of writing this blog, I am now in the last week of my international internship with Carysfort Capital in Dublin, Ireland. Since my last post, I have started my last projects. The first project looks at analyzing the potential market and returns in self-storage property, which includes researching and mapping the various Dublin self-storage firms and their prices to find the least catered to areas as well as estimates of how much it costs to maintain and purchase a property of that type. Through this research I was able to learn how to connect a map through Google Earth to data in an excel sheet to provide a fuller picture of the estimated prices by area. The second and last project I am involved in is collecting data on the current economic outlook of the real estate market in Ireland regarding the increase in prices of building materials and other factors.

            From what I have researched, low-context communication consists of explicit communication that is highly detailed and must be followed carefully, whereas high-context communication uses more implicit communication and is looser in terms of sticking to a plan. In terms of the communication I had relating to my internship in Ireland, I think compared to the United States Ireland is less high context. This is for a couple reasons. The first reason is that much of my projects I had to chart my own path instead of following an established guideline or sequence of steps. For example, earlier in my internship around the second week I had to pull together presentation slides that could be swapped out depending on the properties we wanted to show investors that demonstrated how good out track record was in terms of tenant selection, retention, returns, and other metrics. To do this, for each property I was given an excel sheet that had data collected by both the firm as well as the agents. Instead of being directed as to what graphs to create, I was instead given free reign to decide what I think would tell the story we wanted to portray best as well as which types of graphs to use. The second reason I think Ireland is less high context is because the schedule of the various assignments I was given weren’t strictly followed. For example, Carysfort Capital looks only at very specific property investments that can reach a tough goal in terms of generating enough of a return to satisfy its investors. Carysfort Capital is also a smaller company with only around seven employees, meaning the time we spend on tasks must be those that are most conducive to generating potential profit for the firm with as little wasted time as possible. The combination of these two factors meant if a deal wasn’t worth pursuing due to the project not being able to reach our goals concerning the financial return we needed, it was immediately dropped, and I would move on to the next one.

            Throughout my internship I did have a situation concerning miscommunication I had to overcome. For example, earlier in this post I talked about how I was handed excel data to put into a PowerPoint form to show off our company’s properties to potential investors. Much of the data was collected by third-party agents who acted as salesman to rent out the various units to tenants in Dublin. Because of this, the data collection wasn’t perfectly ideal for what I wanted to portray with it. Since what graphs I would create was up to my own opinion as opposed to having very clear direction that would be seen in a high-context culture I was used to, I did have to redo the PowerPoint slides many times since I wasn’t exactly sure what would fit the description I was given. However, after doing this a couple times I was able to gauge the correct amount of and type of graphs to use on a slide based on the feedback I received.

            In conclusion, I believe that Ireland is still a high-context culture country, however it is a little less high-context than the United States due to the experience I had with being let loose to pursue my own path on a project as opposed to being given a strict set of direction to follow. This is further supported by my experience with the scheduling of assignments not being strictly followed, as the company would move onto or drop deals fast so that the schedule at the beginning of the week would look much more different compared to the end.