Vive la différence: The cross-culture differences within us

David Gefen, Nitza Geri, Narasimha Paravastu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In the ITC cross-cultural literature, we often talk about the differences among peoples and how their respective culture and history may affect their adoption and preference usage patterns of ITC. However, do we really need to look that far to find such cross-cultural differences? Considering language is one of the major defining attributes of culture, this article takes a sociolinguistic approach to argue that there is also a cross-cultural aspect to ITC adoption within the same culture. Sociolinguists have claimed for years that, to a large extent, the communication between men and women, even within the supposedly same culture, has such characteristics because men and women communicate with different underlying social objectives and so their communication patterns are very different. This article examines this sociolinguistic perspective in the context of online courses. A key finding is that although the stage is set to smother cultural and gender differences if participants wish to do so through ITC, gender based cultural patterns still emerge. These differences were actually strong enough to allow us to significantly identify the gender of the student, despite the gender neutral context of the course discussions. Implications for ITC, in general, in view of this Vive la Différence, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelected Readings on the Human Side of Information Technology
PublisherIGI Global
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781605660882
StatePublished - 2008


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