David Victor’s LESCANT Model for International Business Communication

Victor, David A. 1992. International Business Communication. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers Inc.

LESCANT is an acronym that represents seven areas in which cultural issues arise when dealing with international business communication. The acronym stands for Language, Environment, Social Organization, Context, Authority, Non-Verbal, and Time. Dr. David A. Victor, who is a professor of management and the Director of International Business Programs at Eastern Michigan University, created the model.

Here is a brief review of some of the major ideas presented in the LESCANT model.

  • Language – sometimes cultures differ because of language differences. These include attitudes about your own language, insider relationships for those who speak a foreign language, decisions related to which language is used, and how to speak in ways that others will understand you.
  • Environment – this includes the physical reality such as size, surroundings, population density, climate, food, topography, etc.
  • Social Organization – this refers to how society is put together. This includes family, education, role of women, class systems, individualism, religion, etc.
  • Context – this refers to how directly people communicate ideas and words versus how important it is to build a “context” within that communication. Low context cultures focus on the actual words that are spoken, the rules that are written. Those words and rules determine appropriate behavior. High context cultures focus on the situation and shared knowledge, which is what will determine appropriate behavior.
  • Authority – this category deals with the role of authority figures and how power and decision making is accomplished. Authority also looks at leadership style and the relationship between bosses and their subordinates.
  • Non-Verbal – here we are looking at everything from dress and adornment to colors, touch, smell, and the quality of one’s voice.
  • Time – this category refers to how people divide time, how they schedule their activities, and how they organize their day.