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Individualism versus Collectivism

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Emilia S

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of Individualism versus Collectivism

Individualism versus Collectivism
At School
At a workplace
Bibliography and literature:

1.Eupedia: http://www.eupedia.com/forum/threads/26956-Map-of-Individualism-(vs-Collectivism) [website]
2. Executive Book Summary: http://keithdwalker.ca/wp-content/summaries/1-c/Cultures%20and%20Organizations.Hofstede.EBS.pdf [website]
3.Hofstede G.: Cultures and Organisations: Software of the mind. Harper Collins, London 1994.
4. Hofstede's Official website: http://geert-hofstede.com/countries.html [website]
of national culture
Power Distance
Uncertainty Avoidance
relates to the relationship between the individual and the group
which can be defined as a preference for a loosely-knit social framework in which individuals are expected to take care of themselves and their immediate families only.

Individualism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs to him and that he has a right to live it as he sees fit, to act on his own judgment and to pursue the values of his choosing.

Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onward are integrated into strong and cohesive in-groups, which throughout people’s lifetimes continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.

Collectivism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs not to him but to the group or society of which he is merely a part, that he has no rights, and that he must sacrifice his values and goals for the group’s “greater good".
Strongly individualistic people leave the parental home at a younger age, would rather choose to live alone, are more flexible about moving to another city or country, and prefer travelling by themselves than with a group or organised tour.
Collectivist people care more about personal ties, belonging to a group, feeling accepted and respected within the group, but tend to distrust people outside their group. Collectivists are first and foremost approval seekers, who care about their image and what others think of them.
In the Family
The size of the family
Personal Opinions
Rituals, Communication and shame/guilt cultures
"Face" and "Self-respect"
Interesting concept in the collectivist family is “face”. It is said that person can “lose its face” in sense of being humiliated. As David Yau-Fai Ho – a Hong Kong social scientist said ”face is lost when the individual, either through his action or that people closely related him, fails to meet essential requirements placed upon him by virtue of the social position he occupies”

The counterpart characteristic in the individualist society id “self-respect” and it is defined from the point of view of the individuals, whereas “face” is defined from the point of view of the social environment.
Most children are born into families consisting of
parents and, possibly, other children. Other relatives live elsewhere and are rarely seen.
This type is the
nuclear family.
Children from such families soon learn to think of themselves as

The first group in our lives is always family but family structures differ between societies. In most collectivist societies 'the family' consists of a number of people living closely together, not only parents and children but for example grandparents, uncles, aunts or other housemates. This is known as the
extended family.

Children learn to think in terms of
as it's the only secure protection one has against the hardships of life.

In individualist cultures it is a normal thing to speak one’s mind. People there talk about their feelings, are honest and sincere. Children are learnt to always tell the truth, even if it hurts.
In collectivist culture “personal opinions” do not exist – they’re predetermined by the group. A Child whose opinions are different from what is collectively felt is considered to be bad a character. In contrast, in individualist family, children without their own position are considered to have a weak character.
In Collectivist family all sources, such as earnings are shared in the group. So members of family often send their children to school to get educated and then they’re expecting that in the future their income will be shared too.
In individualist cultures children taking small jobs and earning pocket-money can spend it however they want, there is no compulsion to share.
Rituals are essential in a collectivist society. Family celebrations like baptisms, marriages and especially funerals are extremely important and should not be missed. Collectivists ask employees for a special leave then which can be quite surprising for the individualists
In individualist culture silence is considered abnormal, but on the other hand in collectivist culture there is no compulsion to talk unless it’s necessary- being together is emotionally sufficient.
Shame/guilt cultures
Next important phenomena is the feel of shame or guilt. Collectivist societies are called
shame cultures
, because when one member of a group infringed upon the rules, then the whole group would feel ashamed. Individualist societies, on the contrary are
guilt cultures.
Person who infringe upon the rules of society will have a guilty conscience.
The purpose of education is perceived differently between the individualist and the collectivist society. The first one tries to show students
as the other one puts the stress on
things and there is adaptation to the skills and virtues to be an acceptable group member. It is strongly connected with tradition.
1. The desirability of having students speak up in class is more strongly felt in individualist culture.
2. Students are supposed to be treated as individuals.
3. They should be treated impartially, regardless of their background.
4. Group formation among students is according to the task, or to particular friendships and skills.
5. Confrontations and open discussion of conflicts are considered to be a part of lesson.

Collectivist culture students don’t like to speak up in larger groups made of outgroup members, BUT this hesitation decreases in smaller groups, when members can think of one joint answer and then present it loudly in front of the rest. Students also tend to take turns in group activities.
In this society it is important in which ethnic or clan background you are, because it forms subgroups in class. It interlinks with expectation of better treatment of some of those. In an individualist society it seems to be immoral, but it’s a normal behavior for collectivists.
The group’s honor is another important aspect. Conflicts and confrontations in collectivist society should be avoided or at least formulated so as not to hurt anyone. Offenders here are put in order by their ingroup members. Teachers treat student as a whole group, not as isolated individual.
The role of diploma
In the individualist society the diploma improves student’s self–respect, because it provides a sense of achievement.

In the collectivist society diploma is an honor to the holder and his or her ingroup. It also links with being more attractive marriage partner because of higher-status group.

Business relationship
Hiring process
In a collectivist culture the ingroup is always taken into account and the preference is usually given to
hiring relatives
, first of all of the employer but also other people employed in the given company. Hiring a person from an already known family is known to reduce risks and, in case of some member of the family’s misbehavior, relatives often help to correct in order to improve the family’s reputation.
In the individualist society family relationships are highly undesirable at work because of possibility of nepotism and conflicts of interest. Some companies have also the rule that if one employee marries another, one of them has to leave the company.
In an
culture subordinates can usually be moved around individually and if they are given incentives or bonuses, it is because of an individual performance
In a
culture the bonuses or incentives are always given to whole group, not to individuals. In a collectivist culture it is always a matter of the whole group’s performance.
When it comes to
ethnic and other differences,
they tend to play an integrating role and managers within a collectivist culture will be attentive to such factors.
Workers from the same ethnic backgrounds are often put together into one crew because it makes a
perfect sense in a collectivist society
, but in an individualist one it is often demanded to do
the opposite way.
In a
collectivist society
a relationship of trust should be established with another person before any business can be done. Through this relationship the other is adopted into one’s group and from that moment onwards is entitled to preferential treatment. The personal relationship prevails over the task and should be established first.

In an i
ndividualist society
preferential treatment of one customer over others is considered bad business practice and unethical. The task is supposed to prevail over any per­sonal relationships.

- sociological term connected with
collectivist cultures;
treating one’s friend better than others is natural and ethical and sounds business practice.

In a
collectivist society
the workplace itself become an ingroup in the emotional sense of the word. The relationships between employees and employers are seen in moral terms and they are
pretty similar to the relationships between members of family
where loyalty is exchanged for mutual obligations of protection. If the employee’s performance is poor, it is no reason for dismissal (one does not dismiss their child), however, performance and skills tend to determine tasks being assigned to a given employee.
In individualist societies the norm is that one should treat everybody alike. In sociological jargon this is known as

individualist cultures
the relationships between employees and employers resemble a business transaction between buyers and sellers on a ‘labor market’. Poor performance of the employee or a better pay offer from another employer are socially accepted for terminating a work relationship.
Employed persons in an individualist culture are expected to act according to their own interest.
Work should be organized in such a way that this self-interest and the employer's interest coincide.
Workers are supposed to act as 'economic men', or people with a combination of economic and psychological needs, but in either case as individuals with their own needs.

In collectivist countries state organizations are mostly based on family values where harmony is the basic element because a person is always responsible for their actions and the actions of the member of the same group and without a harmony there is no cooperation within the group.


collectivist countries
, especially non-democratic the press is controlled by the government. Any information should be accepted by the government first, before it is put to the TV, radio or Internet, otherwise it is banned.

individualist cultures
on the other hand, there is a freedom of speech and a possibility of expressing one’s opinion, which is a crucial part of every individualist society.

In a
collectivist society
lobbies are the main way of expressing the group’s political interests and needs because of group being the main source of interest and political power.
In a
collectivist culture,
economy is based on the needs of group and is controlled by the government. Sometimes state interferates so much into the given country’s economy that sometimes theire is no free market and not much competition.

In an
individualist countries
economy is based on the needs of individuals and the state hardly ever interferates into it, so there is a free market and a lot of competition.
individualist countries
even groups are seen as groups of individuals in which every individual has their own interest, personal opinion, needs and identity. One always has their own needs, desires and an opinion about a particular subject.
In a
collectivist society
the people belonging to a particular group do not have any their own interests to be demanded. However, they all share the interest of the group. As the lack of their own interest is present, they also have no personal opinions.
In the
individualist countries
every citizen is known to have a right to express themselves, so the conclusion is that electorate equals individuals.
Individualism Index
All wealthy countries score high on IDV while nearly all poor countries score low. There is a strong relationship between a country's national wealth and the degree of individualism in its culture.

Thank you for your attenion
Presentation prepared by:
Małgorzata Mińczuk
Urszula Oleksicka
Urszula Iwanowska
Adrianna Kołosowska
Emilia Stankiewicz
Full transcript