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The Advantages and Disadvantages Of Individual And Collective Culture

24 Jul



Individualism can benefit the workplace because employees are looking to attract attention to their contributions and accomplishments. Subtle competition may inspire workers to contribute more, become more innovative or excel in their responsibilities. Strongly voiced opinions can lead to robust discussions and debates, resulting in processes that are more efficient. Individualism has its drawbacks, however. Resistance to cooperation can result in inferior products or services if employees aren’t working together. Powerful opinions can lead to workplace clashes with colleagues or managers. With individualism, people are expected to look after themselves and no one else. Individualistic workplaces value freedom, challenge and personal time. Motivators to perform well can be extrinsic; for example, workers may focus on learning material awards such as raises or promotions. Individualism in the workplace can also mean that employees have high standards for privacy and maintain strongly held opinions.

One of the benefits to collectivism is its emphasis on cooperation and teamwork. As some businesses shift away from traditional, hierarchical structures with clearly defined and maintained roles and responsibilities for workers, workplaces have become more collaborative. Multiple employees may work together to achieve satisfaction and quality for customers, rather than tending to their own clients and ignoring the needs of other customers. On the downside, shared responsibility may mean that the workplace engenders “free riders” who don’t fully complete duties, knowing that others will pick up the slack. Workers may feel less confident about suggesting innovations, and may be less inclined to increase contributions knowing that their individual efforts might not be recognized and rewarded. Collectivism can create strong ties of loyalty. In the workplace, collectivism can mean focusing on more intrinsic rewards, such as mastering a new skill or technique. Less emphasis is placed on maintaining and promoting personal opinions; instead, management emphasizes harmony and cooperation.

It’s possible to combine both collectivism and individualism in the workplace for a more balanced approach. For example, managers can assign large projects to teams that work cooperatively to share knowledge, skills and responsibilities. Individuals can still be evaluated on their contribution to the overall project, increasing accountability.


Read Previous: The Way to Avoid the Conflict when Transacting Business across Culture

The Way to Avoid The Conflict When Transacting Business Across Culture

24 Jul

Traditionally, the terms individualism and collectivism have been used to describe particular cultures. It is important to note that each individualist and collectivist culture is likely to have a unique aspect.

Additionally, within every culture there will be both individualist and collectivist people. However, a person may live in a traditionally collectivist culture although they may still express individualistic behaviors within that culture. How do they differ in the way human beings view themselves mean when transacting business across cultures? The following guidelines should help:

1.   When conducting business in individualist cultures

  • Focus on the transaction

Emphasize the contract or deal and support your proposal with hard data about short-term gains. Remember that business people from individualist cultures focus on the transaction and measure results within a short window of time.

  • Use data and logic

Appeal to competitiveness and present facts, numbers, statistics, benchmarks, best practices, comparative analyses. Construct your persuasive argument using linear, cause/effect logic.

  • Communicate directly

Prefer direct, clear, explicit messages. Remember that silence can cause discomfort and doubt.

  • Value time

Business people from individualist culture tend to be impatient: they view time as a precious commodity. To avoid potential misunderstanding, estimate the length of time required for decision or a task, build in “wiggle room” (consider doubling the estimate), and give a precise date by which an answer will be forthcoming.

2.   When conducting business in collective cultures

  • Allow time for relationship building

Take plenty of time to develop the relationship; remember that trust is critical to business. Emphasize collaboration, mutual benefits, and potential long-term growth.

  • Focus on the context of business relationship

Pay strict attention to form, protocol, and etiquette; these are essential to preserve “face”—personal identity and dignity. Provide a historical perspective and share background so that your business partners from collective cultures see linkages and connections.

  • Make decisions consensually contextually, and for the term

Be prepared to allot a liberal amount of time to repeated presentation and discussion of the particulars of a deal.

  • Communicate indirectly

Use silence to enhance comfort level in face-to-face communications. Remember that the goals of communicators  from collective cultures—to enhance harmony, preserve face, and provide context for the message—are better served by indirect and personal (rather than direct and objective) messages.

  • Avoid direct question

Avoid asking questions that call for responses identifying accountably. Members of collective cultures are loath to assign blame and are anxious to protect the personal dignity of all members of their group.

  • Be patient

Plan to spend double the amount of time you think necessary on trips, meetings, presentations, and Q & A sessions. Members of collective cultures tend to view time as flexible, experiential, and plentiful—“When God made time, he made plenty of it” (Chinese proverb)

By knowing, the characteristic or typical of these two differences cultures, we can understand and know how to react when transacting business across cultures. Furthermore, we can avoid the conflict or misunderstanding between them.


Read Previous: Differences between Individual and Collective Culture

Read Next: The Advantages  and Disadvantages Of  Individual And Collective Culture

Difference between Individual and Collective Culture

24 Jul


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1.      Individual Cultures

  • The pivotal unit is the individual

The goal in the most individualist cultures is to develop responsible citizens capable of assuming accountability for personal problems and issues.

  • Life Decisions: Professional and carrier choices, selection of marriage partners. And decisions about cindering practices are normally made by the individual with independence as the life goal.
  • Individual identity: Individualist culture value individual over group identity. Therefore individual rights and needs take precedence over group rights and needs.
  • Breakable contracts: many people in individualist cultures view all relationship as contracts that can be broken whenever one party chooses: even family relationship or intimate friendship may be severed if they threaten personal goals.

Space and privacy are important

Because individualist cultures value personal freedom, most of them have a greater physical space and privacy requirement than that seen in collective cultures. For example Americans value privacy so greatly that they have made it law: the fourth amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable search and seizure.

This regiment for privacy can be seen in both business and personal environments:

  • In the home: individual bedroom are considered essential and privacy is viewed as critical to peaceful family life.
  • In the office: private offices counter status. Closed doors signal a desire for privacy: entering without knocking is unacceptable.
  • In crowds: crowding is perceived as invasive. And when it is unavoidable-in subways or elevators-strict rules (maintaining a rigid body. Avoiding eye contact. Facing the exit door) govern personal behavior.

Communication tends to be direct, explicit and personal.

One of the most powerful ways in which human being express their individuality is through communication. How you express your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and feelings is what makes you unique.

  • Direct explicit messages: because individualist cultures value what is unique or unusual about people. They expect communication to reflect the speaker or writer and appreciate clear, direct, and explicit communication that can be decoded easily.
  • Linear logic: most individualist cultures have western European roots: western logic emphasizes a linear. Cause-and-effect through pattern.
  • Personal accountability: messages are expected to capture personal opinion and express personal accountability. Thus although individuals may “sell” themselves and assert their accomplishments in resumes and interviews, they will also assume responsibility for mistakes.

Business Is transactional and competitive

Results are paramount. It is the deal that counts and business is commonly transacted by scrutinizing facts (due diligence credit reports, quarterly earnings) and technical competence (past experience, educational credentials)

  • Measurable results: the focus of businesses on results and success is measured by quantifying profit productivity, customer base, or market share.
  • Competitiveness: the belief is that competition ensures results. Transactions can be cancelled and contracts can be broken if result don’t meet expectations.
  • Separation or relationship and business contracts: business people from individualist cultures tend to separate their professional and personal live. Te business deal from the relationship. The goal is the contract, the transaction or the sale the relationship is often avoided; they are seen as muddying the waters, as interfering with objectivity.

2.      Collective Cultures

The pivotal unit is the group

Members of collective cultures see themselves as elements in a closely knit network with others: they are part of a strong cohesive unit (family, clan, profession, corporation, religion) that protects and supports them throughout their lives in exchange for their loyalty.

  • Group decisions: The individual consults other before making decision. Relies on the group for a broader perspective and give priority to group over individual needs. Focusing on purely individual need is considered selfish, egotistical and myopic.
  • Collective values: The “We” is emphases over the “I” and group rights and needs dominate. Values cherished by collective cultures are harmony. Personal dignity or “face” filial piety and respect for elders, equitable distribution of rewards among the group and fulfillment of the needs of others.

In the collectivist Indian culture. The Hindi will first give you his or her caste identity then his or her village name and finally his or her name signaling the importance of family over personal identity.


Space and privacy are less important than relationship

Collective cultures generally need less space than cultures that value individualism. After all, if the group u are part of is import to you. You may well want to be physically close to its members.

The Javanese live in small bamboo walled houses that have no interior walls or doors. Except for the bathroom there are no private areas. Several anthropologists theorize that because the Javanese have no Physical privacy. They have developed a kind of psychological privacy in their everyday behaviors and communication. They speak softly conceal their feelings are emotionally restrained and are Indirect in their verbal and nonverbal communication.

Tolerance for shared space in collective cultures occurs in both business and personal environments:

  • In the home: many members of collective cultures have homes that contain one large living area where members eat, sleeps and interact as a group. They often live together in extended family groups, tribes, or clans, and seem to prize personal space less than members of individualist cultures.
  • In the office: private offices are far less common and are normally reserved for meetings with clients. Members of collective cultures often work together at large tables in an open plan office set-up. They spend a great deal of social time with work mates and professional colleagues: in fact, it is often during this social time that new ideas are discussed, conflicts are resolved and decisions are facilitated.
  • In crowds: the following example shows how people from collective cultures view crowding.

Business travelers often comment with amazement on how people sit in Chinese airplanes. The plane may be virtually empty, yet most Chinese travelers will sit very close together in a tightly knit group. Invariably, Western travelers will spread themselves out; even people traveling together and conversing during the flight will leave at least one seat between them.

Communication is intuitive, complex, and impressionistic

Explicit and direct communications is less important in collective cultures.

  • Indirect, ambiguous messages: meaning is often implicit, inferred, transmitted ”between the lines” When a definite messages is required it is subtle, rendered indirectly or ambiguously. The underlying belief is that communication should not be used merely to deliver content: it should nurture the relationship. Maintain harmony and prevent loss of face (personal identity or dignity) by diffusing personal responsibility.
  • Circuitous logic: because reality is considered complex. The logic that is employed is seldom linear or cause/effect. Situations or problems are presented holistically, within a larger context. Thus communicators from collective cultures may seem to favor rambling or metaphorical statement.

The other in which information is presented in Japanese sentences is different. In English important tend to be given first with less important items tacked on the end. In Japanese less important items are gotten out of the way first. Setting the stage for the important information, this comes at the end. The Japanese hint at what has to be done and even the hints are softened by using impersonal statements in passive constructions.

Business is relational and collaborative

Most collective cultures believe that relationship, rather than deals or contracts, facilitate results.

  • Subordination of data: although facts are not ignored and extensive information gathering and research are common, this of hard data is not considered objective or impersonal because word and arguments are not spate from the personal expressing them.
  • Relational interpretation of data: collective cultures do not see facts as outside and part from the relationship. Statistical information and analytical measurement are not as important to existing relationship as trust and loyalty. Logic and reasoning by themselves may not persuade; the context of the relationship gives them meaning and weight.
  • Impassion the long term: the focus is on the relationship, the process, growth over time and building equity. Decisions are not hurried as consensus is considered desirable.

Where relationships are paramount the consensus of the group is important; after the entire group will be involved in maintaining and growing an exiting relationship. Thus, the Japanese “ringi-seido” method of obtaining consensus stresses “nemawa-shi” a word that means carefully shaping the roots of a plant to produce the desired result. The belief is that successful implementation of a decision (the plant) regress buy-in from all members in the group (the roots).


Read Previous: What are the individual and collective cultures?

Read Next: The Way to Avoid The Conflict When Transacting Business Across Culture

What Are the Individual and Collective Culture?

24 Jul


An individualistic culture is a culture in which the members’ primary focus is that of themselves and their immediate families. In contrast to collectivist cultures, where the members are concerned more with the well being of the group than their own well being.

In individualistic societies, the goals of individuals are valued more highly than the goals of the group. Individuals are rewarded for behaving independently, making their own plans, and working toward achieving their personal goals. In these societies, individuals are hired and promoted largely based on individual achievement and qualifications. Individualist countries tend to be rich. Countries high on individualism (top 10) include: USA, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, and France.


In collectivist societies, on the other hand, the needs of the group are considered more important than those of the individual. In these societies, kinship ties are much stronger and may take precedence over expertise in matters of appointments and promotions. Generally, collectivist countries tend to be poor. Countries high on collectivism include: Guatemala, Equador, Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Peru, and Taiwan.


Read Previous: (Introduction of) Individual and Collective Culture

Read Next: Differences between Individual and Collective Culture

Individual and Collective Cultures

24 Jul



He who runs alone will win the raceAmerican Proverb

The sheep that’s separate from the flock is eaten by the wolf —Turkish Proverb


Looking at the two proverbs above, we can correctly find the distinction between these countries—America and Turkey. We can know that each America and Turkey has different societal structures, business norms and ways of forming relationships. Analyzing cultural norms is not a means to determine a ‘model’ way of life, but it is a way of understanding how countries and individuals interact on a local, national and international scale. Turkey and the America are leading global super powers, and yet they have very different cultural practices. Not only between America and Turkey, but we can also see the differentiation between country such as Australia, Great Britain, Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Italy, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France and some other country like Guatemala, Equador, Panama, Venezuela, Columbia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Peru, and Taiwan.

Again, from the proverbs above, we can conclude that America and Turkey (and of course the other country) have different concepts of the definition of “self”. Each country has their own different view of life—and their way of conducting business. Some country belongs to individual culture and some other belongs to collective culture.


Looking at those differences, it is important to study more about Individual culture and Collective culture. The writer wants to reveal the explanation of each Individual and Collective cultures, the difference between them, the way to avoid the misunderstanding when they are transacting business around culture, and the advantages and disadvantages of them one by one.


Read Next: What are the individual and collective culture?


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