Individualism vs Collectivism
Individualism and Collectivism Culture Abstract This essay discusses different aspects of Individualism and collectivism culture. Although every culture is different, Individualist and collectivism have a different implication for social organization. In this essay I able use my personal experience as a foreigner to help the readers understand the subject. In addition to the research I have done I was able to find information to help me fully understand how the two concepts impacted different countries such as the U. S.
A, China and Burkina Faso. There are about a hundred and nighty-six countries on this planet, each one of them has a variety of cultures and traditions. Cultures are typically divided into two categories: collectivist and individualist. Individualist cultures, such as those of the United Sates and Western Europe, value personal achievement resulting in a strong sense of competition. Collectivist cultures, such as those of China, Korea, and Japan, emphasize family and work group goals above individual needs or desires.
From a personal preference I would prefer a collectivist society but orders of social behavior change from culture to culture. I will now explain my experience coming in the United States to study. Being an international student from Burkina Faso, a country that has more than sixty ethnic groups with all different languages and dialects. I myself speak three languages, Moore my first and French second. The Western cultures are more individualist than collectivist Eastern cultures. The United States is considered to be an individualist country, so when I first got here, the transfer was very hard.
I met American friends at U. G. A, despite been very nice it was hard sometimes to understand each other, as our cultures are different. The terms individualism and collectivism are usually used to express different cultures. An individualistic culture is where individuals are said to be bounded, autonomous, distinct from others, and emphasizing one’s own goals and agency rather than those of others (Mascolo M. F. & Li J. , 2004, p. 27). As it was stated in the first paragraph the United States is listed as having an individualist society.
Some people would offer themselves, their family and friend as an anecdotal counter example to American individualism, but “both individualist and collectivist orientations may coexist within individuals cultures (Kim U. & Trandis H. C. & Choi S. C. , 1994, p. 123). For example; my best friend in Burkina Faso, born and raised there grew up to become an individualist. She say it herself, “I do not like to share”. A person may live in a traditionally collectivistic culture and may still express individualistic behaviors within that culture, just like my friend.
The culture in Burkina is known for being hostile and as for myself being born there, and having a total nine siblings, we all shared everything, such as cloth, food, toys and many other things. So growing in this environment I have learned to share not only with brother and sisters but sometimes cousins. The traditional views of individualism and collectivism suggest that Eastern countries will exhibit collectivistic tendencies while Western countries will exhibit individualistic tendencies (Parker R. S. , Haytko D. L. , & Hermans C. M. , 2009). According Sen L. H. (2004).
Being raised in a collectivist environment, the transition at UGA was a bit complicated. Many of my friends at UGA were born and raised in Georgia; some of them have a different way of approaching this subject. For example one of them had a total different situation than mine. He has 2 sisters and was told by his parents that if they each get something each of them have the right not to share. Since both individualist and collectivist orientations may coexist within the two cultures, it is practically impossible to say that everyone in western countries is an individualist or that everyone in eastern countries and Africa is a collectivist.
As a within the communities it might be possible. For example most of the time in my country if someone is getting married everyone is pretty much invited. One will have thousands of people at their wedding to show support to the newlyweds. Studies suggest the well educated are more individualistic than the less educated. City dwellers are more individualistic than rural residents. Men are more individualistic than women, and young more than old. Thus, we need to consider peoples’ experiences when interacting with them (Kanchier C. , 2007).
The same individualism that has led to disaster, such as the mortgage crisis, because it was pursued to excess will also be the source of America’s eventual resurgence. At its best, American individualism embraces the notion that every person matters. Increasingly, in American cities especially on the coasts, you will find that social categories are less important than individual histories. The U. S media will rather gossip about bill Clinton affair and Paris Hilton’s sex tapes than talk about important subjects that actually affects people’s life like the increasing dangerousness of tuberculosis as it becomes more immune to anti biotic.
By contrast, collectivist are connected and interdependent, stressing roles and relationship, more than individual uniqueness; they are principally motivated to pure group goals rather than their own (Mascolo M. F. & Li J. , 2004, p. 27). Like individualism, within every culture there will be both individualist and collectivist people. Now lets take a look at the aspect of collectivism in China. Chinese culture is indeed more collectivist than individualist, and individualist values such as self-interest tend not to be present. (Kim U. & Trandis H.
C. & Choi S. C. , 1994, p. 154). Hui in 1988 developed the individualism-collectivism scale (INDOL scale); it comprises six subscales purporting to measure a person’s collectivism orientation toward target groups (Kim U. & Trandis H. C. & Choi S. C. , 1994, p. 149). In his research Hui compared the scores of Chinese university students to those of American university students. Taken together, these results indicate that Chinese culture may be characterized as predominantly collectivist as well as anti-individualist. (Kim U. & Trandis H.
C. & Choi S. C. , 1994, p. 154) For example the Chinese culture divorce is considered be dishonorable they believe that the marriage of two people is the union of two families. According to Luke Metcalfe, 2013, the divorce rate in china is 0. 79 per 1000people. As compared to the U. S. it is very common and some areas considered the norm. Luke Metcalfe, 2013 stated that The U. S divorce rate is at 4. 95 per 1000 people, which is the highest country with divorce rate. Individualist and collectivism have a different implication for social organization.
The components of social organization presented in the book “Individualism and Collectivism” are very important; they are combined into more inclusive major components, of which there are five: values, autonomy/conformity, responsibility, achievement and self-reliance/interdependence. As an example of autonomy/conformity, an my best friend from Burkina Faso would want the right to privacy she believe that everyone should mind their own business. Their privacy should be respected. While on the other side I would believe that one’s business is also the business of the group; friends should be concerned with each other’s personal matters.
Individualism and Collectivism are both needed in a society, inside every cultures will exists both concepts. I was raised in a collectivist environment but could decide to become an individualist; it may be an unconscious choice, but it happens very frequently. The two concepts have their advantages and disadvantages. When I was a kid I wanted to learn how to rollerblade because my friends knew how to. I was too proud to ask for their help, so I have decided to teach myself how to uses the rollerblades. I certainly did, but at what cost? Multiple injuries and it took forever before I could really get the hint of it.
I now realize that it would have been less painful if I just asked my friends help. Because I believe that collective work can make one attain greater success. Because together we are stronger. It is important for us readers to remember that individualism and collectivism each serve their own purposes, they are part of the reasons why our society is the way it is today. References Kanchier, C. (2007, May 12). Are you part of collective? ; we are not all individualism. How you view your-self influences how you relate to others at work. The Gazette, p. . Kim U. & Trandis H. C. & Choi S. C. (1994). Individualism and collectivism. United States of America: SAGE. Mascolo M. F. & Li J. (2004). Culture and development selves: beyond dichotomization. San Francisco: Wiley company. NationMaste. (2003-2013). Luke Metcalfe. Retrieved from: http://www. nationmaster. com/graph/peo_div_rat-people-divorce-rate Parker R. S. , Haytko D. L. , & Hermans C. M. , (2009). Individualism and Collectivism: Reconsidering old Assumptions. Sen, L. H. (2004, May 7). Society needs individualism. The Straits Times, p.