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Hofstede’s value dimensions (1)

(2007-12-14 21:34:56)
分类: 课程:跨文化交际
 

                 Hofstede’s value dimensions (1)

 

1.       Individualism—collectivism

Although Hofstede is often given credit for investigating the concepts of individualism and collectivism, he is not the only scholar who has researched these crucial intercultural dimensions. Triandis, for example, has derived an entire cross-cultural research agenda that focuses on these concepts. Therefore , we use Hofstede’s work as our basic organizational scheme; we also examine the findings of Triandis and others. Although we speak of individualism and collectivism as if they are separate entities, it is important to keep in mind that all people and cultures have both individual and collective dispositions.

  Having already discussed individualism earlier in the chapters, we need only touch on some of its constituents: the individual is the single most important unit in any social setting, regardless of the size of that unit, and the uniqueness of each individual is of paramount value. According to Hofstede’s findings, the United States, Australia, Great Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and New Zealand tend toward individualism.

  In cultures that tend toward individualism, an “I” consciousness prevails: competition rather than cooperation is encouraged; personal goals take precedence over group goals; people tend not to be emotionally dependent on organizations and institutions; and every individual has the right to his or her private property, thoughts, and opinions. These cultures stress individual initiative and achievement, and they value individual decision making. When thrust into a situation that demands a decision, people from cultures that stress this trait are often at odds with people from collective cultures.

  Collectivism is characterized by a rigid social framework that distinguishes between in-groups and out-groups. People count on their in-group (relatives, clans, organizations ) to look after them, and in exchange for that they believe they owe absolute loyalty to the group. Triandis offers an excellent summary of this situation:

   Collectivism means greater emphasis on (a) the views, needs, and goals of the in-group rather than oneself; (b) social norms and duty defined by the in-group rather than behavior to get pleasure; (c) beliefs shared with the in-group rather than beliefs that distinguish self from in-group; and (d) great readiness to cooperate with in-group members.

   In collective societies such as those in Pakistan, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru, people are born into extended families or clans that support and protect them in exchange for their loyalty. A “we” consciousness prevails: identity is based on the social system; the individual is emotionally dependent on organizations and institutions; the culture emphasizes belonging to organizations; organizations invade private life and the clans to which individuals belong; and individuals trust group decisions. Collective behavior, like so many aspects of culture, has deep historical roots. Look at the message of collectivism in these words from Confucius: “If one wants to establish himself, he should help others to establish themselves at first.”

   As is the case with all cultural patterns, collectivism influences a number of communication variables. Kim, Sharkey, and Singles, after studying the Korean culture, believe that traits such as indirect communication, saving face, concern for others, and group cooperation are linked to the collective orientation found in the Korean culture.

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