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The Many Dimensions of Culture

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1 The Many Dimensions of Culture
By Harry C Triandis

2 Individualism-Collectivism Dimension
GREECE vs ILLINOIS Behave differently between the two groups interact more with ingroup > outgroup

3 GREECE vs ILLINOIS Act according to norm.
What should I do? > What would I like to do? Define themselves in more social terms. “How much do you earn per month?” is acceptable for the Greece in the first encounter but not in America.

Triandis is a psychologist The study of culture back then was not popular. “This would not make sense in X culture - Some theories would not fit in some cultures The majority view was that “culture is none of our business.” The minority view held that culture is so pervasive that all psychology should be a cultural psychology.

Culture was thought of “out there.” A major turning point occurred when culture started to be conceived of as “inside” the person. Out there VS Inside Cultural Psychology >> Cross-cultural psychology >> not “mainstream” yet.

6 THE TURNING POINT There are major cultural differences in cognition, emotion, and motivation. “Psychologists suddenly realized that what was considered universal in psychology is true only in the West, eg., in Individualistic cultures; it is not valid everywhere.” Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology – have to be changed so many times due to other author being late and culture changed.

The emphasis on the distinction between the cultural and individual levels of analysis. Individualism and Collectivism was split into many facets These factors were no longer on the opposite. A person can be high in both collectivism and individualism at the same time.

8 THE DETRACTORS Detractors “The perfect is the enemy of the good”
Creative VS Critical “The perfect is the enemy of the good” Hofstede’s work has become the standard against which new work on cultural differences is validated.

9 The most important dimension
INDIVIDUALISM and COLLECTIVISM: The most important dimension There are scores of dimensions in cultural variations: Primary Secondary

Research Difference in perceptions and behavior. Within culture, there are idiocentric and allocentric individuals. Tendencies towards idiocentrism or allocentrism are influenced by many factors.

11 1. Difference in Perceptions and Behavior
Collectivist Tendency to emphasize on context Behavior seen as due to external factors such as norms and roles Individualist Tendency to emphasize on Content Behavior as due to internal factors such as attitudes and personality.

12 2. Within culture, there are idiocentric and allocentric individuals
Idiocentrics Think, feel and behave like people in individualist cultures Individualist % idiocentrics; collectivist 0-35% idiocentrics. High in expressiveness, dominance, initiation of action, aggressiveness, logical arguments, regulation of flow of communication, eye contact, teneded to finish the task, and had strong opinions. Allocentrics Tend to behave like people in collectivist cultures Collectivist cultures have between % Allocentrics; Individualist cultures have somewhere in between 0-35% allocentrics. High on accomadating and avoidance of argument, and shift their opinions more easily.

13 3. Tendencies towards idiocentrism or allocentrism are influenced by many factors
Idiocentrics Increases with affluence, leadership roles, much education, has done much international travel, has been socially mobile. Increases when a person has been greatly exposed to western mass media or has been in western culture for many years. Allocentrics Increases when a person has been financially dependent on some ingroup, is of low social class, has limited education, has done little travel and has been socialized in a unilateral family Increases when a person usually stays in a collectivist culture.

14 An important cultural dimension
POWER DISTANCE An important cultural dimension The dimension interacts with individualism and collectivism in interesting ways resulting the following:- Horizontal individualism Vertical individualism Horizontal collectivism Vertical collectivism

15 Implications for working in another culture:
In Individualist cultures, people were selected based on individual attributes while in collectivist cultures people were selected based on group memberships. There is more training in collectivist cultures because people tend to be more loyal to the organization.

16 Implications for working in another culture:
Paternalism is a more common leadership style in collectivist than in individualist cultures. In collectivist cultures, bosses are more involved in personal lives of employees. Managers in collectivist cultures are not as concerned with performance but rather interpersonal relationships unlike managers in individualist cultures are.

17 Implications for working in another culture:
As countries become more affluent, their populations become more individualist. However, this change requires several generations. Individualism-collectivism dimension also has some relevance when it comes to deception in organizations. Triandis et all found that people in vertical collectivist cultures are likely to use deception if it helps their ingroup. In the case of vertical idiocentrics, competitiveness and the need to be the best seem to be the factors that increase the use of deception. 

Tight and Loose Cultures The tight and loose culture has some major cultural differences. - Tight Culture: Many rules, norms, and standards for correct behaviors Eg. There are strict rules about how to smile or bow - Loose Culture: Few rules, norms, and standards2

When people do not follow a rule, break the norms, or ignore standard. - Tight Culture: People are likely to be criticized, punished, or killed - Loose Culture: “It does not matter.” For a culture to be tight, it requires agreement about norms and cultural homogeneity. Normally, in cultures with high population density, tightness is particularly functional.

20 Example of Tight vs Loose Cultures
Japan Taliban (Afghanistan) Loose Thailand America Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance is related to tightness. In cultures high in UA, people want to have structure, to know precisely how they are supposed to behave.

21 Other Dimensions of Cultural Variation
Cultural Complexity and Tightness- looseness relates to collectivism-individualism: Collectivist cultures = tight and simple Individualist cultures = loose and complex Masculinity-Femininity dimension Masculinity correlates with domestic political violence.

22 The Influences of Hofstede’s Dimensions
The Hofstede’s dimensions are relevant to how people function in industrial society. Hofstede’s dimensions influence psychological processes and organizational behaviors in many cultures. The dimensions have generated many researches and have been highly influential in all the social science.

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