Collectivism is a cultural value that is characterized by emphasis on cohesiveness among individuals and prioritization of the group over self. Individuals or groups that subscribe to a collectivistic worldview tend to find common values and goals as particularly salient and demonstrate greater orientation toward in-group than toward out-group. The term “in-group” is thought to be more diffusely defined for collectivistic individuals to include societal units ranging from the nuclear family to a religious or racial/ethnic group. Meta-analytic findings support that collectivism shows a consistent association with discrete values, interpersonal patterns of interaction, cognition, perception and self-construal. Collectivism is often discussed alongside the cultural value of individualism, but these are two distinct concepts and are not considered to be opposites.
Origins and historical perspectives
The German sociologist Tönnies described an early model of collectivism and individualism using the terms Gemeinschaft (community) and Gesellschaft (society). Gemeinschaft relationships, in which communalism is prioritized, were thought to be characteristic of small, rural village communities. An anthropologist, Redfield (1941) echoed this notion in work contrasting folk society with urban society.
Weber (1930) contrasted collectivism and individualism through the lens of religion, believing that Protestants were more individualistic and self-reliant compared to Catholics, who endorsed hierarchical, interdependent relationships among people.
Hofstede (1980) was highly influential in ushering in an era of cross-cultural research making comparisons along the dimension of collectivism versus individualism. Hofstede conceptualized collectivism and individualism as part of a single continuum, with each cultural construct representing an opposite pole. The author characterized individuals that endorsed a high degree of collectivism as being embedded in their social contexts and prioritizing communal goals over individual goals. The notion that collectivism-individualism is unidimensional has been challenged by contemporary theorists.
Collectivism was an important part of Marxist–Leninist ideology in the Soviet Union, where it played a key part in forming the New Soviet man, willingly sacrificing his or her life for the good of the collective and fully replaceable. Terms such as "collective" and "the masses" were frequently used in the official language and praised in agitprop literature, for example by Vladimir Mayakovsky (Who needs a "1") and Bertolt Brecht (The Decision, Man Equals Man).
Terminology and measurement
The construct of collectivism is represented in empirical literature under several different names. Most commonly, the term interdependent self-construal is used. Other phrases used to describe the concept of collectivism-individualism include allocentrism-idiocentrism, collective-private self, as well as subtypes of collectivism-individualism (meaning, vertical and horizontal subtypes). Inconsistent terminology is thought to account for some of the difficulty in effectively synthesizing the empirical literature on collectivism.
Typically, collectivism is measured via self-report questionnaire. Meta-analytic findings suggest that there are six instruments that have been used to measure collectivism (and the related construct of individualism) in a manner that best reflects current theoretical thinking.
- Gudykunst and colleagues developed a 28-item measurement tool that rates items on a scale from 1-7. Interdependent and independent self-construal subscales are produced. Sample items from the interdependent subscale include, "I maintain harmony in the groups of which I am a member" and "I will sacrifice my self-interest for the benefit of the group."
- Kim and Leung developed the Revised Self-Construal Scale, which is a 28-item measure that produces Interdependent and independent self-construal subscales. Sample items from the interdependent subscale include, "I feel uncomfortable disagreeing with my group" and "My relationships with others in my group are more important than my personal accomplishments."
- Oyserman developed a measure containing 18 items rated on a five-point Likert scale which produces collectivism and individualism subscales. An example item from the collectivism subscale include "In order to really understand who I am, you must see me with members of my group."
- Singelis developed the 24-item Self-Construal Scale, which rates items on a scale from 1-7. Items from the interdependent subscale include, "My happiness depends on the happiness of those around me" and "If my brother or sister fails, I feel responsible."
- Takata developed a 20-item measure that was originally published in Japanese. It contains a collectivism and an individualism subscale.
- Triandis developed a 12-item measure that produces collectivism and individualism subscales. The person completing the question is asked "Are you a person who is likely to..." and then asked to rate a number of scenarios. Examples of scenarios that if endorsed would indicate greater adherence to collectivism include "Stay with friends, rather than at a hotel, when you go to another town (even if you have plenty of money)."
In one critical model of collectivism, Markus and Kitayama describe the interdependent (i.e., collectivistic) self as fundamentally connected to the social context. As such, one’s sense of self depends on and is defined in part by those around them and is primarily manifested in public, overt behavior. As such, the organization of the self is guided by using others as a reference. That is, an interdependent individual uses the unexpressed thoughts, feelings, and beliefs of another person with whom they have a relationship with, as well as the other person’s behaviors, to make decisions about their own internal attributes and actions.
Markus and Kitayama also contributed to the literature by challenging Hofstede’s unidimensional model of collectivism-individualism. The authors conceptualized these two constructs bidimensionally, such that both collectivism and individualism can be endorsed independently and potentially to the same degree. This notion has been echoed by other prominent theorists in the field.
Some researchers have expanded the collectivism-individualism framework to include a more comprehensive view. Specifically, Triandis and colleagues introduced a theoretical model in which incorporates the notion of relational contexts. The authors argues that the domains of collectivism and individualism can be further described by horizontal and vertical relationships. Horizontal relationships are believed to be status-equal whereas vertical relationships are characterized as hierarchical and status-unequal. As such, horizontal collectivism is manifested as an orientation in which group harmony is highly valued and in-group members are perceived to experience equal standing. Vertical collectivism involves the prioritization of group goals over individual goals, implying a hierarchical positioning of the self in relation to the overarching in-group. The horizontal-vertical individualism-collectivism model has received empirical support and has been used to explore patterns within cultures.
Originated by W. E. B. DuBois, some researchers have adopted a historical perspective on the emergence of collectivism among some cultural groups. DuBois and others argued that oppressed minority groups contend with internal division, meaning that the development of self-identity for individuals from these groups involves the integration of one’s own perceptions of their group as well as typically negative, societal views of their group. This division is thought to impact goal formation such that people from marginalized groups tend to emphasize collectivistic over individualistic values.
Some organizational research has found different variations of collectivism. These include institutional collectivism and in-group collectivism. Institutional collectivism is the idea that a work environment creates a sense of collectivist nature due to similar statuses and similar rewards, such as earning the same salary. In-group collectivism is the idea that an individual's chosen group of people, such as family or friend groups, create a sense of collectivist nature. In-group collectivism can be referred to as family collectivism.
A number of classic studies have demonstrated that there is a relationship between collectivism and cognition. These studies support the notion that people from collectivistic cultures tend to demonstrate a holistic cognitive style, which is reflected in processes such as memory, visual perception, attributional style, and categorization schemas. This effect has been replicated extensively by independent research groups, supporting its robustness.
- Memory: Masuda and Nisbett showed that Japanese students, who were presumed to hold greater collectivistic views, demonstrated greater attention to the context in which a visual stimulus was embedded and resultantly, exhibited more holistic memory compared to North American students.
- Visual perception: During a “rod and frame” test, in which a person is asked to determine the angle of a rod in relation to a frame, East Asian participants were more likely be “field dependent” than Americans, meaning that they were more biased by the orientation of the frame. Again, these findings suggest that people from more collectivistic cultures tend to be more context dependent in their perception than people from more individualistic cultures.
- Attributional style: Participants were shown a picture of a group of fish and asked to rate the reasons they believed one fish was swimming in front of the group. Chinese participants were more likely to endorse external forces (for example, “the fish is being chased”) compared to Americans, who endorsed more internal forces (for example, “the fish is a leader”).
- Categorization schemas: Collectivism has been shown to influence how people sort and group. Individuals who are more collectivistic tend to think about the relationship of objects and sort on that basis rather than by shared properties. For example, when Chinese children were asked to indicate which two objects were alike from a cow, chicken, and a patch of grass, most selected the cow and the grass. When probed about the reasons for this grouping, it was explained that cows eat grass.
Development of self-concept
An individual’s self-concept can be fundamentally shaped by cultural values. Such processes typically begin in childhood and adolescence and parents are often one of the first critical inputs that shape a child’s sense of self-concept. Parents with more collectivistic world views have been shown to speak and interact with their children in a manner that conveys the core tenets of collectivism, such as emphasis on the relationships between objects and interpersonal connections. As such, youth who are parented in this manner tend to develop a sense of self that is defined in relation to others. This sense of self also has been found to be reflected in patterns of structural and functional connectivity in the brain. For example, generally the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC) is more active when adults think about themselves compared to when they think about someone else. However, for adults who endorse collectivism, the MPFC actually shows greater response when they think about themselves in the context of their close relationships.
Cultural views are believed to have a reciprocal relationship with macro-level processes such as economics, social change, and politics. The collectivism-individualism dimension of culture influences economic development: collectivistic culture theoretically promotes growth. For instance, the influence of the collectivist dimension of culture can be observed among the European Union economies: countries which societies are less individualistic record faster economic development, at the expense of individual liberty. Societal changes in China exemplifies this well. Beginning in the early 1980s, China experienced dramatic expansion of economic and social structures, resulting in greater income inequality between families, less involvement of the government in social welfare programs, and increased competition for employment. Corresponding with these changes was a shift in ideology among Chinese citizens, especially among those who were younger, away from collectivism (the prevailing cultural ideology) toward individualism. China also saw this shift reflected in educational policies, such that teachers were encouraged to promote the development of their students’ individual opinions and self-efficacy, which prior to the aforementioned economic changes, was not emphasized in Chinese culture.
Attempts to study the association of collectivism and political views and behaviors has largely occurred at the aggregate national level. However, more isolated political movements have also adopted a collectivistic framework. For example, Collectivist anarchism (also known as anarcho-collectivism) is a revolutionary anarchist doctrine that advocates the abolition of both the state and private ownership of the means of production. It instead envisions the means of production being owned collectively and controlled and managed by the producers themselves.
|Look up collectivism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Collectivism|
- Bureaucratic collectivism
- Collective guilt
- Collective identity
- Collective leadership
- Collective narcissism
- Collective responsibility
- Collectivist anarchism
- Collective ownership
- Cultural conservatism
- Hive mind
- Oligarchical Collectivism
- Primitive communism
- Social cohesion
- Social solidarity
- Utopian socialism
- Schwartz, S. H. (1990). "Individualism–collectivism: Critique and proposed refinements". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 21: 139–157. doi:10.1177/0022022190212001.
- Oyserman, D. (1993). "The lens of personhood: Viewing the self, others,and conflict in a multicultural society". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 65: 993–1009. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993.
- Hui, C. H. (1988). "Measurement of individualism–collectivism". Journal of Research in Personality. 22: 17–36. doi:10.1016/0092-6566(88)90022-0.
- Triandis, H. C. (1995). Individualism and Collectivism. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
- Oyserman, D., Coon, H., Kemmelmeier, M. (2002). "Rethinking individualism and collectivism: evaluation of theoretical assumptions and meta-analyses". Psychological Bulletin. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.128.1.3.
- Tönnies, F. (1957) . Community and association. New York: Harper Torchbooks.
- Redfield, R. (1941). The folk culture of Yucatán. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Weber, M. (1930). The Protestant ethic and the spirit of capitalism. New York: Routledge.
- Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's consequences. Beverly Hills: Sage.
- Overy, Richard. The Dictators: Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Russia. p. 301. ISBN 0-393-02030-4.
- Horn, Eva (2006). "Actors/Agents: Bertolt Brecht and the Politics of Secrecy". Grey Room. 24: 38–55. doi:10.1162/grey.2006.1.24.38.
- Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1991). "Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion, and motivation". Psychological Review. 98: 224–253. doi:10.1037/0033-295x.98.2.224.
- Triandis, H. C. (1983). Allocentric vs. idiocentric social behavior: A major cultural difference between Hispanics and mainstream (Technical reports). Champaign: Department of Psychology, University of Illinois.
- Trafimow, D., Triandis, H. C., & Goto, S. G. (1991). "Some tests of the distinction between the private self and the collective self". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 60: 649–665. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.529.
- Triandis, H. C., Bhawuk, D. P. S., & Gelfand, M. J. (1995). "Horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism: A theoretical and measurement refinement". Cross-Cultural Research. 29: 240–275.
- Taras; et al. (2014). "Opposite Ends of the Same Stick? Multi-Method Test of the Dimensionality of Individualism and Collectivism". Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. 45 (2): 213–245. doi:10.1177/0022022113509132.
- Gudykunst, W. G., Matsumoto, Y., Ting-Toomey, S., & Nishida, T. (1996). "The influence of cultural individualism-collectivism, self-construals, and individual values on communication styles across cultures". Human Communication Research. 22: 510–543. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2958.1996.tb00377.x.
- Kim, M. S., & Leung, K. (1997). A revised Self-Construal Scale. Honolulu: University of Hawaii at Manoa.
- Singelis, T. (1994). "The measurement of independent and interdependent self-construal". Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 20: 580–591. doi:10.1177/0146167294205014.
- Takata, T. (1993). "Social comparison and formation of self-concept in adolescent: Some findings about Japanese college students". Japanese Journal of Educational Psychology. 41: 339–348. doi:10.5926/jjep1953.41.3_339.
- Triandis, H. C. (1994). INDCOL (Unpublished research scale on individualism and collectivism). Champaign: University of Illinois.
- Markus, H. R., & Kitayma, S. (2010). "Cultures and selves: A cycle of mutual constitution". Perspectives on Psychological Science. 5 (4): 420–430. doi:10.1177/1745691610375557.
- Singelis, T. M., Triandis, H. C., Bhawuk, D. P. S., & Gelfand, M. J. (1995). "Horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism: A theoretical and measurement refinement". Cross-Cultural Research. 29: 240–275. doi:10.1177/106939719502900302.
- Komarraju, M., & Cokley, K. O. (2008). "Horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism–collectivism: A comparison of African Americans and European Americans". Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology. 14: 336–343. doi:10.1037/1099-9809.14.4.336.
- Lalwani, A. K., Shavitt, S., & Johnson, T. (2006). "What is the relation between cultural orientation and socially desirable responding?". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 90: 165–178. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.206.
- DuBois, W. E. B. (1969) . The souls of Black folk. New York: Signet.
- Gaines, Jr., S. O., & Reed, E. S. (1995). "Prejudice: From Allport to DuBois". American Psychologist. 50 (2): 96–103. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.50.2.96.
- Asante, M. K. (1981). "Black male and female relationships: An Afrocentric context". In Gray, L. Black men. Beverly Hills: Sage. pp. 75–82.
- Marin, G., & Marin, B. V. (1991). Research with Hispanic populations. Newbury Park: Sage.
- White, J. L., & Parham, T. A. (1990). The psychology of Blacks: An African American perspective. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.
- Wiggins, J. S. (1991). "Agency and communion as conceptual coordinates for the understanding and measurement of interpersonal behavior". In W. Grove & D. Cicchetti. Thinking clearly about psychology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
- House, Robert J.; Hanges, Paul J.; Javidan, Mansour; Dorfman, Peter W.; Gupta, Vipin (2004). Culture, Leadership, and Organizations. Sage Publications, Inc. p. 12.
- Brewer, Paul; Venaik, Sunil (April 2011). "Individualism-Collectivism in Hofstede and GLOBE". Palgrave Macmillan Journals. 42: 436–445. doi:10.1057/jibs.2010.62.
- Masuda, T., & Nisbett, R. E. (2001). "Attending holistically versus analytically: comparing the context sensitivity of Japanese and Americans". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 81 (5): 922–934. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.112.
- Ji, L. J., Peng, K., & Nisbett, R. E. (2000). "Culture, control, and perception of relationships in the environment". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 78: 943–955. doi:10.1037/0022-3518.104.22.1683.
- Kitayama, S., Duffy, S., Kawamura, T., & Larsen, J. T. (2003). "Perceiving an object and its context in different cultures: A cultural look at New Look". Psychological Science. 14: 201–206. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.02432.
- Morris, M., & Peng, K. (1994). "Culture and cause: American and Chinese attributions for social and physical events". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 67 (6): 949–971. doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1249.
- Chiu, L. H. (1972). "A cross-cultural comparison of cognitive styles in Chinese and American children". International Journal of Psychology. 7 (4): 235–242. doi:10.1080/00207597208246604.
- Ji, L. J., Zhang, Z., & Nisbett, R. E. (2004). "Is it culture, or is it language? Examination of language effects in cross-cultural research on categorization". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 87: 57–65. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.199.
- Knight, N., & Nisbett, R. E (2007). "Culture, class, and cognition: Evidence from Italy". Journal of Cognition and Culture. 7: 283–291. doi:10.1163/156853707x208512.
- Chiao, J. Y. (2017). "Cultural neuroscience of the developing brain in adolescence". In N. Budwig; E. Turiel; P. D. Zelazo. New Perspectives on Human Development. Cambridge University Press.
- Wang, Q., Shao, Y., & Li, Y. J. (2010). ""My way or mom's way?" The bilingual and bicultural self in Hong Kong Chinese children and adolescents". Child Development. 81 (2): 555–567. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01415.x.
- Wagner, D. D., Haxby, J. V., & Heatherton, T. F. (2012). "The representation of self and person knowledge in the medial prefrontal cortex". Wiley Interdisciplinary Review of Cognitive Science. 3 (4): 451–470. doi:10.1002/wcs.1183. PMC 3375705
- Inglehart, R. (1990). Culture Shift in Advanced Industrial Society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Inglehart, R. (1997). Modernization and Postmodernization: Cultural, Economic, and Political Change in 43 Societies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
- Maziarz, Mariusz (2015). "Collectivism and economic development - a causal analysis" (PDF). Socioeconomica. 4 (8): 277–290. doi:10.12803/sjseco.48133.
- Zhang, W. W. (2000). Transforming China: Economic reform and its political implications. New York: St. Martin's Press.
- Cai, X., & Wu, P. (1999). "A study of the modernity of social concept of younger students in China". Psychological Science. China. 22: 148–152.
- Huang, M. (1999). "A comparative study of the value outlook of Chinese adolescent students". Journal of Southwest China Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences). 25: 83–88.
- Xu, X., & Peng, L. (2001). "Reflection on parents' educational beliefs in the new century". Theory and Practice of Education. 21: 62–63.
- Yu, R. (2002). "On the reform of elementary school education in China". Educational Exploration. 129: 56–57.
- Patsouras, Louis. 2005. Marx in Context. iUniverse. p. 54