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Transitory determinants of values and decisions : the utility (or nonutility) of individualism and collectivism in understanding cultural differences

Authors Briley, Donnel A.
Wyer, Robert S.
Issue Date 2000-05-24
Summary The determinants and effects of cultural differences in the values described by individualism-collectivism were examined in a series of four experiments. Confirmatory factor analyses of a traditional measure of this construct yielded five independent factors rather than a bi-polar structure. Moreover, differences between Hong Kong Chinese and European Americans in the values defined by these factors did not consistently coincide with traditional assumptions about the collectivistic vs. individualistic orientations. Observed differences in values were often increased when situational primes were used to activate 1) concepts associated with a participant's own culture and 2) thoughts reflecting a self-orientation (i.e., self- vs. group-focus) that is typical in this culture. While the values we identified are helpful in clarifying the structure of the individualism-collectivism construct, they did not account for cultural differences in participants' tendency to compromise in a behavioral decision task. In combination, these results raise questions about the utility of individualism and collectivism in characterizing cultural differences in norms and values and in predicting cultural differences in decision making and other behaviors.
Language English
Format Working paper
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