Individualism VS Collectivism: Impact on Employees


How does individualism and collectivism affect the way we work? This question will be answered in the individualism vs collectivism essay. Here shown few differences in how individualism and collectivism are impacted across other cultures. It was important for a personal wider acknowledgment of how cultures are affected by collectivism and individualism.


The concepts of individualism and collectivism are studies that have started with Luke and are based on a variety of studies in the social sciences, these have been applied to different types of research in the areas of values, religion, social systems, economic development and psychology. Of some other ways to identify cultures, Individualism and Collectivism are considered one of the most effective.

Individualism and collectivism can be defined as the subordination of a group’s goals to the individual’s goals, and collectivism is a subordination of personal goals to the goal of the collective. Individualism enhance the importance of the individual’s interests, bringing a more selfish way to achieve goals for the individual itself, while collectivism is more about focusing in the common interests of the society, community and family, thinking in a more collective way to keep harmony among the culture. Besser illustrated the inconsistencies on how Individualists and collectivists are connected with work values.

By researching the US and Japan commitment behaviours, she concludes that cultural differences affect the way individuals perceive work. By making occupational surveys, the Japanese workers scored lower when measuring commitment than the US workers, however Japanese workers express with more commitment behaviours, she also believes that exists an external pressure coming from family and community, which changes the way they work and behave within the workplace, therefore being controversial with what they truly think and believe. Individualism and collectivism are the major signs when comparing societies in cross-cultural psychology, in this contemporary age these can be used to differ cultures into these particular groups within the society.

How Does Culture Affect International Business Management?

As demonstrated by Manrai, “International business negotiations IBN play a important role in every aspect when conducting business today’s economy”. Culture is connected with international business Management and can include many cultural factors. Accordingly with Harris and Baack, “Culture represents the beliefs, customs and attitudes of a distinct group of people; the term Culture can be applied to a nation, region, a city or a single business”.

Cultural Dimensions

Cultural dimensions can be classified by the differences and similarities among groups of people according to their beliefs systems and behavioural patterns.

Hofstede has empowered his study into 6 work related cultural dimensions:

  • Power distance
  • Uncertainty avoidance
  • Masculinity and femininity
  • Individualism and collectivism
  • Long-term orientation and short-term orientation
  • Indulgence and restraint


Comparing 2 countries 

Angola is situated in Southern Africa and Hungary is located in Central Europe, it can be clearly seen that in this case Angola has only higher power distance and higher indulgence meaning that this country follows and agree with the conformity of a hierarchy where have to be accepted and without further justification, the country is more collectivist in a sense, living for the family and caring for community framework, also giving more importance to the traditions and being more past and present oriented. Hungary are more looking into an individual’s personal goals, more concerned to put in place personal achievements and assertiveness in life and avoiding uncertainty for their future and committing with a pragmatic approach and future oriented.


  • Higher power distance
  • Higher indulgence



  • More individualist country
  • More masculinity
  • More uncertainty avoidance
  • More long-term orientation


How Collectivism and Individualism Impact the Way People Work

Studies prove that boards composed by both genders, feminine and masculine will perform by 15% better than boards composed by only one gender, and boards composed by different cultures will perform by 35% better than only one singular culture.

Culture diversity can seriously increase problem solving ability, it can also increase whereas creativity and innovation at the workplace. Most people around the globe are raised with an idea that there is a need to contribute to a group, which will affect the way people behave with each other. Specially the western part of the world people are raised to be independent and self-sufficient within the society, therefore changing behaviors patterns at the workplace, friendships and relationships.

For collectivist countries like China, Pakistan, Venezuela, Guatemala and Ghana, relationships at work are considered family-like, the employer offers protection in exchange for loyalty and probably an employee with poor skills will not be dismissed, instead might be moved to another area or position. In the other spectrum some of the individualist countries like Australia, Germany the U.S and the UK perceive work relationships as strictly business alike, if an employee reasonably may terminate an employee for a poor performance, and for successful employees will consider accepting a better pay offer from a competitor. 


Individualism and collectivism have a strong influence on communication styles. Individualism is founded on the ideals of liberty and individuality, while collectivism is founded on the values of collective unity and agreement. The principles of each culture play a dynamic role in the development of communication styles for a business message targeted at a target audience. Individualists, for example, favour direct contact, while collectivists prefer indirect communication.

10 October 2022
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