Notes on Intercultural Communication

Posts Tagged ‘Individualism

A Geography of Time

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Robert Levine – A Geography of Time

The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist, or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently

(…) As Miles Davis said, “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” How we construct and use our time, in the end, defines the texture and quality of our existence. To seize control over the structure of one’s time is my own definition of what it means, as it is said in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, to avoid “devoting thyself to the useless doings of this life.” And that, more than anything, is what I have taken away from my studies of the time senses of other cultures. Borrowing again from Russell Banks’s image of Hawthorne’s Wakefield: I had moved out of my house and this is what appeared when I looked back to “see what’s true there.” Simply that. (…)

In each country, we went into one or more of the major cities in order to measure three indicators of the tempo of life.

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First, we measured the average walking speed of randomly selected pedestrians over a distance of 60 feet.

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The second experiment focused on an example of speed in the workplace: the time it took postal clerks to fulfill a standard request for stamps. In each city, we presented clerks with a note in the local language requesting a common stamp—the now standard 32-center in the United States, for example. They were also handed paper money—the equivalent of a $5 bill. We measured the elapsed time between the passing of the note and the completion of the request.

Third, as an estimate of a city’s interest in clock time, we observed the accuracy of 15 randomly selected bank clocks in main downtown areas in each city. Times on the 15 clocks were compared to those reported by the phone company.

The three scores for each country were then statistically combined into an overall pace-of-life score.

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Geography of Time Fast Countries

Geography of Time Slow Countries

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We can speculate about the direction of causality between the tempo of life and economic conditions. Most likely, the arrow points both ways. Places with active economies put greater value on time, and places that value time will be more likely to have active economies. Economic variables and the tempo tend to be mutually reinforcing; they come in a package.

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It is one of the great ironies of modern times that, with all of our time-saving creations, people have less time to themselves than ever before. Life in the Middle Ages is usually portrayed as bleak and dreary, but one commodity people had more of than their successors was leisure time. Until the Industrial Revolution, in fact, most evidence suggests that people showed little inclination to work. In Europe through the Middle Ages, the average number of holidays per year was around 115 days. It is interesting to note that still today, poorer countries take more holidays, on the average,than richer ones.

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Our results confirmed the hypothesis: greater individualism was highly related to faster tempos.

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How we define and measure our time does, in fact, border on the religious. And people do not change religions lightly.

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Since our own study found a very strong relationship between economic vitality and the pace of life, we hypothesized that this should also lead to a positive relationship between the pace of life and happiness. And this is exactly what we found: in all of our pace-of-life experiments, people in faster places were more likely to be satisfied with their lives.

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It is in the middle ground between too much and too little pressure that people enter the experience, described in an earlier chapter, called “flow.” When Csikszentmihalyi kept tabs on people by having them wear beepers, asking them at frequent intervals what they were engaged in and how good they felt, the most positive reports came when people were in moderately challenging activities that engaged their skills. People doing too many things at once tended to be overstressed. But those who were doing nothing at all experienced little sense of flow and little pleasure. Many contemporary psychologists believe the flow experience is an important key to a happy and satisfying life. Studies have shown that flow experiences are not only exhilarating but empowering: they raise self-esteem, competence, and one’s overall sense of well-being.

My own studies, we have seen, point to the mixed consequences of a rapid pace of life. People in faster environments are more prone to potentially deleterious stress, as evidenced by higher rates of coronary heart disease; but they are also more likely to achieve a comfortable standard of living and, at least in part because of this, are more satisfied with their lives as a whole.

Download the full pdf here. (C) 1997 Robert Levine All rights reserved.

(received 12.07.2013 at http://www.cycle-planet.com/paleo/AGeographyofTime.pdf)

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See also Arrow, Circle, Spiral and Cylinder – Different Conceptions of Time and History and Map of Happiness.

Individualism-Collectivism and Accountability

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Individualism – Collectivism and Accountability in Intergroup Negotiations

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However, for those who place a high emphasis on collectivism, cooperative behavior and harmony with others, especially with persons with whom one is similar, is normative and is likely to ensure positive evaluations in accountable negotiations.

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In the low-accountability condition, those who had high levels of collectivism reported less cooperative intentions and behavior, and achieved lower outcomes, as compared to representatives with low levels of collectivism.

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However, the current research suggests that negotiators’ behavior depends both on the nature of the negotiation situation, as well as on negotiators’ collectivism. Applying this to cross-cultural investigations, this suggests that broad generalizations about the negotiation styles of cultural groups, which does not take situations into account, are likely to be inappropriate.

Read the full essay online or download as pdf.

Michele J. Gelfand / University of Maryland at College Park
Anu Realo / University of Tartu, Estonia
Journal of Applied Psychology , 1999, Vol. 84, No. 5, 721-736 – retrieved 08.12.2011 from http://www.bsos.umd.edu/psyc/gelfand/index.html

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Hofstede`s Cultural Dimensions – Comparing by Cultural Parameters

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Gerard (Geert) Hendrik Hofstede (born 3.10.1928) defined a model of 6 cultural dimensions/indices to compare different cultures

Power Distance Index (PDI) that is the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. (…)

Individualism (IDV) on the one side versus its opposite, collectivism, that is the degree to which individuals are integrated into groups. (…)

Masculinity (MAS) versus its opposite, femininity, refers to the distribution of roles between the genders which is another fundamental issue for any society to which a range of solutions are found. (…)

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) deals with a society’s tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity; it ultimately refers to man’s search for Truth. (…)

Later added: Long-Term Orientation (LTO) versus short-term orientation.(…) and the Indulgence or Restraint Index (IRI).

 USA vs. China by Cultural Dimensions (click on the pic to compare other countries)

Hofstede USA vs China

(received 27.03.2013 at http://geert-hofstede.com/china.html)

See his website at: http://www.geert-hofstede.com or check the website of The Hofstede Centre at http://geerthofstede.eu/

For a short & handy ppt click here.

Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here.

For practical applications of Hofstede`s model see this page.

For Hofstede`s theories and their application on genetics click here.

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Hofstede’s Country Classification 25 Years later

Abstract: Nearly 3 decades have been passed since Hofstede (1980) collected the data used to classify countries by their underlying work-related structures. The present study, in which recent data from 9 countries and 4 continents was collected, is a re-examination of his country classifications. The results suggest that many shifts have occurred since Hofstede’s study in 1980. These shifts are related to some of the major environmental changes that have occurred.

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Discussion: Overall, the findings of the present study suggests that there have been significant shifts in value classifications in some countries since Hofstede conducted his original study. Many of the countries examined in the present study showed a shift in ranking when compared with Hofstede’s original data. This finding underscores the fact that, although a nation’s work-related values are deep-seated preferences for certain end states. they are subject to change over the years as external environmental changes shape a society. Managers and scientists should use caution before attempting to use work-related values to understand human behaviour in organisations. At the least, managers should make an effort to determine the values currently prevailing and not rely on classifications or labels placed on cultures by researchers.

D. R. Fernandez, D.S. Carlson, L.P. Stepina, J.D. Nicholson at The Journal of Social Psychology, 1997, 43-54

Download the full article as pdf here.

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Geert Hofstede interview January 2013 (introducing the IRI – Indulgence or Restraint Index)

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IRI

(Retrieved at 06.06.2011 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBv1wLuY3Ko)

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About the practical application of Hofstede’s theories read this post: https://laofutze.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/applications-of-hofstedes-theories/

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(revised 16.07.2013)

Written by NoToes

09/01/2010 at 12:21

Posted in All Articles, China, Collectivism and Individualism, Communication, Communication in Different Cultures, Comparing Cultures, Cultural Dimensions, Emotions in Different Cultures, Hofstede, Intercultural Economy, Intercultural Management, Surveys, Time in Different Cultures, Tools / Software, Uncertainty Avoidance

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Genetics, Cultures and Happiness

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Genetics, Cultures and Happiness / 5-HTTLPR

Joan Chiao and Katherine Blisinsky took a research on the worldwide spreading of the 5-HTTLPR – gene, which is identified as responsible for the mood (anxiety and mood disorder) of it`s carrier by transporting serotonin. It was published from the Royal Society Publishing.

Using Hofstede`s model of cultural indices/dimensions to define cultures into individualistic and collectivistic, they crossed these data with the spreading of 5-HTTLPR.

(…) Here, we demonstrate for the first time a robust association between cultural values of individualism–collectivism and allelic frequency of the serotonin transporter gene, controlling for associated economic and disease factors. (…) Critically, our results further indicate that greater population frequency of S allele carriers is associated with decreased prevalence of anxiety and mood disorders due to increased cultural collectivism. (…)

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Results from correlation analysis between Hofstede’s individualism–collectivism index (reverse scored) and frequency of S allele carriers of the 5-HTTLPR across 29 nations. Collectivist nations showed higher prevalence of S allele carriers (r(29) = 0.70, p < 0.0001).

Geographical coincidence between serotonin transporter gene diversity and cultural traits of individualism–collectivism across countries. Colour maps include all available published data for each variable of interest. Grey areas indicate geographical regions where no published data are available. (a ) Hofstede Colour map of frequency distribution of IND-COL from Hofstede (2001). (b) 5-HTTLPR Colour map of frequency distribution of S alleles of 5-HTTLPR. (c) anxiety Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of anxiety. (d) mood disorders Colour map of frequency of global prevalence of mood disorders. Yellow to red colour bar indicates low to high prevalence.

Get the full article online here or download pdf here. It is packed with additional downloads.

(Chiao, J.Y. & Blizinsky, K.D. 2009 Culture-gene coevolution of individualism-collectivism and the serotonin transporter gene. Proc. R. Soc. B (doi: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1650)

(retrieved 20.05.2015 at http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/277/1681/529.full)

Hofstede`s Intercultural Tool is found here.

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Background Info: World`s Haplogroups

This Map of Haplogroups (J.D. McDonald) shows the distribution of certain genetic characteristics. It is widely used for genealogical research because certain cell structures are inherited matrilinear or patrilinear. Click here to download from the the University of Illinois/School of Chemical Sciences. You can also download the full pdf here.

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(retrieved 20.05.2015 at http://www.scs.uiuc.edu/%7Emcdonald/WorldHaplogroupsMaps.pdf)

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Additional Material

Happiness and Income

10life_satisfaction happiness

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From R.Inglehart and H-D.Klingemann, “Genes, Culture and Happiness,” MIT Press, 2000.Check out for more at http://www.worldvaluessurvey.org/

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Read a different view on the categories “Cultures and Genes” and “Culture influences Brain” or view the World’s Map of Happiness.

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(reviewed 21.05.2015)

Hofstede`s Cultural Onion

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Gerard (Geert) Hendrik Hofstede (born 3 October 1928) created the model of the „Cultural Onion“

Hofstede`s Onion Model of Culture


Unfortunately, the nice intercultural website where I got the pic from was closed down: http://homepages.rtlnet.de/krkarwoth/priorities.html (retrieved 28.08.2009, disappearance noticed 22.11.2012). Sorry for this.

It is made of 3 layers around a core. The core stands for the values of a certain culture, which is not moving a lot. It mostly remains the same. Even if something seems to be outdated, it still can subconsciously play a role in the present. That includes individuals as well as groups.

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The first layer around the core is described as rituals. A ritual can be the way of personal hygiene (most Asians shower in the evening, Europeans in the morning). German people like to shake hands often, Malay tenderly touch the fingertips and then point it to the heart. Those rituals are changing slowly.

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The second layer around the core are the „heroes“. A hero can be a fictive person, but has influence on the culture. A nice example is Dracula (written by Bram Stoker, published 1897). Since this book was published, many people in Western world developed a fear about Vampires, even if it never existed in their culture before. It also can be national heroes, photo-models or scientists – all people, who play a role-model in that society.

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The third layer is about the symbols. Nowadays most symbols appear as brands like BMW, Apple or Louis Vuitton. Those symbols usually move according to the momentary fashion.

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All three layers can be trained and learned through practices except for the core: the inner cultural values (Good vs. Bad, dirty vs. clean, ugly vs. beautiful, unnatural vs. natural, abnormal vs. normal, paradoxical vs. logical, irrational vs. rational).

For further information about the core, please refer to The Core of Hofstede’s Onion Model.

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Hofstede also developed the Model of the 5 Cultural Dimensions https://laofutze.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/hofstedes-cultural-dimensions-2/

Download an introduction to Hofstede`s theories as pdf here or see further info about Hofstede at https://laofutze.wordpress.com/category/hofstede/

Practical approaches of Hofstede’s theories see at https://laofutze.wordpress.com/2010/01/08/applications-of-hofstedes-theories/

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reviewed 13.09.2013