Collectivistic and Individualistic Culture

Free Essay Sample «Collectivistic and Individualistic Culture»

Collectivistic culture or collectivism is a fundamental aspect that emphasizes human interdependence to each other. It stresses on the idea of cohesion and operating together socially as a group essentially focusing on the society and the state. The philosophy has been used in various governments and educational establishments as one of their crucial element applied during a number of activities. Collectivism experienced further divisions including the hierarchical also known as vertical collectivistic culture and egalitarian also called horizontal collectivistic culture. Horizontal division concerns the unity during decision making between equal individuals. The vertical division puts emphasis on hierarchy as a structure of authority and morals.

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Individualistic culture or individualism is a critical element that stresses on orientation towards independence. Societies adopting the culture take into consideration individual goals’ achievement. They are characterized with diversity of their population and accentuates on privately achieved objectives, and rational evaluation of advantageous and disadvantageous aspects of cooperating with each other. Classification of cultures categorizes individualism as a low power and horizontal culture. This culture is known as the sharing of power equally with little consideration to the status and ranking variation. It gives less attention to power and authority and focuses on reducing the difference in power between the authorities and workers hence referred to as minimum power distance and further encouraging the legal use of power.

Collectivistic culture is similar to individualism in that the horizontal individualism encourages making decisions collectively when every individual’s ideas are taken into consideration. When discussing some burning idea, everyone airs an opinion, after proper digestion of a viewpoint to the best of his/her ability anticipating the group to concur and comply unanimously. At the end of the debate, all the participants agree on sticking to aspecific verdict proposed or raised by one individual. Assuming that the person who broached the view supported by the majority in the collectivistic culture was the follower of individualism, he/she could have strengthened the idea solely and achieved the same objective unaided. Individualism concentrates much on the individual ideas and perfects them thus making them more successful than the ideas generated collectively. Individualism gives more consideration to personal goals unlike the collectivism. Although the linkage may be attached, it helps to enhance good relationships among people. The linkage availability only deals with the crucial issues that are critical to the society. Individualists believe that the consideration of personal objectives brings about perfect ideas ready to be put into practice in the society for the betterment of every human being. The same practice is done in the case of collectivism; whereby a single idea is made perfect after a collective discussion, it moves to the subsequent phase of putting it in practice.

The hierarchical or vertical collectivism is similar to the individualism in some of the organizations and within the society. For instance, in the case of the military, considering the autocracy used in the management because of the nature of the job, the commanders sometimes makeup their minds solely and give an order for an idea to be put into practice without consultation. The risky practices done by the organization facilitate the essence of the use of autocratic tactics for the commands to be adhered to. Giving a chance for discussions and dialogues may unanimously lead to unnecessary consumption of time that is never on their side, especially during the wartime. Having a forum to discuss on whom should face the enemy first can hardly bear fruits so the commander gets an obligation of giving commands and instructions on how to tackle the enemy. After a proper analysis of the situation, the commander is trusted exclusively to come up with a definite conclusion without any favor to the best way to win the war. Similarly to the individualistic concepts, a collectivist is relied on by the people under their leadership and the decision made is trusted to be the best and then has to be followed. Another similarity between the collectivistic culture and individualism is that in collectivism, the individuals coming together select their leader, who has the final say on any issue being discussed, among the members of the group. Some organizations mostly centralize their faith on the individual and every responsibility is entrusted on him/her. By so doing, he/she is left with the hefty task of incorporating different ideas and coming up with the final decision single-handedly and at long-run is given the whole organization to drive. It is not different from the individualism where everyone works for him/her self to perfect his/her goals unaided.

In collectivism, every individual is advised to be an active performer in the society and do an excellent work for the sake of the whole society.  In the process of making more efforts to meet the target of the society, division of labor is realized in order to maximize the expected output. In this regard, individual goals are set for each person participating in the event thus realizing the similarities with individualism. To meet the objectives collectively, there is a need for the collective incorporation of efforts. Before the incorporation is done, each person has to work selfishly to attain his or her own target; in the process, rights of individuals are perceived to be most critical thus resemblance of the two cultures is seen. Rules are made by particular individuals in the society to govern the whole society. In some societies where democracy is not practiced to the perfection, people make the rules that suit them and their interests. Without any information given to the other members of the society, they get their individual gain thus making the collectivistic society bear a resemblance to the individualistic society. In those societies where the above is experienced, totalitarianism is used to lead the people and the individuals are free of deficiency (Heywood, 2010).

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