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Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and immediate family. Collectivism pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive ingroups, which throughout people’s lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.



Identity is based on the individual Identity is based on one’s social network
I do, therefore I am I am, therefore I do
Work relationship is seen as contract based on mutual advantage Work relationship is seen in moral terms, like family link
Task prevails over relationship Relationships prevail over task
Employment decisions supposed to be based on skills and rules Employment decisions reflect person’s group connections
Speaking one’s mind indicates honesty Harmony should be maintained & confrontation avoided
Low-context communication (direct) High-context communication (indirect)
Rule-breaking leads to guilt and loss of self-respect Rule breaking leads to shame and loss of face
Management is management of individuals Management is management of groups
USA, Australia, Britain, Netherlands Central and South America, East Asia, Japan

USA ranked 1 of 53 — HIGH Individualism

Uncertainty Avoidance: The extent to which people feel threatened by ambiguous circumstances and have created beliefs and institutions to avoid such conditions.

Low Uncertainty Avoidance

High Uncertainty Avoidance

Low time consciousness High time consciousness
Few rules Many rules
High tolerance of deviant and innovative ideas Low tolerance of deviant ideas; resistance to change
Low stress High stress
Risk taking Risk adverse
People can appear quiet, easy-going, indolent, controlled and/or lazy People can appear busy, emotional, aggressive and/or active
Students comfortable with open-ended learning situation Students comfortable with structured learning, ‘right’ answers
Anglo & Nordic; Singapore Latin Europe, Latin America, Korea, Japan

USA ranked 43 of 53 — Low UA