Skip to main content

How individualism–collectivism orientations predict happiness in a collectivistic context

Abstract

We discuss how individualistic/collectivistic orientations of employees predict affective well-being at work, and how this relationship is moderated by the perceptions of spirit of camaraderie in organizations. The sample comprises 161 employees of 109 organizations operating in Portugal, a collectivistic culture. The findings suggest that: (a) collectivistic individuals show higher affective well-being than individualists; (b) this relationship is moderated by the employees’ perceptions of the spirit of camaraderie in their organizations; (c) higher affective well being levels tend to be experienced by collectivists who find working in an organizational context to be rich in spirit of camaraderie, and lower levels of affective well being are expressed by individualists who perceive poor spirit of camaraderie in their working environments. The paper emphasizes that employee happiness can have different bases in different cultures and that individualism/collectivism orientations do not operate in the same way in different cultural and organizational contexts.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Ahuvia, A. C. (2002). Individualism/collectivism and cultures of happiness: A theoretical conjecture on the relationship between consumption, culture and subjective well-being, at the national level. Journal of Happiness Studies, 3, 23–36.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Arrindell, W. A., Hatzichristou, C., Wensink, J., Rosenberg, E., van Twillert, B., Stedema, J., & Meijer, D. (1997). Dimensions of national cultures as predictors of cross-national differences in subjective well-being. Personal Individual Differences, 23(1), 37–53.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Avis, J., Kudisch, J. D., & Fortunato, V. J. (2002). Examining the incremental validity and adverse impact of cognitive ability and conscientiousness on job performance. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17, 87–105.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Azevedo, A., Drost, E. A., & Mullen, M. R. (2002). Individualism and collectivism: Toward a strategy for testing measurement equivalence across culturally diverse groups. Cross Cultural Management, 9(1), 19–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Barsade, S. G. (2002). The ripple effect: Emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Administrative Science Quarterly, 47, 644–675.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Baumeister, R. F., & Leary, M. R. (1995). The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin, 117, 497–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Becker, G., Philipson, T., & Soares, R. (2003). The quantity and quality of life and the evolution of world inequality. Working Paper 9765. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research.

  8. Byrne, B. M. (1998). Structural equation modelling with Lisrel, Prelis, and Simplis. London: Lawrence Erlbaum.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Cameron, K. S., Dutton, J. E., & Quinn, R. E. (Eds) (2003). Positive organizational scholarship. San Francisco: Berrett Koehler.

  10. Chirkov, V., Ryan, R. M., Kim, Y., & Kaplan, U. (2003). Differentiating autonomy from individualism and independence: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization of cultural orientations and well-being. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 97–110.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Christopher, A. N., Kuo, S. V., Abraham, K. M., Noel, L. W., & Linz, H. E. (2004). Materialism and affective well-being: The role of social support. Personality and Individual Differences, 37, 463–470.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Clugston, M., Howell, J. P., & Dorfman, P. W. (2000). Does cultural socialization predict multiple bases and foci of commitment? Journal of Management, 26(1), 5–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Cox, T. H., Loebel, S. A., & McCleod, P. L. (1991). Effects of ethnic group cultural differences on cooperative and competitive behavior in a group task. Academy of Management Journal, 34, 827–847.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Daniels, K. (2000). Measures of five aspects of affective well-being at work. Human Relations, 53(2), 275–294.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Deckop, J. R., Cirka, C. C., & Andersson, L. (2003). Doing unto others: The reciprocity of helping in organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 47, 101–113.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34–43.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Diener, E., & Diener, M. (1995). Cross-cultural correlates of life satisfaction and self-esteem. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(4), 653–663.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Diener, E., & Suh, E. M. (1999). National differences in subjective well-being. In D. Kahneman, E. Diener, & N. Schwartz (Eds.), Well-being: The foundations of hedonic psychology (pp. 434–450). New York: Russell-Sage.

  19. Edwards, J. R. (1996). An examination of competing versions of the person-environment fit approach to stress. Academy of Management Journal, 39, 292–339.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Florsheim, P. (1997). Chinese adolescent immigrants: Factors related to psychosocial adjustment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 26, 63–143.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-built theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218–226.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Gouldner, A. W. (1960). The norm of reciprocity: A preliminary statement. American Sociological Review, 25, 161–178.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Harman, H. H. (1967). Modern factor analysis. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Haller, M., & Hadler, M. (2006). How social relations and structures can produce happiness and unhappiness: An international comparative analysis. Social Indicators Research, 75, 169–216.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Hennig-Thurau, T., Groth, M., Paul, M., & Gremler, D. D. (2006). Are all smiles created equal? How emotional contagion and emotional labor affect service relationships. Journal of Marketing, 70(3), 58–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work related values. Beverly Hills: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  27. House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (Eds.) (2004). Culture, leadership and organizations: The GLOBE study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  28. Jackson, T. (2002). International HRM: A cross-cultural approach. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Jesuino, J. C. (2002). Latin Europe cluster: From South to North. Journal of World Business, 37, 81–89.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Kazarian, S. S. (2005). Family functioning, cultural orientation, and psychological well-being among university students in Lebanon. The Journal of Social Psychology, 145(2), 141–152.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Kerr, N. L. (1983). Motivation losses in small groups: A social dilemma analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 45, 819–828.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Kiefer, T. (2005). Feeling bad: Antecedents and consequences of negative emotions in ongoing change. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26, 875–897.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Limbert, C. (2004). Psychological well-being and job satisfaction amongst military personnel on unaccompanied tours: The impact of perceived social support and coping strategies. Military Psychology, 16(1), 37–51.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Litwinenko, A., & Cooper, C. L. (1997). The impact of trust status on health care workers. Journal of Management in Medicine, 11(5), 294–301.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Lu, L. (2006). Cultural fit: Individual and societal discrepancies in values, beliefs and SWB. Journal of Social Psychology, 146, 203–221.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Martin, A., Jones, E., & Callan, V. J. (2005). The role of psychological climate in facilitating employee adjustment during organizational change. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 14(3), 263–289.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Matsumoto, D., Kouznetsova, N., Ray, R., Ratzlaff, C., Biehl, M., & Raroque, J. (1999). Psychological culture, physical health, and subjective well being. Journal of Gender, Culture, and Health, 4(1), 1–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Miller, J. G. (1997). Cultural conceptions of duty: Implications for motivation and morality. In D. Munro, J. F. Shumaker, & A. C. Carr (Eds.), Motivation and culture (pp. 178–192). New York: Routledge.

  39. Moorman, R. H., & Blakely, G. L. (1995). Individualism-collectivism as an individual difference predictor of organizational citizenship behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 16, 127–142.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Murphy, C., Ramamoorthy, N., Flood, P. C., & MacCurtain, S. (2006). Organizational justice perceptions and employee attitudes among Irish blue collar employees: An empirical test of the main and moderating roles of individualism/collectivism. Management Review, 17(3), 328–343.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Parker, C. P., Baltes, B. B., Young, S. A., Huff, J., Altmann, R., LaCost, H., & Roberts, J. E. (2003). Relationships between psychological climate perceptions and work outcomes: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 389–416.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Podsakoff, P. M., & Organ, D. W. (1986). Self-reports in organizational research: Problems and prospects. Journal of Management, 12(4), 531–544.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common method bias in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Pugh, S. D. (2001). Service with a smile: Emotional contagion in the service encounter. Academy of Management Journal, 44(5), 1018–1027.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Ramamoorthy, N., & Carroll, S. J. (1998). Individualism/collectivism orientations and reactions towards alternative human resource management practices. Human Relations, 51, 571–588.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Ramamoorthy, N., & Flood, P. (2002). Employee attitudes and behavioral intentions: A test of the main and moderating effects of individualism/collectivism orientations. Human Relations, 55, 1071–1096.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Ramamoorthy, N., & Flood, P. C. (2004). Individualism/collectivism, perceived task interdependence and teamwork attitudes among Irish blue-collar employees. A test of the main and moderating effects. Human Relations, 57(3), 347–366.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141–166.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Sechrest, L., Fay, T. L., & Zaidi, S. M. H. (1972). Problems of translation in cross-cultural research. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 3(1), 41–56.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Selmer, J. (2004). Psychological barriers to adjustment of Western business expatriates in China: newcomers vs long stayers. International Journal of Human Resource Management, 15(4/5), 794–813.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  52. Shaffer, M. A., Harrison, D. A., & Gilley, K. M. (1999). Dimensions, determinants, and differences in the expatriate adjustment process. Journal of International Business Studies, 30(3), 557–581.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Shaw, J. B., & Gupta, N. (2004). Job complexity, performance, and well-being: When does supplies-values fit matter? Personnel Psychology, 57, 847–879.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Sinangil, H. K., & Ones, D. S. (2001). Expatriate management. In N. Anderson, D. S. Ones, H. K. Sinangil, & C. Vieswesvaran (Eds.), Handbook of Industrial, work and organizational psychology (Vol. 1, pp. 424–443). London: Sage.

  55. Singelis, T. M., Triandis, H. C., Bhawuk, D. S., & Gelfand, M. (1995). Horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism: A theoretical and measurement refinement. Cross-Cultural Research, 29, 240–275.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Soh, S., & Leong, F. (2002). Validity of vertical and horizontal individualism and collectivism in Singapore. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 33, 3–15.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Spector, P. E., Cooper, C. L., Sanchez, J. I, 23 other authors (2001). Do national levels of individualism and internal locus of control relate to well-being: An ecological level international study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 815–832.

  58. Takahashi, K., Ohara, N., Antonucci, T. C., & Akiyama, H. (2002). Commonalities and differences in close relationships among Americans and Japanese: A comparison of individualism/collectivism concept. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 26, 453–465.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. United Nations Development Program (2005). Human Development Report 2005. New York: UNDP (http://hdr.undp.org/reports/global/2005/pdf/HDR05_complete.pdf; July 17, 2006).

  60. Veenhoven, R. (1999). Quality-of-life in individualistic society: A comparison of 43 nations in the early 1990’s. Social Indicators Research, 48, 157–186.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Wagner, J. A. (1995). Studies of individualism-collectivism: Effects on cooperation in groups. Academy of Management Journal, 38, 152–172.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Wagner, J. A. III, & Moch, M. K. (1986). Individualism-collectivism: Concept and measure. Group & Organization Studies, 11, 280–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Watson, P. J., Sherbak, J., & Morris, R. J. (1998). Irrational beliefs, individualism-collectivism, and adjustment. Personality and Individual Differences, 24(2), 173–179.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Waxin, M. F. (2004). Expatriates’ interaction adjustment: The direct and moderator effects of culture of origin. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 28, 61–79.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Westwood, R., Chan, A., & Linstead, S. (2004). Theorizing Chinese employment relations comparatively: Exchange, reciprocity and the moral economy. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 21(3), 365–389.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Wright, T. A., & Cropanzano, R. (2004). The role of psychological well-being in job performance. Organizational Dynamics, 33(4), 338–351.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Yetim, U. (2003). The impacts of individualism/collectivism, self-esteem, and feeling of mastery on life satisfaction among the Turkish university students and academicians. Social Indicators Research, 61, 297–317.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Arménio Rego.

Additional information

We are very grateful to the three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Rego, A., Cunha, M.P. How individualism–collectivism orientations predict happiness in a collectivistic context. J Happiness Stud 10, 19–35 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-007-9059-0

Download citation

Keywords

  • Individualism/collectivism orientation
  • Spirit of camaraderie
  • Affective well-being at work