Collectivism v. Individualism: A Reconceptualisation of a Basic Concept in Cross-cultural Social Psychology

  • Harry Triandis


Perhaps the most important dimension of cultural difference in social behaviour, across the diverse cultures of the world, is the relative emphasis on individualism v. collectivism. In individualist cultures, most people’s social behaviour is largely determined by personal goals, attitudes, and values of collectivities (families, co-workers, fellow countrymen). In collectivist cultures, most people’s social behaviour is largely determined by goals, attitudes, and values that are shared with some collectivity (group of persons).


Personal Goal Individualist Culture Collectivist Culture Intergroup Relation Ingroup Member 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adelman, I. and Morris, C. T. (1967) Society, Politics and Economic Development: A Humanistic Approach, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bakan, D. (1966) The Duality of Human Existence, Chicago: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
  3. Banfield, E.C. (1958) The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Barry, H. III, Bacon, M. K. and Child, I. L. (1959) ‘A cross-cultural survey of some sex differences in socialization’, Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 55, 327–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barry, H., Child, I. and Bacon, M. (1959) ‘Relation of child training to subsistence economy’, American Anthropologist, 61, 51–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berger, P., Berger, B. and Kellner, H. (1973) The Homeless Mind, New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  7. Berry, J. W. (1979) ‘A cultural ecology of social behavior’, in Berkowitz,L.(ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology, New York: Academic Press, vol. 12.Google Scholar
  8. Blumberg, L. and Winch, R. F. (1972). ‘Societal complexity and familial complexity: Evidence for the curvilinear hypothesis’, American Journal of Sociology, 77, 896–920.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Carnairo, R. L. (1970) ‘Scale analysis, evolutionary sequence and the rating of cultures’, in Naroll, R. and Cohen, R. (eds), A Handbook of Method in Cultural Anthropology, New York: Columbia University Press, pp. 834–71.Google Scholar
  10. Choynowsky, M. (1986) ‘Philosophy of life of Polish academic youth’, paper presented at University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  11. Cobb, S. (1976) ‘Social support as a moderator of life stress’, Psychosomatic Medicine, 38, 300–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Crandall, J. E. (1980) ‘Adler’s concept of social interest: Theory, measurement and implications for adjustment’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39, 481–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Davidson, A. R., Jaccard, J. J., Triandis, H. C., Morales, M. L. and Diaz-Guerrero, R. (1976) ‘Cross-cultural model testing: Toward a solution of the etic-emic dilemma’, International Journal of Psychology, 11, 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Deutsch, M. (1949). ‘An experimental study of the effects of cooperation and competition upon group process’, Human Relations, 2, 199–232.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deutsch, M. (1962) ‘Cooperation and trust: Some theoretical notes’, in Jones, M. R. (ed.), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, Lincoln, Nb.: University of Nebraska Press, 275–319.Google Scholar
  16. DeVos, G. A. (1973) Socialization for Achievement: Essays on the Cultural Psychology of the Japanese, Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  17. Forgas, J. P., Morris, S. L. and Furnham, A. (1982) ‘Lay explanations of wealth: Attributions for economic success’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 12, 381–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Foster, G. (1965) ‘Peasant society and the image of limited good’, American Anthropologist, 67, 293–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gallimore, R., Weiss, L. and Finney, R. (1974) ‘Cultural differences in delay of gratification: A problem of behavioral classification’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 72–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Garlow, L. and Noll, G. A. (1967) ‘A study of empirically derived values’, The Journal of Social Psychology, 73, 261–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gottlieb, B. H. (1983) ‘Social support as a focus for integrative research in psychology’, American Psychologist, 38, 378–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gould, J. and Kolb, W. L. (1964) A Dictionary of the Social Sciences, Glencoe, Ill.: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hamilton, V. L. and Saunders, J. (1983) ‘Universals in judging wrongdoing: Japanese and Americans compared’, American Sociological Review, 48, 199–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Helmreich, R. L., Beane, W. E., Lucker, G.W. and Spence, J.T. (1978) ‘Achievement motivation and scientific attainment’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 4, 222–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hewstone, M. and Jaspers, J. M. F. (1982) ‘Intergroup relations and attribution processes’, in Tajfel, H. (ed.), Social Identity and Intergroup Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Hiniker, P. J. (1969) ‘Chinese reactions to forced compliance: Dissonance reduction or national character?’, Journal of Social Psychology, 77, 157–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture’s Consequences: International Differences in Work-related Values, Beverley Hills, Cal.: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Hofstede, G. and Bond, M. H. (May 1983). ‘An independent validation of Hofstede’s culture dimensions using Rokeach’s Value Survey’, paper in mimeo form.Google Scholar
  29. Hogan, R. (1975) ‘Theoretical ethnocentrism and the problem of compliance’, American Psychologist, 30, 533–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hsu, F. L. K. (1971) ‘Psychological homeostasis and jen: Conceptual tools for advancing psychological anthropology’, American Anthropologist, 73, 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hsu, F. L. K. (1981) American and Chinese: Passage to Differences, Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press (3rd edn).Google Scholar
  32. Hui, C. C. H. (1984) ‘Individualism-collectivism and distributive behavior’, doctoral dissertation, Department of Psychology, Champaign, Ill: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  33. Inkeles, A. and Smith, D. H. (1974) Becoming modern, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jakobovits, L. A. (1966) ‘Comparative psycholinguistics in the study of cultures’, International Journal of Psychology, 1, 15–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Janis, I. L. (1983) ‘The role of social support in adherence to stressful decisions’, American Psychologist, 38, 143–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (1983) ‘The socialisation and achievement crisis: Are cooperative learning experiences the solution?’, in Bickman, L. (ed.), Applied Social Psychology Annual 4, Beverley Hills, Cal.: Sage, 119–164.Google Scholar
  37. Johnson, D. W. and Narem-Hebeisen, A. A. (1979) ‘A measure of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic attitudes’, Journal of Social Psychology, 109, 253–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Johnson, R.T. and Johnson, D.W. (1981) ‘Building friendships between handicapped and non-handicapped students: Effects of cooperative and individualistic instruction’, American Educational Research Journal, 18, 415–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Johnson, R. T. and Johnson, D. W. (1982) ‘Effects of cooperative and competitive learning experiences on interpersonal attraction between handicapped and nonhandicapped students’, Journal of Social Psychology, 116, 211–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Johnson, R. T., Johnson, D. W. and Rynders, J. (1981) ‘Effect of cooperative, competitive and individualistic experiences on self-esteem of handicapped and nonhandicapped students’, Journal of Social Psychology, 108, 31–4.Google Scholar
  41. Jones, L. V. and Bock, R. D. (1960) ‘Multiple discriminant analysis applied to “Ways to Live” ratings from six cultural groups’, Sociometry, 23, 162–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kanfer, F. (1979) ‘Personal control, social control and altruism: Can society survive the age of ego-centrism?’, American Psychologist, 34, 231–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Kelman, H. C. (1958) ‘Compliance, identification, and internalization: Three processes of attitude change’, Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2, 51–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kluckholn, F. and Strodtbeck, F. (1961) Variations in Value Orientations, Evanson Ill.: Row, Peterson.Google Scholar
  45. Knight, G. P. (1981) ‘Behavioral and sociometric methods of indentifying cooperators, competitors and individualists: Support for the validity of the social orientation construct’, Development Psychology, 17, 430–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lasch, C. (1978) The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations, New York: Norton.Google Scholar
  47. Lawler, J. (1980) ‘Collectivity and individuality in Soviet educational theory’, Contemporary Educational Psychology, 5, 163–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lee, D. (1976) Valuing the Self What can we Learn from Other Cultures?, Englewood Cliffs, N.J: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  49. Leung, K. (1983) ‘The impact of cultural collectivism on reward allocation’, unpublished M.A. thesis, Department of Psychology, Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  50. LeVine, R. A. and Campbell, D. T. (1972) Ethnocentrism: Theories of Conflict, Ethnic Attitudes and Group Behavior, New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  51. Levy, R. I. and Rosaldo, M. A. (1983) ‘Self and emotion’, Ethos, 11, 127–209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Lifshitz, M. (1977) ‘The intimacy-remoteness continuum’, mimeographed paper.Google Scholar
  53. Likert, R. and Likert, R. (1976) New ways of managing conflict, New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
  54. Lomax, A, and Berkowitz, N. (1972) ‘The evolutionary taxonomy of culture’, Science, 177, 228–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Madsen, M. C. and Lancy, D. F. (1981) ‘Cooperative and competitive behavior’, Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 12, 389–408.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Massimini, F. and Calegari, P. (1979) Il Contesto Normativo Sociale, Milan: Angeli.Google Scholar
  57. Morsbach, H. (1980) ‘Major psychological factors influencing Japanese interpersonal relations’, in Warren, N. (ed.), Studies in Cross-cultural Psychology, London: Academic Press, vol. 2.Google Scholar
  58. Murdock, G. P. and Provost, C. (1973) ‘Measurement of cultural complexity’, Ethnology, 12, 379–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Murphy-Berman, V., Berman, J. J., Singh, P. and Pachouri, A. (1983) ‘Factors affecting allocation of needy and meritorious recipients: An Indian/US comparison’, unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
  60. Narem-Hebeisen, A. A. and Johnson, D. W. (1981) ‘The relationship between cooperative, competitive, and individualistic attitudes and different aspects of self-esteem’, Journal of Personality, 49, 415–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Naroll, R. (1983) The Moral Order, Beverley, Cal.: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. Ng, S. H. A., Hossain, A. B. M. A., Ball, P., Bond, M. H., Hayashi, K., Lim, S. P., O’Driscoll, M. P., Shina, D. and Yang, K. S. (1982) ‘Human values in nine countries’, in Rath, R., Asthana, H. S., Sinha, D. and Sinha, J. B. H. (eds), Diversity and unity in cross-cultural psychology, Lisse, Swets and Zeitlinger, pp. 196–205.Google Scholar
  63. Nomura, N. and Barlund, D. (1983) ‘Patterns of interpersonal criticism in Japan and the United States’, International Journal of Inter cultural Relations, 7, 1–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Osgood, C. E., May, W. and Miron, M. (1975) Cross-cultural universals of affective meaning, Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  65. Rakoff, V. (1978) ‘The illusion of detachment’, Adolescent Psychiatry, 6, 119–29.Google Scholar
  66. Rianoshek, R. (1980). ‘A comment on Sampson’s “Psychology and the American Ideal”’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 105–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Riesman, D., Glazer, N. and Denney, R. (1961) The Lonely Crowd: A Study of the Changing American Character, New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  68. Rokeach, M. (1973) The Nature of Human Values, New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  69. Rotenburg, M. (1977) ‘Alienating individualism and reciprocal individualism. A cross-cultural conceptualization’, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 17, 3–17.Google Scholar
  70. Sampson, E. E. (1977) ‘Psychology and the American ideal’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 35, 767–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Sarason, I.G., Levine, H. M., Basham, R. B. and Sarason, B. R. (1983) ‘Assessing social support: the social support questionnaire’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 127–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Schmidt, N. and Sermat, V. (1983) ‘Measuring loneliness in different relationships’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 1038–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Setiadi, B.N. (1984) ‘Schooling, age, and culture as moderators of role perceptions’, doctoral dissertation, Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  74. Shweder, R. A. (1982) ‘Beyond self-constructed knowledge: The study of culture and morality’, Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 28, 41–69.Google Scholar
  75. Shweder, R. A. and Bourne, E. J. (1982) ‘Does the concept of person vary cross-culturally?’, in Marsella, A. J. and White, G. M. (eds), Cultural Conceptions of Mental Health and Therapy, Boston: D. Reidel, pp. 97–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Smith, K., Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (1982) ‘Effects of cooperative and individualistic instruction on achievement of handicapped, regular and gifted students’, Journal of Social Psychology, 116, 277–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Smith, M. B. (1978) ‘Perspectives on selfhood’, American Psychologist, 33, 1053–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Stewart, E. C. (1966) Aspects of American Culture: Assumptions and Values that Affect Cross-cultural Effectiveness, Pittsburgh: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.Google Scholar
  79. Swap, W. C. and Rubin, J. Z. (1983) ‘Measurement of interpersonal orientation’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 208–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Tanaka, Y. (1978) ‘The analysis of subjective political culture’, Gakushin Review of Law and Politics, 13, 1–93.Google Scholar
  81. Triandis, H. C. (1976) Variations in Black and White Perceptions of the Social Environment, Urbana, Ill: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
  82. Triandis, H. C. (1980) ‘Values, attitudes and interpersonal behavior’, in Howe, H. and Page, M. (eds), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, 1979. Lincoln, Neb: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  83. Triandis, H. C. (1983) ‘Allocentrism vs. ideocentrism: A major cultural difference between Hispanics and Mainstream in the US’, Technical Report 16, Department of Psychology, Champaign, Ill.: University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  84. Triandis, H. C., Leung, K., Villareal, M. J. and Clack, F. L. (1985) ‘Allocentric versus idiocentric tendencies: Convergent and discriminant validation’, Journal of Research in Personality, 19, 395–415.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Triandis, H. C. and Vassiliou, V. (1972) ‘A comparative analysis of subjective culture’, in Triandis, H. C. (ed.), The analysis of subjective culture, New York: Wiley, pp. 299–338.Google Scholar
  86. Veroff, J., Douvan, E. and Kukla, R. A. (1981) The Inner American: A Self-portrait for1957 and 1976, New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  87. Waterman, A. S. (1981) ‘Individualism and interdependence’, American Psychologist, 36, 762–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Wetherell, M. (1982) ‘Cross-cultural studies of minimal groups: Implications for the social identity theory of intergroup relations’, in Tajfel, H. (ed.), Social Identity and Intergroup Relations, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  89. White, G. M. (1982) ‘Person, self and community in a Melanesian society’, East-West Learning Institute Reporter, 8, 9–14.Google Scholar
  90. Whiting, B.B. and Whiting, J.W. M. (1975) Children of Six Cultures, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Wichiarajote, W. (1975) ‘A theory of the affiliative society vs. the achieving society’, mimeographed paper.Google Scholar
  92. Witkin, H.A. and Berry, J.W. (1975) ‘Psychological differentiation in cross-cultural perspective’, Journal of Cross-cultural Psychology, 6, 4–87.Google Scholar
  93. Zotova, O. I. (1974) ‘Development of the theory of groups in Soviet psychology’, Studia Psychologica, 16, 278–82.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gajendra K. Verma and Christopher Bagley 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harry Triandis

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations