Intercultural Skills for Internships & Volunteering abroad (2) Individualism vs. Collectivism
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Intercultural Skills for Internships & Volunteering abroad (2) Individualism vs. Collectivism


welcome once again my name is Divya I am going to cultural communications consultant and now we talk about the second dimension in Hofstadter 60 model which has to do with how relationships are perceived and maintained in different cultures now did we call this individualism versus collectivism simply put individualistic societies are those that are I conscious and collectivistic societies are those that are we conscious now I conscious or individualistic societies they see people give importance to only themselves and their immediate family the responsibility begins and ends there whereas in collectivistic societies you see a larger familial or social group that people are associated with now how does this impact you when you travel from an individualistic society to cut to a collectivistic society for instance when you travel from a individualistic to a collectivistic society the first thing that you will observe is how much importance is given to relationships and maintaining of relationships if you are from a collectivistic society and you go into an individualistic society you can imagine how impersonal that would seem to you that people do not really mingle people do not really care about relationships beyond work for instance and that can be a huge culture shock while you are in a different environment now let’s talk about how if you are part of an individualistic society and you go into a collectivistic society the kind of differences that you would face first of all remember that you’re supposed to have an opinion of your own and your interests hold true about everybody else’s well that’s not necessarily the case in a collectivistic society in such societies the group’s interest prevails over individual interests and opinions are usually predetermined by the groups opinion also privacy may take a back foot in if you’re in a collectivistic culture suddenly because once you are part of a group the group members of the group can often intrude your privacy if you may so you will have questions like do you have a boyfriend are you married how much does that dress cost that you’re wearing and people with more most often ask you this without batting an eyelid one very very important aspect of a collectivistic society is their high context communication style so what you should remember about a collectivistic culture is that there is such a focus on maintaining a relationship that mode that more often than not conversations are designed so that there is minimal conflict between the individuals so very often if if instead of hearing a blatant no to request people will tell you things like well I will try maybe and which in an individualistic society would actually mean no you would never hear a blatant no from a collectivistic a person from a collectivistic society also you may hear a lot of conversations that are held which are designed to make you feel better and you may as as a member of an individualistic society feel like you’re being lied to as in Latin America they refer to it as mental as Blancas which translates to white lies what you should understand is that individuals from these collectivistic societies they do not necessarily mean to lie to you it is their effort to not offend you or we or spoil the relationship with you for example if you were waiting for a particular person to come and you have an appointment at nine o’clock and you call them at maybe a quarter to nine asking them if other or if they’re going be on time and in individualistic societies you would expect that they’d be honest with you and say well I’m actually running half an hour late I will be there at half past 9:00 but in collectivistic societies the focus is to not upset you or offend you so you would never hear you know I’m going to be late you would hear yes yes I’m on my way I will be there at 9:00 I will be there any moment now but of course they will end up half an hour late which might leave you public now one thing you should remember about high context communication styles that exist in collectivistic societies is that they are so focused on maintaining a relationship with you and not offending you that they might go overly out there to make you feel welcome so you might hear people say oh you know you should come home and have dinner with us you should stay with us when you are here it will do you well if you double-check some of these offers because it may just be something that was that said out of politeness and not really something that they mean you might also observe that in collectivistic societies the value standards differ for in groups as I went compared to people who do not belong to the in-group you will see for example that customers that belong to the in-group get preferential treatment over those who don’t for example people who say is they speak the same language or who come from the same part of the country which may be quite shocking for somebody who comes from an individualistic culture where everybody is treated equally all customers are treated equally and so you will also see that collectivistic societies tend to have lower human rights ratings than individualistic societies now some of the most collectivistic countries are found in Asia Latin America and the African world are the most individualistic country in the world according to the scores of sellers the model is the United States Australia follow suit United Kingdom and most of the European countries except countries like Portugal which which are collectivistic

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