Collectivist And Individualist Cultures Cultural Studies Essay

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Cultures are typically divided into two categories: collectivist and individualist. Individualist cultures, such as those of the United States and Western Europe, emphasize personal achievement at the expense of group goals, resulting in a strong sense of competition. Collectivist cultures, such as those of China, Korea, and Japan, emphasize family and work group goals.

The Geert Hofstede analysis for China is similar to that of Hong Kong where Long-term Orientation is the highest-ranking factor. However, the Chinese rank lower than any other Asian country in the Individualism factor. This can be attributed primarily to the Communist rule and its emphasis on a collectivist culture.

Geert Hofstede analysis for China has Long-term Orientation (LTO) the highest-ranking factor (118), which is true for all Asian cultures. This Dimension indicates a society's time perspective and an attitude of persevering; that is, overcoming obstacles with time, if not with will and strength. (see Asian countries graph below).

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The Chinese rank lower than any other Asian country in the Individualism (IDV) ranking, at 20 compared to an average of 24. This may be attributed, in part, to the high level of emphasis on a Collectivist society by the Communist rule, as compared to one of Individualism.

The low Individualism ranking is manifest in a close and committed member 'group', be that a family, extended family, or extended relationships. Loyalty in a collectivist culture is paramount. The society fosters strong relationships where everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their group.

Canada has a population just less than 30 million people in a country twice the area of the United States. The heritage of Canada was French and English; however, significant immigration from Asia and Europe's non-French and English countries has broadened Canada's cultural richness. This cultural diversity is considered a national asset, and the Constitution Act prohibits discrimination against individual citizens on the basis of race, color, religion, or sex. The great majority of Canadians are Christian. Although the predominant language in Canada is English, there are at least three varieties of French that are recognized: Quebecois in Quebec, Franco-Manitoban throughout Manitoba and particularly in the St. Boniface area of Winnipeg, and Acadian. The Italian language is a strong third due to a great influx of Italian immigrants following W.W.II.

Canada's three major cities are distinctively, even fiercely different from one another even though each is a commercially thriving metropolitan center. Montreal, established in the 17th century and the largest French city outside France, has a strong influence of French architecture and culture. It is a financial and manufacturing center and seaport, with the majority of Canada's European exports and imports coming through its harbor. Toronto, another major financial and commercial center, is filled with office towers not historic buildings. It has a great number of people living in and around the central business district. The downtown district does not "close up" when people leave work. Vancouver, nestled at the base of the Coast Mountains, is the financial, commercial, agricultural, and industrial center for western Canada. It's harbor and mountains make it one of Canada's most picturesque. Consequently, West Vancouver is the most densely populated urban area and has the highest income per person of any municipality.

Geert Hofstede Analysis

Canada

The majority of Canadians, as well as citizens of other English speaking countries, (see Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) have individualism ranked highest. Success is measure by personal achievement. Canadians tend to be self-confident and open to discussions on general topics; however, they hold their personal privacy off limits to all but the closest friends. It should be noted there is tension between the French province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Quebec tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is high throughout Canada, but particularly in Quebec.

Canada has Individualism (IDV) as the highest ranking (80) Hofstede Dimension, and is indicative of a society with a more individualistic attitude and relatively loose bonds with others. The populace is more self-reliant and looks out for themselves and their close family members. Privacy is considered the cultural norm and attempts at personal ingratiating may meet with rebuff.

The majority of Canadians, as well as citizens of other English speaking countries, (see United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States) have Individualism as their highest ranking Dimension.

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Among high IDV countries, success is measured by personal achievement. Canadians tend to be self-confident and open to discussions on general topics; however, they hold their personal privacy off limits to all but the closest friends .

Canadian's lowest ranking Dimension is Long Term Orientation at 23, compared to the average of 45 among the 23 countries surveyed for which scores have been calculated. This low LTO ranking is indicative of societies' belief in meeting its obligations and tends to reflect an appreciation for cultural traditions.

Canada's Power Distance (PDI) is relatively low, with an index of 39, compared to a world average of 55. This is indicative of a greater equality between societal levels, including government, organizations, and even within families. This orientation reinforces a cooperative interaction across power levels and creates a more stable cultural environment.

It should be noted there is tension between the French province of Quebec and other Canadian provinces. Citizens of Quebec tend to be more private and reserved. Ethnocentrism is high throughout Canada, but particularly in Quebec. This may be in part due to the difference in religious background of the French population, predominately Catholic, and the English population, predominantly Christian.

The predominant religions in Canada are Catholic 42% and Christian 40%, but the population is somewhat segregated, with a high percentage of French Catholic's in Quebec. Note that the predominant religion in France is Catholic (83%) and in the United Kingdom is Christian (70%).