Opposite Ends of the Same Stick? Multi-Method Test of the Dimensionality of Individualism and Collectivism
Coon, Heather M.
Dinnel, Dale L.
Hardin, Erin E.
Sinclair, H. Colleen
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The construct of Individualism-collectivism (IND-COL) has become the definitive standard in cross-cultural psychology, management, and related fields. It is also the most controversial one, in particular with regard to the ambiguity of its dimensionality: some view IND and COL as the opposites of a single continuum, while others argue the two are independent constructs. We explored the issue through seven different tests using original individual-level data from 27 studies and meta-analytic data from 148 empirical publications that were collected using six established instruments for assessment of IND and COL as separate constructs. The results indicated that the dimensionality of IND-COL may depend on: (1) the specific instrument used to collect the data, (2) the sample characteristics and the cultural region from which the data were collected, and (3) the level of analysis. The study also reviews inconsistencies, deficiencies, and challenges of conceptualizing IND-COL and provides guidelines for developing and selecting instruments for measuring the construct, and for reporting and meta-analyzing results from this line of research.
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