Communication and the self
Individualism vs Collectivism
Individualism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs to them, and they have the right to live it as they see fit. (Canada, U.S. Australia)
Collectivism is the idea that the individual’s life belongs not to them, but to the group or society of which they are a part of. They must sacrifice their
own hopes and dreams for the benefit of the group. (China, Japan, Korea, Russia)
A philosopher by the name of Ludwig Von Mises coined the term “Methodological Individualism.” The basic idea behind Methodological
Individualism is that actions of the collective group can be reduced to the actions of individuals.
“Preserving our individual freedom ultimately requires preserving our ‘collective’ action. No single person can train all the
math and science teachers to equip our children for the future. We must do these things together, as one nation, as one
people” Barrack Obama on his reelectment speech
Achievement vs Nurturing
When it comes to our social behavior regarding success, there is a battle between achievement and nurture. Individuals who choose the
achievement path are known to be “assertive, materialistic, and competitive”. Those who are more inclined to follow the nurture path value
their personal relationships with others more than their own success. A Nurturing society measures success as the ability to be compassionate and
concerned for the wellbeing of the whole group. University is more of an achievement environment because at the end of the day, you are the one with
or without a job. That is not to say that you should have no regard for your peers. As aspiring professionals we should learn to be respectful of our
colleagues while still keeping that competitive edge. How do you do that? As children a nurturing society is the most prevalent to our growth and
development. If we learn to value our relationships early on, we will find it easier to maintain respect for our competitors.
Power distance (Hofstede first researched this idea) is “the degree to which members of a society accept an unequal distribution of power”
A low power distance is when the difference between social classes is small and no one person is better than another regardless of social
standing. In these cultures challenging authority and asking questions is accepted and expected, we are not punished for it. Some examples are
Canada and the US.
In a high power distance culture power comes with age, and this is reflected in the relationships between children and their parents or teachers o