In What Culture Is an Individual’s Status More Likely to Be Conferred by Group Membership?

Philipp Schaetz

February 10, 2021

Many of the group-related behaviors that are more characteristic of collectivistic cultures are also likely to be most effective in collectivistic cultures, because in such cultures, people are more likely to confer status on others as a function of group membership. That is, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to recognize a person’s social status by virtue of the group to which he or she belongs. This is likely to create a stronger bond between group members, and therefore a greater sense of group identity, than in individualistic cultures. For example, in collectivistic cultures, when someone is introduced to others, the person is usually identified by the group to which he or she belongs. For example, when an individual is introduced, the person is often identified by the company he or she works for (e.g., “This is John Williams, he works at IBM”). In the West, in contrast, people are more likely to be identified by their personal characteristics (e.g., “This is John Williams, he’s a systems analyst”). In other words, in collectivistic cultures, individuals are more likely to be identified by their group membership, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be identified by their personal characteristics.

Status is more likely to be conferred on someone by virtue of his or her group membership in collectivistic cultures because membership in a group gives rise to social norms. These social norms may be unwritten, but they are powerful and strongly influence the behavior of group members. In other words, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be influenced by social norms, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be influenced by internalized personal standards. One example of social norms is the social norm of reciprocity. In collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to feel a sense of obligation to others, and to feel that these obligations must be reciprocated. Reciprocal relationships are likely to be important in collectivistic cultures because they create a sense of obligation between the parties that are involved. Thus, in collectivistic cultures, status is more likely to be conferred on someone by virtue of his or her group membership because membership in the group gives rise to social norms.

Collectivistic Cultures Are More Likely to Confer Status on People Who Are Selfless

In What Culture Is Giving Selflessly More Likely to Be Seen as a Positive Trait?

In collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected if they are selfless. That is, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for giving of themselves for the sake of the group or the community, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for giving of themselves for the sake of the individual (or his or her family). In other words, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being self-oriented (i.e., for being self-centered or self-serving).

For example, in a study of attitudes toward selflessness and selfishness in the United States and Taiwan, Americans were more likely to view selfishness as a virtue, whereas Taiwanese were more likely to view selflessness as a virtue (Chiu, Morris, Hong, & Menon, 2005). In China, people are more likely to view people who are selfless in the sense of being more concerned with the needs of others as having a better moral character than those who are only concerned with their own needs. In other words, in China, people are more likely to view people who are selfless in the sense of being more concerned with the needs of others as having a better moral character than those who are only concerned with their own needs (Lin, 1996). The reason for this is that in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being self-oriented. This is likely because in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be influenced by social norms, whereas in individualistic cultures, people are more likely to be influenced by internalized personal standards. In other words, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to feel a sense of obligation, and to feel that these obligations must be reciprocated.

In collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless because of the social norm of reciprocity. In other words, people are more likely to feel that they must reciprocate for any acts of kindness that they receive from others in collectivistic cultures. Thus, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless, because people are more likely to feel that they must reciprocate for any acts of kindness that they receive from others.

Finally, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless because of the social norm of family obligation. In other words, people are more likely to feel that they must reciprocate for any acts of kindness that they receive from others in collectivistic cultures. Thus, in collectivistic cultures, people are more likely to be respected for being selfless because of the social norm of family obligation.

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