Chinese cultural orientation: collectivism
Chinese cultural orientations
You can recognize the cultural Chinese values even from poster and billboards. In an advert (no idea of what) my attention has been drawn by a sentence of „No skills, no dreams” (see photo). When I would formulate a sentence about a dream, it would be like this „When You have dreams, You can achieve them” or „Dreams are seeds of achievements”, just in an opposite way to this on the advert. A different way of thinking determines a different ways of acting. In order to understand the people’s behaviors, it is worth to know and understand the way the people from the given culture are thinking.
Individualism Another example of different way of thinking and behaving is a sentence on the billboard (see photo) as follow: „Love is work together. Love is never let go”. In Poland such a sentence would probably sound like „Love is a romance, love is an affection” as Polish people are very affective and emotional. In China, with collective orientation, where a wellbeing and a harmony of the group not the individuals is valued, such sentence is an exemplification of this cultural orientation.
In Yangshuo I have spotted another billboard with a motto „Fire attached you and me, peace and happinness depend on all” being an example of such collectivism orientation and harmony. The different role of a group and an individual person in society reflect the notion of Individualism and Collectivism worked out by Geert Hofstede. Due to him „the fundamental issue addressed by this dimension is the degree of interdependence a society maintains among its members. It has to do with whether people´s self-image is defined in terms of “I” or “We” (from www.geert-hofstede.com).
In Individualist societies people are supposed to look after themselves and their direct family only. In Collectivist societies people belong to ‘in groups’ that take care of them in exchange for loyalty.
With a score of 20 of Individualism (IDV) China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves. Poland with IDS of 60 (in scale of 100) is quite in the middle, with much higher individualistic attitude than China, but lower than UK (89 IDV) or USA representing 91 of IDV.
When visiting Beijing I was amazed seeing an advert (see the photo). On the poster there was one hand, but when looking more carefully at it, you can spot many hands which are creating this one. Amazing and inspiring!
About other cultural dimensions which I have experienced in China I will write in my next post.
Enjoy some glimpses from Shanghai, Guilin, Yangshuo and Beijing.