Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Gender & Education Determinants of Individualism-Collectivism: A Study of Future Managers

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Industrial Relations

Gender & Education Determinants of Individualism-Collectivism: A Study of Future Managers

Article excerpt

This paper aims to explore current positions in the individualism--collectivism dimension of male and female students in undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The study was based on primary data and the respondents were selected from undergraduate and post graduate students perusing management courses. The findings of the study ran counter to those of previous studies concerning individualism-collectivism in that the female students in undergraduate and postgraduate courses had high collectivist behaviour while their male counterparts showed low collectivist behaviour. This reflects that group behaviour in females is effective and if channelized properly, this inherent trait of group conformity can help female managers to effectively handle the teams along with sound peer relationship.

Individualists-Collectivists Societies

Individualism-Collectivism refers to the social connectedness among individuals. The concept of collectivism emphasizes interdependence between the self and one's group or community, implying that collectivists place more value on group goals and are guided more by group norms and traditional authority figures (Oyserman, Coon & Kemmelmeier 2002, Triandis 1995). Cross-cultural studies have shown that members of collectivist societies are more concerned about conforming to social norms than are members of individualist societies. According to Hofstede (1991), Individualism stands for a society in which the ties between individuals are loose; everyone is expected to look after himself or herself and his or her immediate family only. Collectivism stands for a society in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people's lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty. Traditionally, individualism has been identified as "the habit or principle of being independent and self-reliant: self-centred feeling or conduct; egoism" (Jewell & Abate 2001). People with strong individualistic values emphasize autonomy, independence, and individual initiative (Hofstede 1980). Individuals with strong collectivistic values tend to favour group solidarity, obligations, security, obedience, duty, and personalized relationships (Triandis 1994a). Collectives consist of individuals who are bound together by a number of different relationships (Etzioni 1968). Additionally, individuals with a strong collectivistic orientation tend to belong to a select few in groups such as families and friendship circles (Triandis et al. 1988). Due to the stability of these in groups, collectivists generally discriminate against out group members and favour in group members. On the cultural dimension of Individualism-Collectivism (I-C), Indian national culture shows a strong emphasis on collectivism (Hofstede 1992). But even within same cultures the approach of individuals towards individualism and collectivism vary because of various reasons like gender differences, racial differences, caste differences, modernization etc.

According to the "gender-centred" hypothesis (Fagenson 1990), gender differences are expected because of the different ways that women and men are socialized by parents, schools, and mass media, among others. Hence, it could be interpreted that norms, values, and social conventions affect the behavioural patterns of different sexes. Sex differences in values, attitudes and behaviours arise due to different gender roles, gender stereotypes and gendered social structures that influence self concept and self presentation (Konrad et al. 2000). Various studies show that traditional value system indicates the males are of more individualistic and less collectivistic approach as compared to females. Individualism and Collectivism has been associated with different behaviours and personality attributes like gender differences, cultural differences, racial differences etc. Present study focuses on whether gender differences affect Individualistic-Collectivist behaviour among students of graduate and postgraduate courses. …

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