Individualism: a valid and important dimension of cultural differences between nations.

Research paper by Ulrich U Schimmack, Shigehiro S Oishi, Ed E Diener

Indexed on: 05 Mar '05Published on: 05 Mar '05Published in: Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc


Oyserman, Coon, and Kemmelmeier's (2002) meta-analysis suggested problems in the measurement of individualism and collectivism. Studies using Hofstede's individualism scores show little convergent validity with more recent measures of individualism and collectivism. We propose that the lack of convergent validity is due to national differences in response styles. Whereas Hofstede statistically controlled for response styles, Oyserman et al.'s meta-analysis relied on uncorrected ratings. Data from an international student survey demonstrated convergent validity between Hofstede's individualism dimension and horizontal individualism when response styles were statistically controlled, whereas uncorrected scores correlated highly with the individualism scores in Oyserman et al.'s meta-analysis. Uncorrected horizontal individualism scores and meta-analytic individualism scores did not correlate significantly with nations' development, whereas corrected horizontal individualism scores and Hofstede's individualism dimension were significantly correlated with development. This pattern of results suggests that individualism is a valid construct for cross-cultural comparisons, but that the measurement of this construct needs improvement.