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Communication in Individualistic and Collective Societies

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1. How do people in “individualist” cultures behave differently to people in “collectivist” cultures? People from individualist cultures tend to more independent and self-centered. The focuses on their cultural values tend to be related to their lives and what makes them happy as an individual. Collectivist cultures tend to revolve more around the family or community. Decisions are made from a utilitarian standpoint, and respect for others comes natural from a young age.

2. As you were growing up, in what ways were you reared to be individualistic or collectivistic? Which orientation was the predominant cultural value of your family? Unlike most American kids, I grew up in an extraordinary environment. My sister and I are Army brats, and we spent a lot of adolescence in the country of Panama. From a collective standpoint, we were expected to follow the rules and curfews post by the United States military and our parents. We were a tight-knit community and nothing ever happened without everyone finding out, including our parents. Since my parents were constantly busy, my sister and I learned as much as we could about Panama including the language, culture, and all the places to go. When we went into the local community, my parents needed one of us to translate. We had to independent to certain degree in order to get as much out of the experience as we could.

3. Explain the connections between these two cultures with the dialectic approach. Which of the six dialectics is the most predominant in assisting people in communication more effectively in intercultural interactions? The difference between these two cultures from the dialectic approach would be personal versus contextual. The Turkish individual wanted to leave the school because of the values of the school, and the Korean student was defending the school. I think the most predominant dialectics for communicating effectively would be differences versus similarities. This allows each member of the discussion the ability to weigh and measure each side of the discussion in order to come to a resolution with minimal conflict or friction in intercultural interactions.

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