INDIVIDUALISM AND COLLECTIVISM:
AN EXPLORATION OF INDIVIDUAL AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
The dissertation is based on the following original publications
which will be referred to in the text by their respective Roman
I Realo, A. (1998). Collectivism in an individualist
culture: The case of Estonia. Trames, 2, 19-39.
II Allik, J., & Realo, A. (1996). The hierarchical
nature of individualism-collectivism: Comments on Matsumoto et
al. (1996). Culture and Psychology, 2, 109-117.
III Realo, A., Allik, J., & Vadi, M. (1997).
The hierarchical structure of collectivism. Journal of Research
in Personality, 31, 93-116.
IV Realo, A., & Allik, J. (1999). A cross-cultural
study of collectivism: A comparison of American, Estonian, and
Russian students. Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 133-142.
V Kants, L., & Realo, A. (1999). Meta-level
collectivism in Estonia and Finland. 3, 3-18.
VI Allik, J., & Realo, A. (1997). Emotional
experience and its relation to the Five-Factor Model in Estonian.
Journal of Personality, 65, 625-647.
VII Realo, A., & Allik, J. (1998). The Estonian Self-Consciousness
Scale and its relation to the Five-Factor model of personality.
Journal of Personality Assessment, 70, 109-124.
The main conclusions of this dissertation are the following:
- Collectivism could be defined as a hierarchical concept consisting
of at least three related subtypes focused on relations with family,
peers, and society (Study II, III).
- Various socio-cultural groups within a society may have different
patterns of collectivism being very collectivistic in one domain
of social relations but relatively non-collectivistic in some
other domain (Study II, III).
- The hierarchical tripartite structure of collectivism is generalizable
across different languages and cultures (Study IV).
- All three types of collectivism (Familism, Companionship,
and Patriotism) share a common core in two relatively stable
personality traits-Openness to Experience and Agreeableness. Agreeable
persons, who are also closed to experience, are compared with
others more predisposed to absorb collectivistic elements from
their own culture into their own cognitive schemes. Consequently,
the variability of collectivistic attitudes is determined by a
particular combination of general (personality trait-like) and
specific (cultural-situational) factors (Study III).
- The collectivistic attitudes are not related to public self-consciousness
as measured by the Estonian Self-Consciousness Scale (Study
VII). The lack of correlation can be explained either by cultural
differences in the self-construal or the validity of the Self-Consciousness
- Collectivists tend to inhibit the expression of negative emotions
(measured by the General Affect scales; Study VI) toward
their close others (ingroup members) but not toward strangers
- A seeming controversy concerning the Estonians' collectivism
can be resolved by assuming that concepts of collectivism and
individualism presuppose the existence of one another. According
to the results of several recent cross-cultural studies (Study
IV, V), Estonia (as many other cultures) could be best described
as an individualist culture with a certain degree of collectivism