I/C Mouse

Dynamical Measure of Individualism-Collectivism



This research examines the relationship between individualism-collectivism (IND-COL), conflict management styles and satisfaction. By taking a dynamical systems approach in conceptualizing IND-COL and measuring temporal data, we investigate how different ratios of individualistic-to-collectivistic orientations are associated with different conflict management styles.

In order to measure IND-COL dynamically, we first ask participants to recall and record a conflict that they had at work.  Then, they code their stream of consciousness about a conflict on IND-COL using the mouse paradigm (Vallacher & Nowak, 1994). The mouse paradigm registers the position of the computer-mouse for every second of the recorded conversations which allows us to code temporal data.  For example, when the participant feels that he had individualistic orientation, he moves the mouse to the left side of the screen and when he feels that he had collectivistic orientation, he moves the mouse the right.  Thus, participants code their own stream-of-thought accounts of actual conflicts and this allows us to investigate how different ratios of individualistic-to-collectivistic orientation are associated with differences in conflict management styles.

Results showed that individuals who employed a balanced focus (1:1 ratio) of both individualistic and collectivistic orientations utilized an integrating style more than individuals with either a strong individualistic or collectivistic orientation. Consistent with past literature, individuals with predominant focus on individualism utilized dominating style whereas individuals with predominant focus on collectivism utilized obliging and avoiding styles.  We also found that integrating style is associated with satisfaction with conflict outcomes, processes, relationships, goal attainment and job satisfaction at work. Taken together, this study focuses on the re-conceptualization of IND-COL as dynamical features of culture and their effects on conflict management styles and satisfaction at work.

For more information about this project contact Regina Kim at rk2534(at)tc.columbia.edu


Related Publications

Kim, R. and Coleman, P. T. (2015).The combined effect of individualism – collectivism on conflict styles and satisfaction: An analysis at the individual level. Peace and Conflict Studies, 22, Available at: http://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol22/iss2/3

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