Individualism vs. Collectivism


When studying groups, there are two different ways you can study them.  You can study each individual in the group (individualism) or the group as a whole (collectivism).  Each way has its own pros and cons for the particular research you are doing.  In this essay, I will examine both individualism and collectivism in the block-style of essay-writing.

To start off, individualism is the study of each individual.  Every person is different in how they view and experience events.  By studying each individual you can get a good look at how the data ranges from one person to another.  Also, you can find out if there are certain factors that can influence one person’s choice like ethnicity, gender, amount of schooling, disabilities, etc.  However, when studying individuals in a group setting, the data can vary so much that it is almost impossible to tell what is important in your findings especially if there are multiple groups that have no distinct pattern to how they are set up.  Individualism may work better when identifying the smaller details of how decisions are made in a group.

The next style of study is collectivism.  This is studying each group as a whole rather than each individual’s part in the group.  By studying the group as a whole, you can figure out how the group reacts as a whole in the face of a problem.  This can be especially helpful when putting individuals with the same social or economical status in the same group and having a couple of mixed groups to see how the different ideas between the individuals can have an impact on the entire group.  For instance, in a study about the rise and fall of empires, you can choose to examine the different actions that led to the rise of that particular empire and the actions that led to the fall of those same empires and compare them to each other.

By using the block-style of writing, I only had to use two body paragraphs for describing both the individualism and collectivism separately rather than why each one is different or similar in a point-by-point analysis.  Both types of study are fairly similar even in their differences, and both kind of play off each other, so it may be even more interesting to incorporate both studies into your data to see how individuals affect a group decision as well as how each individual interacts with each other inside the group.

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