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complementary rather than conflicting ways of achieving an understanding.2.1.2The trait approachPsychologists have often sought to explain cross-cultural differences in individual behaviouras differences rooted in the cultures’ positions on a small collection of pan-culturaldimensions (e.g. individualism vs. collectivism, see below) and have drawn on concepts ofpersonality psychology. According to this notion, cultures can be traced to a few culturaltraits-general, stable characteristics. Within psychology, the most influential model ofcultural traits has been Hofstede’s dimensional analysis. Based on the results of a cross-national survey of values in the workplace, Hofstede (1989) placed 50 nations into a 4-dimensional hyperspace. The U.S. is high in individualism, whereas Japan is characterisedby high collectivism. The initial impressive evidence coming out of this research has helpedestablishing the etic approach as the paradigmatic approach to studying culture. Followingthis paradigm, several generations of researchers have documented how people fromcultures located on different anchors of a particular dimension react differently to similarsituations (see Fiske, Kitayama, Markus, & Nisbett, 1998 for an overview).In apparent contradiction to the global scale of social transformation and correspondingcomplexities and dynamics in structures of society, many researchers in cross-culturalpsychology have been working and continue to work on the premise that cultural differencescan be conceptualised in terms of cultural dichotomies. Typically, these dichotomies havebeen presented as contrasts between “the West vs. the Rest” (Hermans, 2001a, p. 267).Different terms for dichotomous distinctions have been used to characterise Western cultureor self against non-Western culture or self as a whole, e.g. ‘egocentric’ vs. ‘sociocentric’(Shweder & Bourne, 1984), ‘primary control’ vs. ‘secondary control’ (Azuma, 1984; Weisz,Rothbaum, & Blackburn, 1984), ‘individualism’ vs. ‘collectivism’ (Singelis, Triandis,Bhawuk, & Gelfand, 1995; Triandis, 1989; Triandis, 1994b; Triandis, 1995; Triandis,
Theories and models of cross-cultural psychology12Bontempo, Villareal, Asai, & Lucca, 1988) and ‘independence’ vs. ‘interdependence’(Kitayama & Markus, 1994; Markus & Kitayama, 1991; see Kagitçibasi & Poortinga, 2000for an overview).184.108.40.206 Individualism vs. collectivismTriandis and his colleagues (Triandis, 1989; Triandis, 1994b; Triandis, 1995;Triandis et al., 1998) distinguish groups on the basis of individualist and collectivist valuesand distinguish individuals on the basis of two personality dimensions, idiocentrism andallocentrism, that correspond to the cultural dimensions of individualism and collectivism,respectively. Idiocentrics tend to place particular value on independence, competition, andsuperiority, whereas allocentrics tend to place particular importance on interdependence, in-group harmony, and solidarity and can be characterised by a subordination of personal goalsto those of their in-group. These multidimensional “cultural syndromes” are seen in “shared