The China Onion Model

Topics: China, Culture of China, Song Dynasty Pages: 6 (1829 words) Published: March 15, 2013
Table of Contents
Individualism and Collectivism in China1
What is Individualism and collectivism?1
Individualism vs. Collectivism Onion Model4
Human Nature:4

Individualism and Collectivism in China

What is Individualism and collectivism?

As we learnt in CCA, collectivism is natural and means that people will stay loyal to their in-group in return for acceptance and protection. Most societies are collectivistic with a few individualist exceptions. The biggest difference is that in individualistic societies, people tend to think only about themselves and their nuclear family. While collectivistic societies stress relationships and the bigger context to maintain happiness in their family and community. The way most collectivistic societies maintain order is by everyone sticking to the status quo. It is frowned upon to do something out of the ordinary in collectivist society.

China would be seen as a collectivistic country. Its long history has consistently showed small in-groups and communities sticking together. It is a country that since ancient times has been rural for the majority. In China, the community man is valued. This means that when you suppress your own feelings for the benefit of the community, you are a good citizen and role model. This dates back to the teachings of Confucianism where it taught that helping your family and community was the most important thing you can do.

There is a small conflict with the index score according to Hofstede. China has an individualism score of 20. This is far too low, as in recent years the country is moving in the direction of being more individualistic (especially cities). This recent surge of becoming more individualistic is directly an effect of the focus on the Chinese economy. The Chinese economy is growing, and the government is focusing a lot of attention on maintaining that growth. Mainly in the cities is China less collectivistic, while in rural China nothing has changed among villages because they have not felt the direct impact of economic growth.


In 1978 a series of laws and policies were passed the put China on a road with individualism in its future. These policies reduced the grip on social and collectvistic processes. The policies are in line with the shift in thinking about wealth. Personal monetary wealth had never been important in Chinese society until the economic boom where merchants started gaining more power. Before that, merchants were at the bottom while the farmers and artisans had been higher on the social hierarchy just under scholars and beaurocrats. These policies have started pushing China away from collectivism slightly.

This ritual is difficult to classify under going with or against the values of the culture. This is a policy, and policies change while values remain. China remains collectivistic but this is a policy that has put China on the road for their value to change towards more collectivistic. This policy goes against the collectivistic values that China has always had, as it is individualistic.

In Chinese society the elderly are given a huge amount of respect. China is a graying population as there are some dire forecasts for the future of China and how the government will provide social care to the growing ageing population. In 1996 a new amendment had been proposed to give parents the ability to sue their children if they don’t visit. The law mandates that children regularly visit their parents when they have reached old age. The law was strongly supported and received a lot of backing by many Chinese groups. The law has still yet to pass as the People’s Republic of China has still yet to make a decision on it. Elders have always relied on a social support system by their families. The one child policy has reduced the chance of having a son to care for the parents.

The proposal of this law goes with the collectivistic...
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