What is: Individualism?

by Brandi Moore on October 31, 2006

America is one of the most individualistic country in the world . We instill independence in our children at a young age, pushing them out in their early twenties to support themselves.  Children are allowed and encouraged to disagree with elders, displaying their independent thought.  Our individualism spills into our work life, where we identify ourselves by our profession and what we have achieved.  Through our protestant origins Americans believe people are blessed through hard work and determination, which leads to their perceived success.  These ideals result in Americans deriving extensive identity from their profession with a tendency to believe that ANYTHING is possible.  Training, hard work, effort, determination are the keys to the kingdom.

This is, unfortunately, the exact opposite of the cultural preferences found for the most part in India.  Activities that are designed for the US will not work as well in a collectivist society.  Training courses that ask attendees to raise their hand if they know the right answer insight competition that is expected in the US but dreaded in India. Creating incentive programs where the top sales person, consultant, driver, or any other job should be avoided.  Calling attention to someone on staff in a way that an American would enjoy and blush will horrify most Indians.

Be Mindful.  Before implementing a program think about what will motivate participants. Group awards, group projects, group thinking.  You get the picture.

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