Opposite Ends of the Same Stick? Multi-Method Test of the Dimensionality of Individualism and Collectivism

Vas Taras, Riikka Sarala, Paul Muchinsky, Markus Kemmelmeier, Theodore M. Singelis, Andreja Avsec, Heather M. Coon, Dale L. Dinnel, Wendi Gardner, Sherry Grace, Erin E. Hardin, Sandy Hsu, Joel Johnson, Zahide Karakitapoǧlu Aygün, Emiko S. Kashima, Arnulf Kolstad, Taciano L. Milfont, John Oetzel, Sumie Okazaki, Tahira M. ProbstToru Sato, Maggie Shafiro, Seth J. Schwartz, H. Colleen Sinclair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The construct of individualism-collectivism (IND-COL) has become the definitive standard in cross-cultural psychology, management, and related fields. It is also among the most controversial, in particular, with regard to the ambiguity of its dimensionality: Some view IND and COL as the opposites of a single continuum, whereas others argue that the two are independent constructs. We explored the issue through seven different tests using original individual-level data from 50 studies and meta-analytic data from 149 empirical publications yielding a total of 295 sample-level observations that were collected using six established instruments for assessing IND and COL as separate constructs. Results indicated that the dimensionality of IND-COL may depend on (a) the specific instrument used to collect the data, (b) the sample characteristics and the cultural region from which the data were collected, and (c) the level of analysis. We also review inconsistencies, deficiencies, and challenges of conceptualizing IND-COL and provide guidelines for developing and selecting instruments for measuring the construct, and for reporting and meta-analyzing results from this line of research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-245
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014


  • attitudes
  • beliefs
  • cultural psychology
  • history of psych
  • values

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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