Tips, tricks and strategies for dealing with individualists and collectivists

This article will give you specific tips and strategies on how to best deal with individualists and collectivists. This way you can achieve your personal goals more easily.

You can learn more about the background to both cultural styles in our main article. However, you can find specific tips and tricks here. 🙂

Tips on how to communicate best with individualists

  • Prepare yourself for quick decisions [sometimes even without informing the headquarters]!
  • Please do not be surprised if only one person is facing you during negotiations! This is by no means a sign of a lack of respect, but rather evidence that this one person is particularly trusted.
  • Do not confuse quick friendly relationships with close friendship! Individualism is great for socializing quickly, to feel welcome and not to be alone. The downside of this quality, however, is that you have to share this openness with many other people. So you can look forward to every intense friendship [which also exists with individualists]! To avoid disappointment, however, you should expect rather loose relationships!

Tips on how to communicate best with collectivists

  • Show patience for longer decisions, consultation phases and negotiations on the part of the collectivists! The group simply has to be consulted …
  • Assume that decisions [after consulting the group] may be revised or changed!
  • Try to convince the negotiator strongly of your concern! Only if your concern has been conveyed very convincingly and without loss of meaning you’ll have a very good chance that it will be passed on to the group in the same way.
  • The collectivist’s goal will tend to be long-term cooperation. If you want, you can also emphasize this intention on your part!
  • Be aware that collectivist guests may be alone for the first time in their lives [in a room, on a weekend, in the evening] when they visit an individualistic country. Try urgently to organize the most comprehensive “support” possible! In the case of longer visits, several colleagues should help and split up days on which you accompany your guest.
  • Relationships are the most important key in collectivist cultures. So? Build Relationships! For example, by also talking about private matters. My tip: Inquiries about the family of your counterpart are almost always a top topic for collectivists!
  • Put the needs of the group above your own!
  • Do not reward individuals, but the entire group!
  • If you make a decision that affects a group member, you should talk to this person beforehand or at least inform them personally!
  • Remember that collectivists may behave completely differently towards people who are not part of their own group. So it could be that people may not share a lot with you at first, because they don’t know you yet. Do not give up; Stay tuned! Sometimes good things take time.


About Markus Eidam

Nach meinem insgesamt vierjährigen Aufenthalt in verschiedenen Ländern dieser Welt bin ich seit dem Jahr 2004 Geschäftsführer bei den Auslands-Experten von Eidam & Partner. In jüngeren Jahren habe ich Interkulturelle Kommunikation, Erwachsenenbildung und Psychologie studiert und mich zum Trainer, Coach und Personalfachwirt der IHK ausbilden lassen. Unser Unternehmen bietet Ihnen Interkulturelles Training, Interkulturelles Coaching, Consulting und eLearning zu 80 Zielländern.
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