Collectivistic and individualistic values : their effects on group dynamics and productivity in China

Dean William TJOSVOLD, S., Kenneth LAW, Haifa SUN

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Collectivistic and individualistic values are theorized to have far reaching effects on teamwork and organizations. This study proposes that cooperative and competitive goal interdependence mediates the relationship between these values and group interaction and outcomes. Working in State Owned Enterprises in three regions of China, 689 employees in 194 teams indicated their group's values, goal interdependence, constructive controversy, and productivity. Their managers also reported on the extent these teams were productive. Structural equation analysis suggested that collectivistic values may reinforce cooperative goals and an open-minded discussion of views which in turn results in strong relationships and team productivity, as experienced from both the team's and manager's perspectives. Individualistic values, especially the horizontal version, can have contrasting effects through fostering competitive goals and closed-minded discussion. These results, coupled with previous research, suggest that collectivist values, cooperative goals, and constructive controversy provide an important foundation for productive teamwork.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-263
Number of pages21
JournalGroup Decision and Negotiation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2003


  • Collectivistic
  • Competition
  • Cooperation
  • Individualistic


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