Reclaiming the Individual From Hofstede’s Ecological Analysis— A 20-Year Odyssey: Comment on Oyserman et al.

D. Oyserman, H. M. Coon, and M. Kemmelmeier (2002) challenge the stereotype that European Americans are more individualistic and less collectivistic than persons from most other ethnic groups. The author contends that this stereotype took firm empirical root with G. Hofstede’s (1980) monumental publication identifying the United States as the most individualistic of his then 40 nations. This empirical designation arose because of challengeable decisions Hofstede made about the analysis of his data and the labeling of his dimensions. The conflation of concepts under the rubric of cultural individualism plus psychologists’ unwarranted psychologizing of the construct then combined with Hofstede’s empirical location of America to set a 20-year agenda for data collection. Oyserman et al. disentangle and organize this mass of studies, enabling the discipline of cross-cultural psychology to forge ahead in more productive directions, less reliant on previous assumptions and measures.