Individualism. At one end of the spectrum are cultures that emphasize the continuity of the group and hence the group goals are paramount in the decision-making efforts. These groups are generally homogenous in some fashion and want to stay that way. On the other hand, at the other end of the spectrum are cultures in which the value of autonomy of the members of the group is seen as the only important criterion for decision making. Obviously, there are many points between these two on the spectrum.
Cultures that hold the individualistic view emphasize achieving the goals of the indi- vidual above all others. These people may accept and pursue group goals, but only if they do not conflict with their own. Collateral societies, on the other hand, emphasize the goals and welfare of the extended group, such as an organization. Those cultures at the extreme point of this dimension stress the importance of continuity of the group through time and ordered progression of individuals within the group.
Clearly, then, the level of individualism associated with a culture will affect the goals adopted and pursued in decision making as well as decision makers’ general compliance with authority in considering alternatives. Evan and Negandhi postulate that this orientation will affect the formalization of the socialization function and the direction of communication within an organization. They suggest that cultures that emphasize the individualistic component will have formal means of socialization within the organization and strong multidirectional communication among decision makers. Cultures that empha- size the group component, on the other hand, will have informal means of socialization within the organization and unidirectional communication. As stated previously, this will in turn affect the types of analyses and standards of alternatives considered, the need for controls on information within the organization, and the need for sharing analyses among levels within the organization.