The emperor with no clothes: A critique of collectivism and individualism.

SCIENTIFIC Collectivism (COL) and individualism (IND) are the most well-known constructs in cultural psychology. Their popularity can be seen in the routine classification of countries and racial groups as “collectivistic” or “individualistic,” as well as their ubiquity in psychology textbooks and intercultural training. Despite their popularity, the authors contend that COL and IND suffer from weaknesses that limit their utility in psychological science and practice. First, COL and IND lack conceptual clarity and have porous conceptual boundaries, resulting in a proliferation of definitions and types of COL and IND. Second, the authors examined empirical and methodological challenges plaguing COL and IND, including problems with the factor structure of COL and IND measures, unexpected findings, and evidence suggesting that cross-cultural differences in COL and IND may be a function of how they are measured. Third, the practical applications of COL and IND may inadvertently result in greater stereotyping of culturally diverse groups. Considering these concerns, the authors offer seven recommendations for researchers and practitioners, including a greater emphasis on narrower constructs associated with COL and IND (e.g., independence and uniqueness), as well as guidelines for defining and measuring constructs associated with COL and IND. Finally, the authors call for discontinuing the practice of labeling societies and racial/ethnic groups as “collectivistic” or “individualistic.” (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)