Document Type

Paper Series

Publication Date





One of the significant features of the national culture of the Chinese in China and other Chinese-majority societies is “collectivism” or “low individualism” (Hofstede, 1984; Hofstede and Bond, 1988; Hofstede, 1993). Does it imply that the Chinese at work are collective subjects, with “group orientation”? Different people may have different views on this question. This paper challenges such popular assumptions about Chinese work behavior of “collectivism”. Drawing on studies from P.R.C., Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, it questions whether the logic of Chinese Confucian collectivism, prevailing in traditional Chinese family, still applies in today’s work organization. Based on the studies of collectivism and individualism in Chinese-majority societies, the controversial issue of collectivism is discussed, and implications for future studies of collectivism and individualism are also derived.


HKIBS Working Paper Series 040-001

Recommended Citation

Wong, Y. T. E. (2001). The Chinese at work: Collectivism or individualism? (HKIBS Working Paper Series 040-001). Retrieved from Lingnan University website: