Differences between tight and loose cultures: a 33-nation study

SOURCE: Science
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2011
TITLE AUTHOR(S): M.J.Gelfand, J.L.Raver, L.Nishii, L.M.Leslie, J.Lun, B.C.Lim, L.Duan, A.Almaliach, S.Ang, J.Arnadottir, Z.Aycan, K.Boehnke, P.Boski, R.Cabecinhas, D.Chan, J.Chhokar, A.D'Amato, M.Ferrer, I.C.Fischlmayr, R.Fischer, M.Fulop, J.Georgas, E.S.Kashima, Y.Kashima, K.Kim, A.Lempereur, P.Marquez, R.Othman, BOverlaet, P.Panagiotopoulou, K.Peltzer, L.R.Perez-Florizno, L.Ponomarenko, A.Realo, V.Schei, M.Schmitt, P.B.Smith, N.Soomro, E.Szabo, N.Taveesin, M.Toyama, E.Van de Vliert, N.Vohra, C.Ward, S.Yamaguchi
KEYWORDS: CROSS-SECTORAL COOPERATION, CULTURAL DIVERSITY, CULTURAL RIGHTS, VALUES IN SOCIETY
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Capabilities (HSC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 6842
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/3776

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Abstract

With data from 33 nations, we illustrate the differences between cultures that are tight (have many strong norms and a low tolerance of deviant behavior) versus loose (have weak social norms and a high tolerance of deviant behavior). Tightness-looseness is part of a complex, loosely integrated multilevel system that comprises distal ecological and historical threats (e.g., high population density, resource scarcity, a history of territorial conflict, and disease and environmental threats), broad versus narrow socialization in societal institutions (e.g., autocracy, media regulations), the strength of everyday recurring situations, and micro-level psychological affordances (e.g., prevention self-guides, high regulatory strength, need for structure). This research advances knowledge that can foster cross-cultural understanding in a world of increasing global interdependence and has implications for modeling cultural change.