Liking for Action and the Vertical/Horizontal Dimension of Culture in Nineteen Nations: Valuing Equality over Hierarchy Promotes Positivity Towards Action

Dolores Albarracin, Christopher Jones, Justin Hepler, Iris Hong Li


Abstract: The question of who should act, and how often, is critical for cultures and the regulation of social behavior.  The vertical/horizontal dimension of culture describes the relative valuing of hierarchy versus equality.  In a horizontal culture valuing equality, responsibility for action is more widely distributed than in a vertical culture valuing hierarchy.  The relation between this cultural dimension and general attitudes towards action and inaction was tested with a large-scale survey of respondents from 19 nations.  A multi-level model indicated that liking for action was especially associated with horizontality--the valuing of equality.  Although values can generally be expressed through various compatible actions, horizontality (valuing equality) entails endorsing distributed responsibility for action and its outcomes, promoting general favorability towards action.  In contrast, verticality includes countervailing components that discourage action by promoting norms that constrain who should act in accordance to status.      

Resumen: La cuestión de quién debe actuar y con qué frecuencia es crítica para las culturas y la regulación del comportamiento social. La dimensión vertical / horizontal de la cultura describe la valoración relativa de la jerarquía versus la igualdad. En una cultura horizontal que valora la igualdad, la responsabilidad de la acción se distribuye más ampliamente que en una jerarquía de valores verticales. La relación entre esta dimensión cultural y las actitudes generales hacia la acción y la inacción fue probada con una encuesta a gran escala de encuestados de 19 naciones. Un modelo multinivel indica que el gusto por la acción se asocia especialmente con la horizontalidad - la valoración de la igualdad. Aunque los valores pueden expresarse generalmente a través de diversas acciones compatibles, la horizontalidad (valoración de la igualdad) implica respaldar la responsabilidad distribuida de la acción y sus resultados, promoviendo la acción. En cambio, la verticalidad incluye componentes compensatorios que desalientan la acción y promueve normas que limitan quién debe actuar de acuerdo al estatus


culture, attitude

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