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Keywords:

  • individualism;
  • collectivism;
  • cooperation;
  • levels of analyses;
  • meta-analysis

Summary

We examined the interactive effects of levels of individualism–collectivism (I–C) on cooperation at work by meta-analytically combining results obtained from 201 studies, representing 225 independent samples. I–C was operationalized at the individual, organizational, and societal levels of analyses. Cooperation was conceptualized at both individual and group levels of analysis. Both cooperative behavior and performance were included as outcomes. The correlation between individual-level I–C and cooperation/performance was stronger in collectivistic as opposed to individualistic societies. Similarly, the correlation between organizational-level I–C and cooperation was stronger in collectivistic societies. Results also indicated that individual-level and organizational-level I–C, but not societal-level I–C, were moderately related to study outcomes. Examination of other potential moderators indicated that neither study setting, I–C dimensionality, nor performance measurement type (objective vs subjective measures) altered these relations. However, a conceptual match between I–C and cooperation was a moderator such that effect sizes were generally larger when I–C and outcomes were both measured at the same level of analysis. Overall, our results indicate that I–C is both theoretically and empirically distinct across the various levels of analyses and that it may be a better predictor of outcomes in collectivistic as opposed to individualistic societies. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.