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Materialism and collectivism

Running head: MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 1
Materialism and Collectivism
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MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 2
Introduction
Materialism is an aspect that is common in the modern world. It is greatly driven by
individual interest. Great importance is usually placed on acquisition of various objects based on
self-prioritization. Most of the individuals or nations that are characterized with this trait have a
meaningful relationship with material objects rather than other people. Based on difference in
interest individuals or societies characterized with the materialistic trait tend to differ with those
with a collectivism perspective. In most of the case materialism is considered as an opposite
perspective of collective values. Therefor individuals who hold materialistic or collectivism ideal
tend to have value conflict that is a psychological tension which results from incongruent studies
(Petruzzellis & Winer, 2015). Most of the cultural studies indicate that collectivist societies are
more successful than their materialistic counterparts in the balancing of personal goals and
collective interest.
From the cultural perspective materialism tends to differ with the collectivism approach
in terms of value but recently a great percentage of individuals with the materialistic passion tend
to embrace a collective approach. This indicates that materialistic behavior tends to be inter
twined with collective values. This approach can be used to explain why consumers from the
East have surpassed those in the West in materialistic consumption as both societies tend to have
a collectivism approach. In collectivism, group membership is of essence thus individuals
develop personal values that are a reflection of the collective goals. Therefore most of the
individuals indicate great preference of material ownership that favors them to have a collective
approach in their goals and interests. Therefore most of the materialistic individuals tend to have
great satisfaction in fulfilling social expectations and enactment of collective goals (Petruzzellis
& Winer, 2015).
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 3
Societies that are inter twined within a materialistic social structure indicate great
preference of material possession for the fulfillment of collective goals while societies that have
a great preference of collectivism indicate interpersonal collective approaches that contain the
welfare of each individual and the building of harmonious relationships. The aspect of social
awareness has a great impact on consumerism where most of the consumers tend to consume
products and services from organizations that encapsulate positive social impacts (Petruzzellis &
Winer, 2015). The paper examines collective oriented materialism in different cultures and its
impact on consumption across various cultures.
Individual Materialism
Measurement of consumer materialism greatly focuses on traits and values. Most of the
personal traits that are greatly associated with development of materialism among individuals
include possessiveness, jealousy, dishonesty and preservation. Values whose operation results to
the development of materialistic nature comprise of success, happiness and centrality. Centrality
focuses on the acquisition of material objects based on personal gratification. Happiness on the
other hand is based on a belief system that material possession results to a happy life and success
is based on most of individual success is reflected by the quality and the amount of material that
one owns.
Other than consumption materialism has a great impact on resource allocation for
instance working overtime results to increased payment. Individuals that are highly materialistic
tend to regard possession of numerous objects as an aspect of desire, happiness and realization of
various goals. From various researches materialism is usually associated with reduced life
satisfaction and little existence of interpersonal relationships. Therefore individualistic
materialism greatly focuses on the building of meaningful relationship with various objects
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 4
rather than individuals. Materialism tends to differ with collectivism in accordance to the value-
conflict theory where materialistic individuals have great preference of their possessions rather
than achievement of collective oriented values. Materialistic individuals that have preference of
collective oriented values have a great chance of experiencing internal conflicts that might be in
the form of poor subjective well-being and psychological tensions.
Factors That Result To Materialism
There are various factors that have greatly resulted to the materialism state. Most of the
historical changes that have been experienced have greatly impacted on the increased levels of
materialism. The end of the World War II was marked with globalization, better marketing
strategies, increased scale of choices for consumers, increased competition, increased income
levels for different nations and the setting of minimum income (Ioane, 2016). Within various
societies social status and income levels have a great impact on materialism.
Status is the ranking of members in various social classes in terms of possession. Social
influence has been noticed as a key aspect that results to materialism. For instance parenting
style might entail the notion of materialism where the child’s behavior or success is rewarded on
the basis of possession. Most of the individualistic status within the society is greatly connected
with materialism. For one to improve their social status they indicate great consumption of
consumer products that reflect on their status. Possession of luxury goods indicate a higher
status. On the other perspective the goods by themselves can display various facts concerning
the owner. Therefore acquisition of various products by various individuals might be a reflection
of their status. On the other hand consumers might uses material possession in creation of a self-
concept. In accordance to this, most of the products that are used by consumers uphold certain
cultural perspective where they symbolize membership or desired membership in various social
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 5
groups (Ioane, 2016). Therefore the greater social imagery reflected within various commodities
the greater the materialistic nature among individuals based on attainment of a particular social
status.
Income levels have a great impact on the materialistic nature. Mass materialism that is
greatly experienced in the modern world is greatly associated with increased income levels.
Materialism levels are therefore linked to income levels where individuals that have a lower
income have a low materialistic tendency as compared to individuals with higher income (Ioane,
2016). Most of the bankruptcy cases that are experienced are driven by the aspect of materialism
since individuals are tasked with making lifetime decisions between acquisitions of various
objects in relation to their income levels. Therefore other than materialism being a strong desire
that results to personal growth, it’s one of the fact that has resulted to increase overdraw. Most of
the materialistic individual indicate a great comparison trait where they compare their standards
of living with individuals that earn more than them (Ioane, 2016). They tend to work hard but the
remuneration is low. The greater belief of most of the materialistic individuals is that the greater
the income one has, the more satisfying that one is.
Culture is also of great essence in fostering of materialism. Perception of various
products in the market is based on the cultural value that is associated with the product. The
ability of a product to satisfy a certain cultural perspective is of great essence. Therefore people
from various cultures tend to own certain products in order to reinforce their cultural values
(Ioane, 2016).
Relationship between Collectivism and Materialism
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 6
Collective materialism is greatly driven by the desire to belong to a certain human value.
For instance most of the consumer’s judge materialistic goods not only on the basis of
expectation but also on the desire of wanting to impress how other individuals will evaluate the
goods. The presence of other individuals results to the activation of impression management
concerns. The collectivism materialism is greatly driven by collective cultures. Most of the
collective cultures are greatly characterized with social bonds and certain interpersonal
relationships such as family, colleagues and friends (Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017). In
most of the collectivist cultures, interpersonal collective values that place great emphasis on
harmonious relationships that act in compliance to traditions and social conformity are greatly
desired. Such group orientation indicates the reduced attention that is placed on individuals that
are outside these groups. In an individualistic culture, collectiveness is portrayed in terms of
shared social bands based on emotional perspective, common interest and spiritual alignment
(Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017).
Materialism is therefore greatly driven by collective oriented interest and goals. Most of
the individuals that are highly materialistic, indicate a great desire towards consumption and
acquisition based on their beliefs. For instance selection of schools by parents for their children
may be based on social aspects such as reputation over measures such as the cost of the academic
institution. Similarly individuals may spend a great amount on various objects as a social
investment that is passed from one generation to the other. Collective materialism is greatly
driven by the possession of objects as an aspect of granting status to an individual and others.
The ideology of the collective approach varies differently among various cultures thus
different cultures have different aspects of collective oriented values. The interpretation of
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 7
collective beliefs in various cultures has a great impact on collective materialism among its
members.
Materialism and collective oriented values in a collective culture is encountered through
social norms. For instance most Western nations like America and most Eastern nations like
China tend to differ on the notion of culturally unacceptable behavior in the society. In guilt
based Western cultures behavior is based on religion perspective while in most Eastern nation
like China behavior is compared to accepted social norms. Another instance is that in some
beliefs acquisition of numerous possessions is viewed as an evil. Such collective beliefs greatly
hinder the notion of materialism since certain individuals within certain group will indicate no
passion of materialism based on their collective belief (Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017).
Collectivistic social norms have a great impact on materialism. Most common social norm is
face saving where a positive image is affirmed through interactions with various individuals. In
face saving consumers are greatly driven by their reputation therefore acquisition of various
products are not only on self-concept but also relatives and friends (Awanis, Schlegelmilch &
Cui, 2017). Most of the consumers tend to acquire certain commodities based on the fact that
they maintain appropriate social interactions. Conformity is also another social norm that greatly
impacts on materialism. From a collectivist perspective most of the materialist acquisition reflect
on individuals they regard with values.
In a collectivism culture there is a strong support for group ambitions. Realization of
most of the goals tend to be congratulated and it mostly involves the attainment of luxurious
commodities. For instance when your family goes for a vacation and share most of the images of
the vacation on their social media handles the number of likes and comments are from
individuals within their collective culture. In most of the collectivist societies individual success
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 8
is greatly associated with family success and an individual failure is a failure of the entire family.
Therefore in most of the collectivist society materialistic culture is based on the entire group
(Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017).
Conspicuous consumption is another aspect that has a great impact on collectivism which
in turn affects materialism. Conspicuous consumption refers to the acquisition and display of
acquired items to convey a certain message. Most of the materialistic individuals use greatly
apply the notion of conspicuous consumption for various purposes and cause envy among
individuals such as portrayal of wealth and power (Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017). In a
collectivism approach conspicuous consumption is based on creating a desirable social trait. For
instance when individuals carry out a charity fundraiser to aid the needy in the society which is a
reflection of qualities such as generosity (Hawkins & Mothersbaugh, n.d.). Collectivistic
societies may also indulge in conspicuous consumption as a form of raising the social standings
for the members in their group for instance the consumption of various luxurious brands of
commodities among consumers within a specific group might be reflected with one’s bond
towards the group.
Conspicuous consumption is greatly affected by the prices of various commodities.
Consumer’s attachment towards various brands is greatly related to the purchase price of the
commodity. The price of various products is usually determined by the scarcity principle. In
accordance to the commodity theory scarcity is a marketing instrument that influences the price
of the commodity which in turn enhances the value and desirability of ownership of the
commodity (Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017). In a materialistic perspective the higher the
price of a product, acquisition of the product makes an individual feel greater than the others if
the scarcity arises from high demand of the product or the limited nature of the commodity.
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 9
Materialistic individuals who possess products that are limited in nature tend to evoke a feeling
of envy and respect among various individuals (Awanis, Schlegelmilch & Cui, 2017). In a
collectivism society, such trait is incoherent and in most cases the individual loses the bond he or
she had in the group.
In a collectivism society, the scarcity appeal is never desirable to individuals within the
collective oriented values. Consumption of products based on the pricing system within such
boundaries results to social stigma. Those individuals that associate themselves with acquisition
of scarce commodities are usually viewed as extravagant thus they are tainted with a negative
notion based on their materialistic nature.
Economic Benefit of Materialism and Collectivism
The materialism and collectivism approach is of great essence for various industries.
Through understanding the various collectivism materialism approach that is eminent in the
society they are able to know which business venture is applicable in various societies and the
nature of returns they expect from the business venture. The marketing message of various
products is of great essence. If the business understands the collective nature of the society they
are venturing in, the marketing message of their product should be in accordance to their value.
In a materialistic society, most of the individuals tend to focus greatly on the meaning of the
product rather than their material. Most of the materialist compare goods with their intended
desire. In applying the various marketing strategy one should focus on the perception of the
product thus running adverts that focus on the imagery associated with acquisition of the set
brand.
Conclusion
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 10
In most of the discussions on the notion of materialism, great emphasis has been placed
on the aspect of selfless side of materialism rather than the collective oriented values. In a self-
centered perspective materialism is greatly assigned to acquisition based on the individual
interest and perspective concerning the object which might conflict with the collective oriented
materialism. In individualism materialism acquisition is based on the goals, beliefs and values
that are align with the self-interest of the individual. In both the Western and Eastern nations
most of the self-oriented materialist greatly emphasis on the symbolic aspect of conspicuous
consumption thus great focus is placed on the social, brand and price symbolism.
Collective oriented materialism is eminent when the values associated with various
material goods act in alignment with collective-oriented values. In most of the Eastern nations,
collective oriented materialism is eminent as compared to the Western nations. Culture is an
aspect that greatly contributes to these trend among the Eastern nations but collective oriented
materialism is vivid in various country groups.
Most of the studies indicate that collectivism and materialism is based on the notion of
culture with little research to examine other factors. The notion of materialism researches have
greatly focused on Eastern and Western nations with little emphasis on other nations within the
globe. Other aspects in the cultural dynamics that shape materialism such as masculinity or
femininity need to be investigated in future researches. Materialistic perspective greatly evolve
within advancement of technology, entrepreneurship and emergence of new markets. Future
studies need to place great emphasis on behavioral influence on materialism.
MATERIALISM AND COLLECTIVISM 11
References
Awanis, S., Schlegelmilch, B., & Cui, C. (2017). Asia’s materialists: Reconciling collectivism
and materialism. Journal Of International Business Studies, 48(8), 964-991.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/s41267-017-0096-6
Hawkins, D., & Mothersbaugh, D. Consumer behavior.
Ioane, B. (2016). Materialism in China Review of Literature. Asian Journal Of Business And
Management, 4(3), 99-105. Retrieved from
https://www.ajouronline.com/index.php/AJBM/article/viewFile/3934/2074
Petruzzellis, L., & Winer, R. (2015). Rediscovering the Essentiality of Marketing.

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