By Bethaney Fortner, PTK President
The Phi Theta Kappa honor society, Beta Iota Beta, recently completed academic research criteria for the annual Honors in Action Project. During spring semester, students chose the theme “Individualism vs. Collectivism,” which includes the primary research question, “How are the principles of individualism and collectivism manifested differently across the world?” Officers and members of the EGSC chapter accessed GIL express books from different libraries across the University System of Georgia, while also compiling research from the online database, Galileo. The topic of whether the world is growing more and more collectivist has continued to raise more and more concern worldwide. Some believe it is best to be solely individualist and achieve one’s own goals, whereas others, especially those of certain faiths such as Christian, settle on the idea of collectivism. From this perspective, one must work with others to achieve a common goal, and it is through the help of others that individual success is obtained.
Unwrapping a bit of the research, some curious insight can be found from both points of view. Peter L. Callero writes in The Myth of Individualism: How Social Forces Shape Our Lives, “We cannot escape group membership—nor should we. Groups provide the fertile social context from which language sprouts. Groups provide security and build trust.” Obviously, this is from a pro-collectivism standpoint. David Brooks’s The Road to Character brings forth the idea of Adam I and Adam II, arguing that every person has an internal conflict. Justin Marcus’s insert in the Journal of Organizational Behavior displays the idea that collectivism typically has a better outcome in society and across the world.
The final decision on whether individualism is better than collectivism is left to the individual. However, PTK members have their own beliefs now due to research. Across the world, throughout nations and religions, collectivism and individualism are manifested differently. As for college campuses, especially East Georgia State College, students as well as faculty and staff can be more beneficial to themselves as well as society if a collectivistic approach is taken.