Cultural resemblance between Japan and Korea has been assumed, because both East Asian cultures are generally characterized by collectivism. However, subsequent investigations suggest a contrast between the two cultures in the decision-making process, concurrent with a growing call for a more elaborate model of self-construal. This study compares the diverse ways of self-construal underlying decisions regarding invitations between Japan and Korea. We conducted a scenario-based questionnaire in which 377 Japanese and Korean college students made decisions regarding whether to invite someone to an activity, to do the activity alone, or to not do the activity. Utilizing classification tree modeling to analyze multivariate categorical data, we examined the participants’ selected actions according to two factors: interpersonal relations (i.e., whether the other was a friend or an unfamiliar but favored classmate) and the locus of interest in a given situation (i.e., whether the event was of interest to the speaker, hearer, or both parties). The results revealed cultural variations in invitations. Japanese students seem to be interdependent, in that they hesitate to invite others unless they have an assured interpersonal relationship, and tend to wait until they are sure of the other’s interest, even when interested themselves. In contrast, Korean students appear more independent in considering the other’s interest and pursuing their own interest. This study highlights the complex ways of self-construal within the alleged collectivist East Asian region, and also demonstrates the applicability of classification tree analysis in differentiating rank orders of multiple factors influencing people’s decision making across cultures.
- decision tree analysis
- independent and interdependent self-construal