The relational orientation framework for examining culture in Chinese societies

Yi-Hui Huang, Olwen Bedford, Yin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Individualist and collectivist cultural frameworks have been the dominant research paradigm in cross-cultural studies despite evidence of conceptual and measurement problems with collectivism. We propose a new theoretical framework of psychological functioning in Chinese societies that captures some of the useful elements of collectivism without its drawbacks. The relational orientation framework takes into account the variety of relations in an individual’s social and cultural environment. The model comprises a structural–relational factor grounded in sociological structuration theory and relational orientation characteristics, and a rational–relational factor that captures important aspects of agency based on social exchange theory. We discuss the framework’s role in providing an alternative to methodological individualism for research in Chinese societies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477–490
Number of pages14
JournalCulture and Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date13 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese culture
  • collectivism
  • individualism
  • relationalism
  • theoretical model


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