1.4.3 - Universalist or Particularist? Score Yourself!!


Universalist or Particularist? Score Yourself! 


Having become familiar with the concepts of universalism versus particularism, before reading further take a moment to decide whether you consider yourself more of a universalist or a particularist.


Universalist or Particularist Exercise


Below are a number of paired statements (a. and b.). Check the one which best describes the action you would take or the way you feel about the particular topic. Please choose one or the other even if you think both are true. Try to be as honest as you can by answering quickly and without too much thinking.



In hiring someone, I want to know about their technical skills and their educational/professional background.


In hiring, I want to know who the personís family and friends are, who will vouch for this person.


In society, we should help those who are the neediest.


In society, we should help the neediest of those who depend on us.


There are no absolutes in life; you always have to look at the particular situation.


There are certain absolutes which apply across the board.


I would be very hurt if my neighbor, a policeman, gave me a ticket for speeding.


I would not expect my neighbor, the policeman, to jeopardize his job and not give me a speeding ticket.


The courts should mediate conflicts.


People should solve their own conflicts; itís embarrassing if it has to go to court.


In general, people can be trusted.


My closest associates can be trusted absolutely; everyone else is automatically suspect.


Performance reviews should not take personal relations into account.


Performance reviews inevitably take personal relations into account.

8a. You often have to make exceptions for people because of circumstances. 8b. Exceptions should be very rare; otherwise, you open the floodgates.
9a. Contracts arenít necessary between friends. 9b. Contracts guarantee that friends stay friends.
10a. What is ethical in a given situation depends on whom you are dealing with. 10b. Ethics are ethics no matter whom you are dealing with.


It seems that you tend to be  more      


 Is your trend here consistent with your self-concept? See more


It might be very revealing and interesting if you could talk to a person from the country you are going to and see if you can detect any tendency towards universalism or particularism. It might be useful to have several international students do The Accident exercise and compare their answers with yours. It might give you a "heads up" about how the local people will view social obligations, and what might be expected of you.