Who is the most indecisive: people from America, China or Japan?

Three studies examined cultural variations in indecisiveness among Chinese, Japanese, and Americans. In Study 1, validated self-report, comprehensive measures of indecisiveness indicated large cultural differences, with Japanese participants exhibiting substantially more indecisiveness than Chinese or Americans. Study 2 provided evidence that such cultural variations correspond to variations in people’s positive versus negative values for decisive behaviors, suggesting that such values are plausibly an important means for motivating and sustaining cultural differences in indecisiveness. Study 3 provided direct behavioral instances of the differences in indecisiveness implicated in Studies 1 and 2. It also suggested that thoroughness might be an important cognitive mechanism whereby cultural differences in indecision actually occur, with thoroughness being especially prominent among Japanese decision makers. Suggestions for theory concerning the nature and foundations of indecisiveness and its cultural variations are developed and discussed, along with plausible implications for real-life practical issues, for example, in politics and management.

Source: “Indecisiveness and Culture: Incidence, Values, and Thoroughness” from Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology May 2010 vol. 41 no. 3 428-444

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