Intercultural Communication

Course Website for Tunghai FLLD Seminar

Some comments related to the idea of “identity orientation”

Posted by thuicc on October 14, 2004

In her post, Joanie was asking about “identity orientation” in relation to the “Communication Patterns and Assumptions” article. According to Bernardo Carducci,

Identity orientation refers to the tendency for people to focus more attention and effort on their internal or external environment in defining their identity (Cheek, 1989). Identity orientations are labeled as either personal or social and include the following characteristic features:

Personal Identity Orientation: A personal identity orientation would describe a sense of self within an individual that reflects more of an internal emphasis, based on self-knowledge and self-evaluation. For example, such people would focus on their emotions, thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and personal goals to define their sense of self. Thus, personal identity reflects a more private sense of self.

Social Identity Orientation: A social identity orientation would describe a sense of self within an individual that reflects more of an external emphasis, based on interactions with and the reactions of others. For example, such people would focus on what others say about them or how others treat them in defining their sense of self. Thus, social identity reflects a more public sense of self (e.g., concerns about your popularity and reputation). (3-4).

So, the “identity orientation” part of the description is mainly concerned with the importance of the social vs. the importance of the individual in the making of people’s identities in that culture.

But there are some other factors, too, such as the “lineal orientation” that is mentioned for Native Americans. As the authors say, “their identity is spread vertically over time” because they see themselves as part of their group’s identity across history (including the past, the present, and the future). The authors also suggest that Chinese people have a “lineal” orientation because of the importance of ancestors to Chinese people’s sense of identity. I don’t know if you would agree with that or not. As Joanie suggests, things might have changed over time in Taiwan’s culture.

Work Cited
(Sorry! I can’t help it! My identity orientation has a strong connection to Research Methods!)

Carducci, Bernardo J. “Identity Orientations” Definition, Assessment, and Personal Correlates. A Teaching Module.” Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association, San Francisco, CA, August 24-28, 2001. ERIC Document ED 461 069.


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