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Cross-cultural research is dominated by the use of values despite their mixed empirical support and their limited theoretical scope. This article expands the dominant paradigm in crosscultural research by developing a theory of cultural tightness-looseness, the strength of social norms and degree of sanctioning within societies, and advancing a multilevel research agenda for future research. Through an exploration of the top-down, bottom-up, and moderating impact that societal tightness-looseness has on individuals and organizations, as well as on variability across levels of analysis, the theory provides a new and complementary perspective to the values approach.


Suggested Citation
Gelfand, M. J., Nishii, L. H., & Raver, J. L. (2007). On the nature and importance of cultural tightness-looseness (CAHRS Working Paper #07-05). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies.