Collectivism is a political theory which states that power should be distributed in the hands of people as a whole and not in the hands of few people. It is a social ideology which places significant emphasis on groups. Collectivism encourages people to conform to groups and discourages individuals from working individually out of groups.
Collectivist cultures favor interdependence and loyalty to family or clan. Examples of collectivist cultures are Asians, Arabians, South American and South European cultures. This was found out by Hofsteade in 2001 after he conducted a survey of IBM employees in 30 countries. He surveyed people with similar jobs in different countries but in the same company to measure difference in culture if any. He created an index for measuring individualism and collectivism and accordingly classified the countries.
There are two types of collectivism horizontal and vertical collectivism. In horizontal collectivism all members of the group are considered to be very equal and they share resources and responsibilities. Example: a cooperative enterprise. In vertical collectivism people maintain a social hierarchy and people submit to those above them in the hierarchy. Example: a military hierarchy.