Select Country

Current Indonesian Values

The uniqueness of Indonesian identity is shaped by mixture of traditions that has been passed by generations as well as the influence of the modern world. Understanding the current Indonesian values will be helpful to navigate ways into the society. For local Indonesians, the process of understanding own values starts from home as parents taught their children the important values, for the purpose of educating their children and youngsters to behave when in public. Perception on relationship, perception of time, and perception on work are some of the values inhibited in the society, and are important to be understood by foreigners.

Perception on relationship

Being a collectivist nation, in general, people are concerned towards others. People have strong sense of being part of collective will, that sometimes decision making process would involved several people, particularly those who are more respected. Since it is in general important to respect elderly and people with knowledge and position, hierarchies are common to be found in organizations that consist of both older and younger generations. It is usually uncommon to access supervisors in high levels, while people who belongs in the same level are usually relationship oriented at work. One of the way to maintain good relationship is by avoiding expressions of disagreement explicitly.

Perception of time

In general, Indonesians views time as a fluid entity. It is common to be completing several tasks in once. While working, people would frequently interact with their colleagues. It is considered normal to share personal matters with work colleagues for maintaining relationship. Moreover, being on time is respected, yet people generally still tolerate late comers. When conducting meetings, it is oftentimes taking shorter or mostly longer than it has been scheduled. In some cases, meetings discussions goes in circular and will not be wrapped before the group have agreed upon a consensus.

Perception of work

Given the shift on the macro economic condition, Indonesia have shifted from the agricultural to industrial sectors, and the current world of start ups. Work ethics has been increasing significantly, as every individuals are responsible taking care of their well beings as well as to support their families. During the rise of agricultural sectors, people are attached with values of maintaining harmony with nature, and they have fairly work ethics as they believed the nature will be able to provide them. As the period shift to industrial era, competitiveness started to rise, and maintaining harmony with nature has less importance than gaining profits. Men are still the breadwinner in households, but it is common that women participate in the world of employment.

Though traditional values are still preserved, in general Indonesians are open with accepting new and foreign cultures. The aculturation of new and foreign cultures may caused some shift in traditional values. The younger generation are probably incorporating more of the modern values compared to the older generation. Some of the descriptions above are general tendencies that applies in the current Indonesian society. Given its multicultural backgrounds, specific values also applies in local contexts. As the common rules that applies when entering a new culture, it is best to observe and actively making effort to immerse with the people and their cultural habits. By doing so, it allows us to understand the most essential part of the culture.

About Author

Active traveller with a love for Asian food and Japanese anime.