Laos Belief And Value

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Every culture has its own belief and values. Being an Asian country, Laos shares some similar believes and values with other country regions. However, Laos has some typical ones of its own. These value form and direct Laos’ politics, economy and society.

Collectivism versus individualism

In Laos, people prefer collectivism to individualism. They share equal responsibility in community tasks. Building the local school or someone's house generates the enthusiastic contribution of the whole neighborhood. In some ways, the Lao people are not as collectivist as other East Asian neighbors because Laos has up to 65 ethnic minorities, each ethnic has their own identity and language. In addition, Buddhism philosophy of “each individual is responsible for his own actions” also make the Lao people are not really collectivism. This philosophy leads people go their own way and not interfere the others.


Authority goes with age or seniority, position or status.  Lao people highly hierarchy in society. As a result, junior always show respect and obedient to senior. Such behavior is considered upright, prudent and a benefit to society.  Control is normally from the top down.

Responsibility and Decision-making

Much of social, economic and political activity in Laos is organized around groups.  Even though decision-making is hierarchical and authority centralized, the process is consensual.   Many people are consulted before a decision is ratified and implemented.  The process is deliberate, time consuming, and what most Westerners might consider excessively cautious.  On the other hand, once decisions are taken, implementation moves ahead steadily since the decision-making process has already built consensus.


Face is the accumulated personal capital or indebtedness between individuals, and is a fundamental feature of Lao culture.  It is at the core of the system of interpersonal relationships and often the key to making a hierarchical and bureaucratic system work. It is important for a Lao person to build and maintain face in order to shape a powerful and influential image.  The more important one appears to be, the more likely one's requests will be granted.  On the other hand, people go to elaborate lengths to give face to others and prevent them from losing it.

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