Individual level theories are arguments that influence foreign policies but are derived from individual’s perspective in relation to their own state values. Cognitive arguments that explain foreign policies by appreciating state leader’s perception are necessary building blocks in international relation. Individual level theories differ from both the state and system-level theories in the manner in which they are formulated, and their significance in international relations
Individual level theories offer the benefits of decentralizing foreign policies to reasonable units that can analyzed on their own and empowered in order to create a strong unit in international relationships. Foreign policies are subject to individuals who make laws within different states. People are commissioned with powers of making decisions within their states, and therefore this makes them play a key role in formulating foreign policies. Every state is made up of people with unique customs and cultural beliefs, which cannot be overlooked in creation of foreign policies. Ignoring individual’s cultural aspects when creating foreign policies might erode necessary values that bide the society together.
Studying international relations at the individual level provides a wider range of viewing foreign policies. It is important for individuals to understand that the creation of the “big policies”, which define international relations, originates from personal arguments. Individual level analysis focuses on people’s characteristics, unlike the state-level analysis where foreign policy behaviors are analyzed in terms of state characteristics. System-level creates a sharp focus on international systems, which are thought to influence state levels. Understanding international relations from a personal level helps in evaluating vital roles played by different leaders in strengthening foreign policies. Personal level perspective influences the patterns of leadership in different states, consequently influencing international systems. Individual level analysis is vital in supporting necessary diplomacy in times of war and conflict between different nations.