, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 366-374

Reversed-polarity items and scale unidimensionality

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A standard procedure in the development of multi-item measurement scales is to incorporate reversed-polarity items to control for and/or identify acquiescence response bias. In spite of the broad acceptance of this approach, very little work has been done to evaluate the impact of reversed-polarity items on the dimensionality of scales. This study empirically evaluates the impact of reversed-polarity items on the unidimensionality of several well-known marketing measures. The authors suggest that use of reversed-polarity items may present a substantive problem for marketing scholars because of the resulting degradation of scale unidimensionality. The existence of this phenomenon is confirmed in a multisurvey, multiscale, binational research design. Implications for marketing scale developers and measurement theoreticians are discussed, theoretical bases that might explain the phenomenon are explored, and further research suggestions are presented.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1989. His current research interests include cross-cultural marketing strategy, sales force management, and psychometrics. He is a previous contributor to theJournal of the Academy of Marketing Science and has also been published in theJournal of Personal Selling and Sales Management, International Marketing Review, andEuropean Journal of Marketing, among others.
Before receiving his D.B.A. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, he served in marketing positions for international firms and as marketing chairs for two industry associations. His research interests include product innovation and new product strategy.