Response Style Differences in Cross-National Research
- 533 Downloads
International Management researchers often rely on surveys to collect their data. However, responses to survey questions can be biased by response styles, a respondent’s tendency to provide a systematic response to questions regardless of their content. Response styles vary across countries and individuals, but there is limited systematic research that investigateswhy they vary.
Our study investigates middle (MRS) versus extreme response styles (ERS), the tendency to use the middle or extreme categories on rating scales. We examine the impact of culture, different types of scale anchors and the level of knowledge of the topic in question on MRS and ERS.
We asked five groups of respondents (Chinese in China, Chinese in Australia, Anglo-Australians in Australia, and two groups of German students in Germany) to indicate on a 10-point scale whether certain employee attitudes or behaviour were more typically Australian (left-hand of the scale) or Chinese (right-hand of the scale). We then asked them how they would rate the performance (low to high on a 10-point scale) of an employee who displayed this attitude or behaviour.
Asian respondents showed higher MRS than Western respondents. When scale anchors referred to naturally opposing and mutually exclusive constructs (Australian versus Chinese) respondents showed more ERS than when they referred to level or degree of a construct (low-high performance). Knowledge of cross national differences resulted in higher ERS on behavioural questions but not on performance questions.
KeywordsResponse styles Survey research Culture China Australia Germany
- Buckley, P. J., Devinney, T. M., & Louviere, J. J. (2007). Do managers behave the way theory suggests? A choice-theoretic examination of foreign direct investment location decision-making.Journal of international business studies, 38(7), 1069–1094.Google Scholar
- Chami-Castaldi, E., Reynolds, N., & Wallace, J. (2008). Individualised rating-scale procedure: A means of reducing response style contamination in survey data?The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 6(1), 9–20.Google Scholar
- Clarke, I (2000). Extreme response style in cross-cultural research: An empirical investigation.Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 15(1), 137–152.Google Scholar
- Cronbach, L. J. (1946). Response sets and test validity.Educational and Psychological Measurement, 6, 475–494.Google Scholar
- Dolnicar, S., & Grün, B. (2007). How constrained a response: A comparison of binary, ordinal and metric answer formats.Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 14(2), 108–122.Google Scholar
- Gao, G., Kao, K., & Ting-Toomey, S. (1998).Communicating effectively with the Chinese. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hall, E. T. (1976).Beyond culture. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (1980).Cultures consequences. international differences in work-related values. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Hofstede, G. (2001).Cultures consequences, comparing values, behaviors institutions and organizations across nations, (2nd Ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
- House, R. J., Hanges, P. J., Javidan, M., Dorfman, P. W., & Gupta, V. (2004).culture, leadership, and organizations: The globe study of 62 societies. Thousand Oaks: SageGoogle Scholar
- Johnson, T., O’Rourke, D., Chavez, N., Sudman, S., Warnecke, R., Lacey, L., & Horm, J. (1997). Social cognition and responses to survey questions among culturally diverse populations. In L. Lyberg, P. Biemer, M. Collins, E. de Leeuw, C. Dippo, N. Schwarz, & D. Trewin (Eds.),Survey Measurement and Process Quality (pp. 87–113). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
- O’Donovan, D. (1965). Rating extremity: Pathology or meaningfulness?Psychol Rev, 72(1965), 802.Google Scholar
- Trompenaars. (1997).Riding the waves of culture. Understanding cultural diversity in business. London: Nicholas Brealey Publishing.Google Scholar
- van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2003). Bias and Substantive Analyses. In J. A. Harkness, F. J. R. van de Vijver, & P. P. Mohler (Eds.),Crosscultural Survey Methods ( pp. 207–234). Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
- van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Leung, K. (1997).Methods and data analysis for cross-cultural research. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar