Department of Marketing

Do Culture-Dependent Response Styles Distort Substantial Relationships?

Survey data are frequently distorted by answering tendencies, such as acquiescence,disacquiescence, midpoint and extreme response style. Cross-cultural research projectsmay be particularly vulnerable to misinterpretations. This paper provides empiricalinsights into the manner and degree to which culture systematically distorts findings fromsurvey data. The study is based on data from 1027 respondents from Austria, France,Germany, India, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and the United States. The investigation firstlydemonstrates that Hofstede’s and project GLOBE’s cultural dimensions explain variationsin response styles across different countries. Secondly, and most importantly, the paperexplores the impact of culture-dependent response styles on findings. Remarkably, theextent of distortion in correlation analysis and mean comparisons is less severe thanexpected. Nonetheless, cross-cultural researchers would be well advised to control at leastfor (dis-)acquiescence before analyzing and interpreting their data.

Hoffmann, S.; Mai, R.; Cristescu, A. (2013). Do Culture-Dependent Response Styles Distort Substantial Relationships?, International Business Review, 22 (5), 814-827.