We propose solutions to two recurring problems in cross-national research: response style differences and language bias. In order to do so, we conduct a methodological comparison of two different response formats-rating and ranking. For rating, we assess the effect of changing the commonly used 5-point Likert scales to 7-point Likert scales. For ranking, we evaluate the validity of presenting respondents with short scenarios for which they need to rank their top 3 solutions. Our results - based on two studies of 1965 undergraduate and 1714 MBA students in 16 different countries - confirm our hypotheses that both solutions reduce response and language bias, but show that ranking generally is a superior solution. These findings allow researchers to have greater confidence in the validity of cross-national differences if these response formats are used, instead of the more traditional 5-point Likert scales. In addition, our findings have several practical implications for multinational corporations, relating to issues such as selection interviews, performance appraisals, and cross-cultural training.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported under Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP0555977). The views expressed herein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Australian Research Council.
- Cross-national research
- Language bias
- Research methods
- Response style differences
- Survey research