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The influence of individualist and collectivist attributes on responses to Likert-type scales

by Shulruf, Boaz

Abstract (Summary)
Collectivism and individualism are culturally-related psychological structures which have been used to distinguish people within and across various societies. From a review of the literature, it is argued that the most salient feature of individualism is valuing personal independence, which includes self-knowledge, uniqueness, privacy, clear communication, and competitiveness. Collectivism is associated with a strong sense of duty to group, relatedness to others, seeking others' advice, harmony, and working with the group. The purpose of the thesis is to explore how collectivist and individualist attributes affect the way people respond to Likert-type questionnaires. In the first study, a new measurement tool for individualism and collectivism was developed to address critical methodological issues in this field of cross-cultural psychology. This new measure the “Auckland Individualism and Collectivism Scale” defined three dimensions of individualism: (a) Responsibility (acknowledging one's responsibility for one's actions), (b) Uniqueness (distinction of the self from the other) and (c) Compete (striving for personal goals is one's prime interest); and two dimensions of collectivism: (d) Advice (seeking advice from people close to one, before taking decisions), and (e) Harmony (seeking to avoid conflict). The AICS avoids the need for measuring horizontal and vertical dimensions of collectivism and individualism, and the confounding effect of familialism on the collectivism-individualism constructs. The second study investigated the relationship between collectivism and individualism and various response sets that have been reported relating to the way in which individuals respond to Likert-type scales. Using structural equation modelling, the Collectivism-Individualism Model of Response Bias was developed. This model suggests two types of response sets: (a) the Impression-Response Bias which includes response sets such as social desirability and context, that affect the first four stages of responding to questions, namely receiving and retrieving data and making decisions; and (b) the Expression-Response Bias which includes response sets such as the extreme response set and the neutral response set that relate to the application of the responses, namely the actual answer chosen by the respondent. Collectivism is negatively correlated with context and with self deception enhancement whereas individualism is positively correlated with context and self deception enhancement and impression management. Context is positively correlated with extreme response set and negatively correlated with neutral response set. The Collectivism-Individualism Model of Response Bias suggests that collectivist and individualist attributes directly affect the Impression-Response Bias response sets and indirectly affect the Expression-Response Bias response sets. It was concluded that attributes of collectivism and individualism affect the decision made by the respondents and therefore lead to different responses to Likert-type questionnaires. Nevertheless, the effect of collectivism and individualism on the magnitude of the responses would be limited as it is mediated by the Impression-Response Bias response set.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:The University of Auckland / Te Whare Wananga o Tamaki Makaurau

School Location:New Zealand

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:psychology social 0451 psychometrics 0632

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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