Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Cultural Value Orientation: Measurement Invariance in a Multi-Country Sample

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

Cultural Value Orientation: Measurement Invariance in a Multi-Country Sample

Article excerpt

Much of contemporary research in cross-national setting uses culture as a key explanatory variable (Chiles et al., 2007). Following Hofstede (1980), a vast majority of research considers culture as comprised of four core values--individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and power distance--which reflect "patterns of thinking and feeling and potential acting" (Hofstede, 1991: 4). Despite some resmwations (e.g., Minkov and Hofstede, 2011), these four values have often been used to describe the cultural orientation of individuals around the world. Valid comparisons of cultural value scores of individuals across countries require establishing measurement invariance, succinctly defined as equivalent assessment in two or more groups (Meredith, 1993). However, few studies actually examine invariance in cultural values across multiple countries (Spini, 2003), and almost nothing has been published in this area using all four Hofstede (1980) cultural dimensions. The present study addresses this gap in the literature by examining measurement invariance of the four core cuhural values using data obtained from individuals in four countries.

Measurement invariance is an important issue whenever researchers seek to compare perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs held by people belonging to different groups (Chen, 2008). In international research, issues related to invariance of measures across countries are critical as they directly influence the validity and reliability of the scholarly enterprise (Scandura et al., 2001). Measurement invariance is present to the extent that the relations between the obsmwed variables and the latent constructs they measure are similar across countries (Zhou et al., 2001). Researchers can make valid comparisons across countries only when measurement invariance is achieved, but absence of invariance confounds cross-national comparisons, potentially undermining scholarly confidence in findings derived from data collected internationally (Zhou et al., 2001).

The present study examines cross-national measurement equivalence in cultural value orientation. Data is obtained from individuals in four countries--U.S., Turkey, India, and Hong Kong--which represent four distinct country clusters with fundamental religious and institutional differences (Gupta et al., 2002). A multi-step protocol is used to assess measurement invariance through a series of two-country multi-group confirmatory factor analyses (MGCFA), comparing the U.S. sample with the other three countries in the sample.

Theoretical Background

Culture refers to a "rich complex" of beliefs, meanings, norms, and practices that describe and prescribe appropriate actions and behaviors (Schwartz, 2006: 138). It is a multi-faceted construct with hundreds of "distinct definitions" and "has been studied in many disciplines under different names" (Taras et al., 2009: 358). Although attempts to understand culture can be traced back hundreds of years, it was not until the publication of Hofstede's seminal work (1980) that the idea of conceiving culture along specific measurable dimensions became popular (Taras et al., 2009). Hofstede (1980) deconstructed culture into four basic values: power distance which refers to the extent to which unequal distribution of power is accepted; uncertainty avoidance defined as lack of tolerance for ambiguity and absence of structure; individualism which refers to the degree to which individual interests are considered subordinate to the interest of the group (e.g., family); and masculinity defined as preference for "tough" concerns such as competition and achievement. These four dimensions, Hofstede (1991: 35) argued, represent "core dements" of culture worldwide (Hofstede, 2002).

The four-dimensional culture framework is widely considered "a reasonable way" to view culture (Ralston et al., 2007: 2) and has gained popularity in psychological and organizational research (Hofstede, 2006). …

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