Associations between Hofstede’s Cultural Constructs and Social Desirability Response Bias

Journal of Business Ethics 65 (1):43 - 53 (2006)
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Abstract

This paper examines the associations among social desirability response bias, cultural constructs and gender. The study includes the responses of 1537 students from 12 countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Nepal, South Africa, Spain, and the United States. The results of the analysis indicate that, on average, social desirability response bias decreases (increases) as a country’s Individualism (Uncertainty Avoidance) increases. The analysis also indicates that women scored significantly higher on Paulhus’ Image Management Subscale on an overall basis and for seven of the 12 country comparisons. This research serves as a caution when considering the research findings of prior international survey-based ethics research that do not include a direct measure of social desirability response bias. For example, the finding that women score higher on Paulhus’ measure of social desirability response bias calls into question prior research that does not control for social desirability response bias indicating women are more ethically sensitive than men.

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