Online surveys have become a common tool for researchers to gather data from participants across different countries and cultures. Individuals also benefit from these types of surveys: they can earn visa gift cards, amazon gift cards, some extra cash, and etc. However, cultural differences can greatly impact how people respond to surveys, which can result in biased or inaccurate data. In this article, we will explore the issues and insights in the study of response biases in online surveys across different cultures and countries.
Do Surveys Measure the Same Things across Cultures?
Surveys may not measure the same things across different cultures due to various factors such as language barriers, cultural differences, and differing understandings of the questions being asked. Cultural differences can greatly affect the way individuals perceive and respond to survey questions, which can lead to differences in how questions are interpreted and answered.
For example, a question about personal income may be perceived differently in different cultures. In some cultures, openly discussing personal income may be considered taboo, while in others, it may be more acceptable. This can lead to differences in how people respond to questions related to income, which can affect the accuracy and comparability of survey results across different cultures.
Cultural Differences in Survey Responding
Several studies have explored the impact of cultural differences on survey responding. One study found that different response styles are related to the cultural dimension of individualism-collectivism.
This means that people from individualistic cultures tend to provide more extreme responses and are less likely to choose neutral responses, while people from collectivistic cultures tend to provide more moderate responses and are more likely to choose neutral responses.
Another study found that issues in cross-cultural surveys can arise from questionnaire design, different use of response scales, translation between different languages, or level of analysis. Therefore, researchers need to carefully consider these factors when designing surveys for different cultures.
Impact of Cultural Differences on Global Teams
Not only can cultural differences impact online surveys, but they can also impact global teams. Differences across time zones, languages, cultures, and skill levels can affect how teams work together and communicate. This can result in miscommunication, misunderstandings, and decreased productivity. Therefore, it is important for global teams to be aware of cultural differences and to learn how to work effectively across different cultures.
For example, people from individualistic cultures may be more likely to provide extreme responses and avoid neutral options, while those from collectivistic cultures may be more likely to provide moderate responses and choose neutral options. Differences in language, values, and norms can also affect how people respond to surveys.
As the Chief People Officer for a remote-first translation company Tomedes, Jerica Amores has several years of experience handling overseas hiring and employee retention and understands the challenges of building and maintaining a remote team. She and the rest of her global remote team provide multilingual and technological solutions to businesses and Fortune 500 companies across the globe.
“My advice for companies who want to build a remote international team is to create a robust work culture. Once you have already established a work culture, it will be easier to identify what kind of employee would fit well with your company’s values,” Jerica said..
Jerica advises that before seeking employees in an international market, research their cultural work practices and employment regulations to avoid later HR issues. By researching the country where your remote-based employee is from, you can build a payment and incentive system that will motivate them to work harder and stay longer with your company.
Additionally, questionnaire design and response scales may need to be adapted to fit the culture and language of the participants. This includes adapting survey questions to be culturally appropriate and avoiding language that may be offensive or inappropriate in certain cultures.
Mitigating the Impact of Cultural Differences
To mitigate the impact of cultural differences on online surveys, researchers need to take several factors into account. First, they need to carefully consider questionnaire design and response scales.
These should be adapted to fit the culture and language of the participants. Second, researchers need to consider the mode of survey administration, as some cultures may prefer face-to-face interviews over online surveys. Finally, researchers need to be aware of potential response biases and take steps to minimize them.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, cultural differences can greatly impact how people respond to online surveys, which can result in biased or inaccurate data. To mitigate the impact of cultural differences, researchers need to carefully consider questionnaire design, response scales, and mode of survey administration. Additionally, researchers need to be aware of potential response biases and take steps to minimize them. By doing so, researchers can ensure that their online surveys are culturally sensitive and produce accurate data.