Rating versus ranking: What is the best way to reduce response and language bias in cross-national research?

Anne-Wil Harzing, Joyce Baldueza, Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen, Cordula Barzantny, Anne Canabal, Annabella Davila, Alvaro Espejo, Rita Ferreira, Axele Giroud, Kathrin Koester, Yung-Kuei Liang, Audra Mockaitis, Michael Morley, Barbara Myloni, Joseph Odusanya, Sharon O'Sullivan, Ananda Palaniappan, Paulo Prochno, Srabani Choudhury, Ayse Saka-HelmhoutSununta Siengthai, Linda Viswat, Ayda Soydas, Lena Zander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

110 Citations (Scopus)


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 formatsa??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 a?? based on two studies of 1965 undergraduate and 1714 MBA students in 16 different countries a?? 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417 - 432
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Business Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes

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