Intercultural Survey Research: Challenges & Solutions

Ever since my PhD research I have been interested in the challenges of doing international research and have built up a research program on the international research process. As part of that I published a review article on the challenges of international survey research in European Journal of International Management.

A condensed and updated version of this article is now scheduled to be published in a major new research handbook on intercultural research, which will come out in 2021. It will include around 30 chapters with a wide spread of countries and contexts outside the West and “the Triads”. There will be chapters about digital field-research, and several chapters from both South American and African countries, in addition to a few from the Middle East and Thailand contexts.

  • Harzing, A.W.; Reiche B.S.; Pudelko, M. (2021) Intercultural Survey Research: Challenges and Suggested Solutions, in: Guttormsen, D.S.A., Lauring, J., & Chapman, M.K. Field Guide to Intercultural Research. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Available online... - Related blog post

Abstract

When conducting inter- and cross-cultural research projects, scholars face a myriad of challenges that reach beyond those encountered in domestic research. In this chapter, we describe the challenges related to doing international survey research and provide possible solutions, thus putting forward suggestions for improving the quality of international survey research.

Whereas intercultural investigation is not limited to survey research and includes a range of other quantitative and also qualitative methods of data collection (see Marschan-Piekkari and Welch, 2004 for a good overview), we focus our discussion on the collection of intercultural data through questionnaires. We will structure our discussion along the various stages of a research project, referring to study population and data access, survey development, data collection, data analysis, and finally publication of the results.

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Book structure

Foreword – Malcolm Chapman: ‘A foreword by Malcolm Chapman – SOME MUSINGS

ON FIELDWORK IN A BUSINESS CONTEXT

1. Introduction – David S. A. Guttormsen, Jakob Lauring, Malcolm Chapman:

INTRODUCTION: FOLLOWING THE RESEARCHERS INTO THE FIELD

Practical Themes:

  1. W. Travis Selmer II, Aloysius Newenham-Kahindi: USING GROUNDED THEORY IN AN AFRICAN BUSINESS CONTEXT

  2. Anne-Wil Harzing, Sebastian Reiche, Markus Pudelko: INTERCULTURAL SURVEY RESEARCH: CHALLENGES AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS

  3. Will Harvey: INTERVIEWING GLOBAL ELITES

  4. Indigo Holcombe-James, Ellie Rennie: SURVEY-BASED RESEARCH IN REMOTE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES: CONSIDERATIONS FOR METHODS

  5. Gunnhild Odden: METHODOLOGICAL REFELCTIONS ON RESEARCHING ETHNIC BUSINESS IN SOUTHERN EUROPE. EXPERIENCES FROM THE FIELD

  6. Ritam Garg, Petra Poljsak-Rosinski: OVERCOMING CHALLENGES IN INTERCULTURAL INTERVIEWING: THE ROLE OF INTERCULTURAL TRAININGS FOR EARLY CAREER RESEARCHERS

  7. Mai Skjøtt Linneberg, Steffen Korsgaard: CODING INTERCULTURAL FIELDWORK DATA: A HANDS-ON APPROACH

  8. Jakob Lauring, Charlotte Jonasson: SOME PRACTICAL ADVICE ON COLLECTING QUALITATIVE DATA: OUTLINE OF A FIELDWORK PROCESS

  9. Marta Jackowska: UNLOCKING THE AFFORDANCES OF DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH

Theoretical Themes:

  1. Bruce W. Stening: REFLECTIONS ON AN INTERCULTURAL (RESEARCH) LIFE

  2. Mette Zølner: DOING FIELD WORK IN CULTURALLY HYBRID LOCATIONS

  3. Christopher Richardson: RESEARCHING RELIGION IN ORGANISATIONS: KEY ISSUES AND STRATEGIES

  4. Badri Zolfaghari: OPERATIONALIZING ‘CULTURE’ WHEN CONDUCTING CROSS-CULTURAL FIELDWORK: THE CASE OF GERMANY AND SOUTH AFRICA

  5. David S. A. Guttormsen, Petra Poljsak-Rosinski, Htwe Htwe Thein, Trifon Pavkov, Katarina Brkovic, Michael Gillan: ACADEMIC DISCIPLINES HAVE CULTURES, TOO: INTERCULTURAL CHALLENGES FOR INTERDISCIPLINARY RESEARCHERS IN THE FIELD

  6. Masumi Owa: DILEMMAS WITH MULTIPLE SOCIAL IDENTITIES IN THE FIELD OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  7. Annelise Ly, Ingrid Onarheim Spjeldnæs: STRATEGIES TO SURVIVE ON FOREIGN TURF: EXPERIENCE SHARING AND REFLECTIONS FROM TWO APPARENT ALIENS IN THE FIELD

  1. Charlotte Jonasson, Jakob Lauring, David S. A. Guttormsen: ‘INSIDE-OUT’: RACE, ROLE AND RELATIONS IN INTERCULTURAL FIELDWORK

  2. Christoph Barmeyer, Eric Davoine: INTERCULTURAL CHALLENGES OF ‘RAPPORT’ IN FRENCH–GERMAN ORGANIZATIONAL FIELD RESEARCH – INSIGHTS FROM A BINATIONAL RESEARCH TANDEM

Regional Themes:

  1. Nomusa B. Mazonde: CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS AND QUALITATIVE RESEARCH FIELDWORK WITHIN AN AFRICAN CONTEXT

  2. Adebukola E. Oyewunmi, Stephen I. Ukenna, Ebes Esh: NAVIGATING THE REALITIES OF INTERCULTURAL RESEARCH IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: INSIGHTS FROM NIGERIA

  3. Anna Shostya, Joseph Morreale, Moshe Banai: THE CHALLENGES OF CONDUCTING FIELD STUDIES IN CHINA

  4. Hana Abdo, Amélie Artis, Anne Bartel-Radic: CHALLENGES AND PROMOTERS DURING INTERNATIONAL FIELDWORK IN LEBANON

  5. Maranda Ridgway, Fiona Robson: INTERSECTIONAL CHALLENGES OF CONDUCTING QUALITATIVE RESEARCH IN THE MIDDLE EAST

  6. Sarina Theys: CROSSING BORDERS, TRAVERSING CULTURES AND MEDIATING IDENTITIES: A REFLECTION ON FIELDWORK CONDUCTED IN THE ARAB GULF

  7. Thi My Hanh Huynh, Anne Bartel-Radic: DOING QUALITATIVE FIELD RESEARCH IN VIETNAM

  8. Astrid Kainzbauer, Brian Hunt: INVESTIGATING THE WORLDVIEW OF PROFESSIONALS: REFLECTIONS ON THE CHALLENGES OF RESEARCHING IN THE THAI CULTURE

Afterword: Fiona Moore

Further resources

Journal of International Business Studies articles on methodological issues [From the AIB SIG Research Methods website: https://rmsig.aib.world/resources-2/jibs-methods-editorials/]