The International Research Process

This programme consists of a number of loosely coupled projects or articles that focus on research process issues in international research. Many projects in this programme are also characterised by a critical evaluation of received wisdom.

Doing international research is more difficult than doing purely domestic research. Partly because of this, little empirical research has been done in several areas of International Business and Management and various myths have been created.

The myth of high expatriate failure rates

The first is the myth of high expatriate failure rates, created by massive (mis)quotations (see my 1995 International Journal of HRM article). A large-scale update of this issue (Journal of Organizational Behavior, 2002), places this myth in the wider context of how referencing errors undermine our academic credibility.A final article in this series (with Claus Christensen) suggests abandoning the concept of expatriate failure.

The myth of European homogeneity

Another myth is the presumed homogeneity of Europe. Many researchers uncritically generalise findings from domestic research as applying worldwide or generalise about Europe from research in a single European country. Research in International HRM & Staffing Policies and HQ-Subsidiary Relationships in MNCs showed that large differences exist between European countries in the area of staffing policies, control mechanisms, international strategy and performance and even response rates to surveys.

The mythical status of the cultural distance concept

In the area of entry mode studies the Kogut & Singh (1988) index of cultural distance has reached an almost mythical status. A very detailed and critical review of research in this area (published in Advances in International Management) shows that there is little or no evidence for the proposed relationship between cultural distance and entry mode choice. Research in this field seems to be characterised by a reductionist approach to culture and an almost complete disregard for both sample idiosyncrasies. A recent paper with Markus Pudelko provides a comprehensive update and test of these assumptions and places them in the broader context of the challenges for IB research.

International mail surveys: response rates and language

A major stream of research in this programme concerns the process of data collection through international mail surveys. Two articles that draw lessons about (response rates in) international mail surveys (1997 International Business Review and 2000 Industrial Marketing Management) have been widely cited and used by researchers in the field.

An important aspect of international mail survey research that has been largely neglected so far is language. I led a project, involving collaborators and data collection from more than 25 different countries, which showed that the use of English-language questionnaires may obscure national differences.

International mail surveys: timing, response styles, ranking vs. rating

An article dealing with a comparison of pre- and post-September 11 data for US students and a paper on cross-national diferences in response styles draw important conclusions for cross-national research. A further paper in this area compared dispositional and situational determinants of response styles in China, Germany and Australia.

Based on new data collected in the project on Language in International Business we further compared ranking and rating as alternatives to study cross-cultural differences. A warm-up scenario in the same survey also resulted in a short paper discussing cross country differences in preferred ways of address for university teachers.

Finally, in a paper with Sebastian Reiche and Markus Pudelko we used our collective experience in international survey research to come with a review of the challenges and suggested solutions for best practice.

Selected publications

Online papers - Full list of publications

  1. Harzing, A.W.; Pudelko, M. (2016) Do we need to distance ourselves from the distance concept? Why home and host country context might matter more than (cultural) distance, Management International Review, vol. 56, no. 1, pp. 1-34.  Available online... - Publisher's version (free access!)
  2. Pudelko, M.; Tenzer, H.; Harzing, A.W. (2015) Cross-cultural management and language studies within international business research: Past and present paradigms and suggestions for future research, in: Holden, N.; Michailova, S.; Tietze, S. The Routledge Compendium to Cross cultural management, Routledge. Available online....
  3. Harzing, A.W.; Pudelko (2014) Why the importance of the (cultural) distance concept in International Business is not justified: A literature analysis, paper presented at the 2014 annual meeting of the Academy of International Business, June 24-June 26, Vancouver, Canada. Available online...
  4. Harzing, A.W.; Pudelko (2014) Why home and host country context matters more than (cultural) distance: An empirical study, paper presented at the 71st Academy of Management annual meeting, August 1-5, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Available online...
  5. Harzing, A.-W., & Pudelko, M. (2013) Home and host country versus distance effects in the field of entry mode choice, paper presented at the 11th EIASM Workshop on International Management (formerly International Strategy and Cross-Cultural Management), Berlin, Germany, October 18-19.
  6. Harzing, A.W.; Reiche B.S.; Pudelko, M. (2013) Challenges in international survey research: A review with illustrations and suggested solutions for best practice, European Journal of International Management, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 112-134. Available online... - Publisher's version (free access!)
  7. Harzing, A.W.; Brown, M.; Köster, K., Zhao, S. (2012) Response style differences in cross-national research: dispositional and situational determinants, Management International Review, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 341-363. Available online... - Publisher's version (read for free)
  8. Harzing, A.W. & country collaborators (2010) What’s in a name? Cross Country differences in preferred ways of address for university teachers, AIB Insights, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 3-8. Available online...
  9. Harzing, A.W.; Brown, M.; Köster, K., Zhao, S. (2010) Response style differences in cross-national research: dispositional and situational determinants, paper presented at the 69th Academy of Management annual meeting, August 6-10, 2010, Montreal, Canada.
  10. Harzing, A.W. (2010) How to address your teacher? Country differences in preferred ways of address for university teachers, www.harzing.com white paper.
  11. Harzing, A.W.; Brown, M.; Köster, K., Zhao, S. (2010) Cross national differences in middle and extreme response styles: The impact of culture, response anchors and topic knowledge, paper presented at the XXth Congress of the International Association for Cross Cultural Psychology (IACCP), 7-10 July 2010, Melbourne, Australia.
  12. Harzing, A.W.; and 26 collaborators (2009) Rating versus ranking: what is the best way to reduce response and language bias in cross-national research?, International Business Review, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 417-432. Available online...
  13. Josiassen, A.; Harzing, A.W. (2008) Descending from the ivory tower: Reflections on the relevance and future of country-of-origin research, European Management Review, vol. 5, no. 4, pp. 264-270. Available online...
  14. Harzing, A.W.; and 26 collaborators (2007) Ranking and rating in native-language versus English-language questionnaires: A methodological comparison, conference proceedings of the EIBA annual meeting, 13-15 December, Catania, Italy.
  15. Reiche, B.S.; Harzing, A.W. (2007) Key Issues in International Survey Research, www.harzing.com white paper.
  16. Harzing, A.W.; and 26 collaborators (2007) Ranking versus rating: What is the best way to reduce response and language bias in cross-national research?, conference proceedings of the ANZIBA annual meeting, 8-10 November 2007, Newcastle, Australia.
  17. Harzing, A.W. (2006) Response styles in cross-national mail survey research: A 26-country study, The International Journal of Crosscultural Management, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 243-266. Available online... [reprinted in Cross-Cultural Management (in the Routledge series Critical Perspectives on Business and Management) Editors: Tim G. Andrews and Richard Mead, Routledge, 2008].
  18. Harzing, A.W.; and 32 country collaborators (2005) Does the Use of English-language Questionnaires in Cross-national Research Obscure National Differences?, International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, vol. 5, no. 2, pp. 213-224. Available online...
  19. Harzing, A.W. (2004) Response styles in cross-national mail survey research: Are we comparing apples and oranges?, conference proceedings of the ANZIBA annual meeting, November 5-6, Canberra, Australia.
  20. Harzing, A.W. (2004) Comparing work values across countries: The role of response effects, paper presented at the 9th International Conference of Work Values and Behavior, New Orleans, August 4-6.
  21. Olivas-Luján, M.R.; Harzing, A.W.; McCoy, S. (2004) September 11, 2001: Two quasi-experiments on the influence of threats on cultural values and cosmopolitanism, International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 211-228. Available online...
  22. Harzing, A.W.; and country collaborators (2004) Does language influence response styles? A test of the cultural accommodation hypothesis in fourteen countries, in: Setiadi, B.N.; Supratikny, A.; Lonner, W.J.; Poortinga, Y.H. Ongoing Themes in Psychology and Culture, International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (Selected and revised papers from the 16th IACCP congress).
  23. Harzing, A.W. (2003) The role of culture in entry mode studies: from negligence to myopia?, Advances in International Management, vol. 15, pp. 75-127. Available online...
  24. Olivas-Luján, M.R.; Harzing, A.W.; McCoy, S. (2003) September 11, 2001: Two quasi-experiments on the influence of threats on cultural values and cosmopolitanism, paper presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Seattle, August 1-6.
  25. Harzing, A.W.; Maznevski, M.; and country collaborators (2002) The interaction between language and culture: A test of the cultural accommodation hypothesis in seven countries, Language and Intercultural Communication, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 120-139. Available online...
  26. Harzing, A.W.; and country collaborators (2002) The role of language in cross-national mail survey research: A test of the cultural accommodation hypothesis in fourteen countries, paper presented at the 62nd annual meeting of the Academy of Management, Denver, 9-14 August.
  27. Harzing, A.W. (2002) Are our referencing errors undermining our scholarship and credibility? The case of expatriate failure rates, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 127-148. Available online...
  28. Harzing, A.W.; and country collaborators (2002) Does language influence response style? A test of the cultural accommodation hypothesis in fourteen countries, paper presented at the XVIth Congress of the International Association of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 15-19 July.
  29. Harzing, A.W.; and country collaborators (2002) The interaction between language and culture and its impact for cross-national mail survey research: A seven country study, paper accepted for presentation at the ANZAM/IFSAM VIth World Congress, 10-13 July.
  30. Harzing, A.W. (2001) Language and Culture: How do they interact? A study of bilinguals in seven countries, ACIB Discussion Papers, no. 20, August 2001, Australian Centre for International Business.
  31. Harzing, A.W. (2000) Cross-national Industrial Mail Surveys: Why do Response Rates Differ Between Countries, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 243-254. Available online...
  32. Harzing, A.W. (1997) Response rates in international mail surveys: Results of a 22 country study, International Business Review, vol. 6, no. 6, pp. 641-665. Available online...
  33. Harzing, A.W. (1996) How to survive international mail surveys: an inside story, conference proceedings of the 22nd EIBA conference, Stockholm, 15-17 December, pp. 313-339.
  34. Harzing, A.W. (1995) The persistent myth of high expatriate failure rates, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 6, May, pp. 457-475. Available online...
  35. Harzing, A.W. (1995) Research Note: An International Bibliography, European Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 1, no. 3, pp. 405-412.

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