This article investigated the dimensionality, measurement invariance, and cross-cultural variations of social desirability. A total of 3,471 university students from 20 countries completed an adapted version of the Marlowe–Crowne scale. A two-dimensional structure was revealed in the pooled sample, distinguishing enhancement (endorsement of positive self-description) and denial (rejection of negative self-description). The factor structure was supported in most countries; medium-sized item bias was found in two denial items. In a multilevel analysis, we found that (a) there was more cross-cultural variation in denial than enhancement; (b) females tended to score higher on enhancement whereas males tended to score higher on denial; (c) the Human Development Index, an indicator of country socioeconomic development, was the best (negative) predictor of denial; and (d) both enhancement and denial seemed to be associated with country-level values and personality pertinent to “fitting in.” We conclude that social desirability has a positive and a negative impression management dimension that are meaningfully associated with country-level characteristics, and we argue that social desirability is better interpreted as culturally regulated response amplification.
social desirability, cultures, values, personality, multilevel analysis
Organizational Behavior and Theory
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
HE, Jia; van de Vijver, F.J.; Espinosa, A.D.; Abubakar, A.; Dimitrova, R.; Adams, B.G.; REB, Jochen; and SIM, Samantha.
Socially desirable responding: Enhancement and denial in 20 countries. (2015). Cross-Cultural Research. 49, (3), 227-249. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/4363
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