Generalizability to different Languages and Cultures

Another crucial criterion for evaluating the new eWOM trust measure is its generalizability across languages and cultures. This study primarily uses samples from Austria and Germany for developing and validating the original measurement instrument. However, the proposed measure may be inapplicable to other cultures, unless evidence for cross-cultural psychometrical properties (i.e., dimensionality and reliability) of the scale is provided (Durvasula et al., 1993). Hence, this thesis investigates the cross-cultural applicability of the eWOM trust scale in North America by using an English version of the set of items. By addressing this aspect, the research approach at hand answers calls from the scientific community that emphasize the need for cross-cultural validation of new consumer attitude scales (Netemeyer et al., 2003). These scholars highly recommend validating an instrument across different populations and languages. The thesis agrees with John and Srivastava (1999) that if tasks most central to human survival are universal, the most important individual differences or enduring orientations (e.g., trust), and the terms people use to describe these, would be universal as well. This argumentation favors the existence of measurement scales that exhibit factor structures that are stable across cultures. In this respect, eWOM trust is theorized to have the same meaning across cultures. However, this study also recognizes that culturally specific dimensions and variations due to social context can potentially exist, as demonstrated in other research contexts. Therefore, the scale’s congruence shall be further investigated:

RQ 12: Is the eWOM trust scale applicable to different languages and cultures?

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