Cultural differences and measurement invariance of selection tools

Guangrong Dai (Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Kyunghee Han (Psychology Department, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA)
Huiqin Hu (Data Recognition Corporation, Maple Grove, Minnesota, USA)
Stephen M. Colarelli (Psychology Department, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, Michigan, USA)

Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management

ISSN: 2040-8005

Publication date: 1 February 2010



The purpose of this paper is to investigate the measurement invariance of the Chinese version NEO PI‐R conscientiousness scale.


Based on Hofstede's cultural dimensions, it was predicted that certain items might exhibit culture‐related differential item functioning (DIF). The partial credit Rasch model was used to analyze the item responses. The authors also examined the impact of DIF on the measurement invariance of the overall conscientiousness scale using differential test functioning statistics.


Most of the predicted culture‐related DIF were supported. Although the results suggested a substantial proportion of items showing DIF, the conscientiousness scale functioned consistently across the two cultures under study, suggesting that observed group mean scores can be compared directly.

Research limitations/implications

The authors demonstrate that an understanding of the culture differences may help when translating instrument across cultures to anticipate potential threats to measurement invariance. The current study employed student samples. Results of the study need to be replicated using diverse populations.

Practical implications

Assessment and selection instruments have been increasingly used across nations for HRM purposes. Organizations intending to establish global talent management systems need to evaluate and ensure the cross‐cultural equivalence of the assessment. Findings from the current study support the adoption of the translated conscientiousness scale in China.


This paper is one of the few in the literature that examines the measurement invariance using a confirmatory approach.



Dai, G., Han, K., Hu, H. and Colarelli, S. (2010), "Cultural differences and measurement invariance of selection tools", Journal of Chinese Human Resource Management, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 95-114.

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