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Values congruence in multicultural groups: the causal mapping method

Yevgen Bogodistov (Department of Management, Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, Germany)
Moritz Botts (Department of Business Ethics, University of Vechta, Vechta, Germany)
Florian Schlatterer (Department of Business and Economics, Hochschule Neu-Ulm, Neu-Ulm, Germany)

Journal for Multicultural Education

ISSN: 2053-535X

Article publication date: 4 March 2019

Issue publication date: 22 March 2019




The purpose of this paper is to present the adoption and application of the causal mapping method for cognitive distances measurement in the multicultural domain.


Causal mapping was used to estimate differences in mental models between participants. The developed method was applied in a multicultural setting for the selection of teaching cases.


In the main study, 129 people participated in the test. Overall, 7,217 relationships were tested. A set of demographic variables were used to test the reliability and external validity of the method. The method proved to be reliable and easy to apply. A smaller second study is an application example of the method.

Research limitations/implications

The main study proposes a formula for distance ratio calculation. Moreover, this formula proved to be externally valid and reliable. Thus, it is of interest for further research in this domain.

Practical implications

Practitioners are provided with a tool for the analysis of intercultural differences with the example of the perception of cultural values to develop a better understanding and improve education in a multicultural setting. Study 2 proposes an example of the methodology application.


This is the first application of causal mapping in the field of values research performed in a multicultural education setting. The formula for comparing causal maps is improved upon, and an application for the field of multicultural university classes is provided.



The authors would like to thank our colleagues for their support. They are grateful for the knowledge and experiences that our participants shared with us during this study and for the work of the reviewers and the editor. The authors would like to thank Steven E. Wallis for his helpful comments on the original manuscript. The authors are also thankful to the programmer we coincidentally met at a business trip who helped us with a programming issue. He wishes to remain anonymous. All errors are our own.


Bogodistov, Y., Botts, M. and Schlatterer, F. (2019), "Values congruence in multicultural groups: the causal mapping method", Journal for Multicultural Education, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 33-50.



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