Discussion 2: Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Methods in Cross-Cultural Research
In cross-cultural psychology research, a broad range of techniques is utilized to determine the best way to access critical data. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, laboratory experiments may offer great control and ability to examine issues of cause and effect, but may not always reflect actual real-world conditions, especially in cross cultural situations. As an additional example, long term field work and interviews conducted by living in a given cultural setting for a year or two, may offer the possibility of many nuanced observations, yet such qualitative work will not lead to statistical or experimental designs. Each method tends to have pros and cons, rather than one method being the “right” one for every situation. For this Discussion, you will explore the advantages and disadvantages of using different research methods in cross-cultural research.
Post and explain one advantage and one disadvantage of quantitative research for cross-cultural psychology. Then, describe one advantage and one disadvantage of qualitative research for cross-cultural psychology. Use examples from the studies provided to support your thinking.
Karasz, A., & Singelis, T. M. (2009). Qualitative and mixed methods research in cross-cultural psychology: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(6), 909916
Leech, N. L., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2009). A typology of mixed methods research designs. Quality and Quantity, 43(2), 265275. doi:10.1007/s11135-007-9105-3
Malda, M., Van de Vijver, F. J. R., Srinivasan, K., Transler, C., Sukumar, P., & Rao, K. (2008). Adapting a cognitive test for a different culture: An illustration of qualitative procedures. Psychology Science Quarterly, 50(4), 451468.
Miller, K. E., Omidian, P., Quraishy, A. S., Quraishy, N., Nasiry, M. N., Nasiry, S.,… & Yaqubi, A. A. (2006). The Afghan symptom checklist: A culturally grounded approach to mental health assessment in a conflict zone. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(4), 423433.
Rich, G., Sirikantraporn, S., & Jean-Charles, W. (2018). The concept of posttraumatic growth in an adult sample from Port-Au-Prince, Haiti: A mixed methods study. In G. Rich & S. Sirikantraporn (Eds.), Human strengths and resilience: Developmental, cross-cultural, and international Perspectives (pp. 2138).Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Credit Line: International Differences in Well-Being,by Diener, J.; Helliwell, J. ; Kahneman, D.Copyright2010 by Oxford University Press. Reprinted by permission ofOxford University Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Van de Vijver, F. J. R. (2009). Types of comparative studies in cross-cultural psychology. Online readings in psychology and culture, 2(2), pp.112.
Credit Line: Fons J. R. van de Vijver. (2009). Types of Comparative Studies in Cross-Cultural Psychology. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.9707/2307-0919.1017. Used with permission of International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology.
Van de Vijver, F. J. R., & Tanzer, N. K. (2004). Bias and equivalence in cross-cultural assessment: An overview. European Review of Applied Psychology, 54(2), 119135.
Reflect on what you have learned regarding Chapter 4 of the textbook readings. Discuss the corporate culture and ethical principles of a company you are currently working for or have worked for in the past. Determine the strengths and weaknesses of the corporate culture and the effects it has on ethical decision-making. Does the company instill ethical principles in its leadership and workers, and if so, what are some of these principles? If not, how can the company implement ethical ethics principles in its leadership?
Your journal entry must be at least 200 words in length. No references or citations are necessary.
DISCUSSION CASE: Volkswagons Diesel Culture
In September 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was ordering a recall for more than 500,000 Volkswagens sold in the United States. The EPA reported that VWs diesel engine cars contained software code that manipulated emission tests and allowed the cars to meet required emission standards. The software defeat devices activated emission controls only while the car was undergoing testing; however, while driving under normal conditions, the cars emitted nitrous oxide pollution that was up to forty times higher than what was allowed by law. Investigations followed in other countries, and eventually some 11 million vehicles were recalled globally. Within days, Volkswagens stock price had dropped almost 40 percent. By mid-2016, estimates were that VW would
pay out $18 billion in repairs, fines, and legal settlements as a result of the scandal. This figure does not include losses in sales, nor does it include the heavy financial losses suffered by thousands of independent VW dealers and suppliers.
For at least one year prior to the EPA announcement, VW and the EPA had discussed apparent discrepancies in the testing data, which VW initially dismissed as testing anomalies. Only after the EPA took steps to withhold approval for all the upcoming 2016 VW diesel cars did VW acknowledge that the problem existed. Upon the EPA recall announcement in September, VW officials admitted that the problem involved intentional fraud and took responsibility for the scandal.
Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized for the terrible mistakes of a few people and, while denying any knowledge of or involvement, resigned within weeks. In a statement accompanying his resignation, Winterkorn said I am stunned that misconduct on such a scale was possible in the Volkswagen Group, I am not aware of any wrongdoing on my part. Testifying before the U.S. Congress soon after the EPA announcement, VW of Americas president Michael Horn admitted that Our company was dishonest with the EPA, and the California Air Resources Board and with all of you. Horn resigned in March 2016.
Initial reports coming from VW seemed to place responsibility with a small number of engineers, perhaps acting under managerial pressure to meet corporate goals for both engine performance and fuel efficiency. But later evidence suggested that as early as 2006, VW had indications that it was not able to achieve emission standards within established cost targets.
VWs early responses fit a pattern of initial denial followed by pointing fingers at a small number of employees, while praising the company itself. CEO Winterkorn blamed a few people and was stunned to discover that the misconduct occurred on a wide scale. Recall from chapter 1 how Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf reacted to that scandal. He attributed that misconduct to a few dishonest employees while denying that it was part of any wider orchestrated company scheme. But it is difficult to accept the claim that misconduct that was as widespread as Wells Fargo, or as deeply a part of such a central product as the VW diesel, could have resulted from the actions of a few rogue individuals operating in violation of widely accepted company norms and values.
The diesel scandal struck at the heart of the VW brand. Improved diesel engines had become a hallmark of the VW brand of German engineering. Diesels have always had performance benefits over gas-powered engines. Diesel engines last longer, get better fuel mileage, provide more torque and power, and are more dependable than gasoline engines. Yet, historically they emit more pollution, especially nitrous oxides and particulate matter (the black soot often seen coming from truck or bus exhaust). VW, a brand long promoted for its engineering skill, marketed their turbocharged direct injection (TDI) engines as a new generation of smart diesels, able to maintain all the high-performance benefits of diesels while also meeting stringent new environmental standards.
Given the centrality of the new-generation diesels to the VW brand and to its global sales, few believed that a widespread fraud involving a crucial element of its key product could have resulted from the terrible mistakes of a few people. How could a major scandal involving the fraudulent design and promotion of such a core
product, especially a product that everyone knew would be subjected to extensive governmental testing and regulation across the globe, occur? Even if the decision to insert the defeat device rested with only a few engineers, the scandal could only have occurred if there were widespread failures of oversight and control at every level, from the shop floor to the corporate board room. In the opinion of many, this widespread failure of oversight and control, especially at the management and board level, was as great a corporate failing as the fraud itself. Where was the oversight and supervision? A closer look at the VW corporate culture suggests an environment in which this fraud could flourish.
For example, VW engineers were expected to achieve a balance among three factors that were in tension. They were to develop a diesel engine that met high performance standards, while at the same time also meeting stringent environmental emission standards, while still being expected to meet uncompromising cost targets. Later, evidence revealed that some earlier proposals that would have achieved the performance and environmental balance had been rejected by management because they would have added costs of a few hundred dollars to each vehicle. One option, of course, would have been for management to conclude that this balance could not therefore be achieved. However, by most reports, the VW corporate culture was such that there was little tolerance for work teams that failed to meet goals.
Professional codes of ethics can sometimes function to shield professionals from pressures to compromise professional standards in order to meet employer or client goals. Professionals such as lawyers, accountants, and engineers have ethical duties that should override the demands of ones employer. But engineers in Germany do not have as high a level of professional licensing and training requirements as engineers face in Canada and the United States, for example. In any case, there is little evidence that any VW engineer, the individuals who had direct and firsthand experience of the fraud, stepped forward to take a stand against the fraud.
Similar to what happened at Wells Fargo, VW management would have had many opportunities to prevent the fraud, mitigate its damage, or at the very minimum acknowledge and report it sooner. Senior management failed across the board in their oversight responsibilities. They failed employees by setting unfeasible expectations and being inflexible in the face of evidence that these were unattainable. As the scandal unfolded, VWs largest union criticized management for having a rigid hierarchy that was authoritarian and unwilling to listen to bad news. Matthias Mller, Volkswagens new chief executive appointed after Winterkorn resignation, acknowledged problems with the previous managerial style and promised a more open management style.
One might expect the VW board to have set high expectations and to have held management to them. But according to press reports, the relationship between the VW board and senior executives had been contentious for a long time. As the scandal became public, board members criticized Winterkorn for failing to keep them informed. Three board members, including government officials and union representatives, revealed that they first learned of the scandal by reading about it in the media. Critics pointed out that either senior executives were unaware of the fraud, in which case they failed in their managerial duties, or they did know and neither fixed the problem nor kept the board informed, in which case, they failed other duties.