Calls for more studies in non-Western cultures

2.3.1 Calls for more studies in non-Western cultures

Despite the fact that the studies reported above are only a summary of the many research findings supporting the universality of the FFM, Narayanan, Menon and Levine (1995) note that there is a dearth of studies examining the Big-5 structure carried out in Eastern cultures. Paunonen, Jackson, Trzebinski and Forsterling (1992) also called for further research on the FFM in “cultures where values, socialization practices, and lifestyles are substantially different” (p.455). Despite the fact that the FFM has been supported across languages and cultures, more research is required before one can fully accept the model and translated questionnaires in a local, non-Western setting. This is particularly relevant from a practitioner perspective where one is not only assuming a reliable and valid model for the measurement of personality, but also something which can be used to add value at the organisation level by contributing to the prediction of criterion variables. Additionally, despite what appears to be positive support for the cross-cultural validity and utility of “universal” measures of personality such as the NEO-PI-R, indigenous personality researchers and psychologists have provided research evidence to suggest that using an etic approach (questionnaire items that are culturally indifferent) may result in missing important culturally-specific traits that have until now been undiscovered (Cheung & Leung, 1998). Similarly, Piedmont (1999), based on research conducted in Korea, contended that ‘Spirituality’ should be considered as a sixth major (indigenous) personality dimension (although the supporting study was carried out entirely with students).

Ashton et al. (2004) suggested a reorganisation of the Big-Five structure following their research which gathered a variety of self- and peer- ratings as well as adjectives to assess the personality domain within a psycholexical study in Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean and Polish languages. Each of the Big-Five’s factors emerged, but in a somewhat different conceptualisation to that found within the mainstream literature. Additionally, Ashton et al. found a sixth factor which they termed honesty or humility.

Where research evidence points to a need to reorganise the existing Big-Five or FFM, or to add various indigenous factors in order to measure the universe of personality items (and increase content validity of the assessment), some doubt must be placed upon the ability of a non-local test to function equivalently in that locale. This invites consideration as to why researchers and practitioners in some parts of the world have felt the need to rely on assessments of personality that have been developed outside of their own culture and why indigenous movements have not been more fruitful in standardising and validating their own locally-developed measures Reasons for this have partly to do with Western and English-language pre-dominance in psychology, personality theory and the literature (Draguns, 2001), as well as the regional history experienced by these countries. The focus in this thesis is China.