Non-Response in Cross-Cultural Surveys: Reflections on Telephone Survey Interviews with Chinese Managers

Catherine L. Wang, Mark N. K. Saunders

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – To reflect on reasons for refusal in cross-cultural telephone surveys and address ways of reducing non-response from Chinese managers.

Approach – We first propose a conceptual model for telephone survey cooperation, drawing on existing research regarding survey non-response. This is evaluated through reflections on non-response to a telephone survey of 1,900 Chinese senior and middle managers working in privately owned high-technology firms.

Findings – We conclude with a framework for cooperation in cross-cultural telephone surveys, enhancing the leverage-saliency theory. Among many factors, home country interviewers are crucial in gaining access and generating survey interview responses. However, they require careful recruitment, rigorous training and monitoring to help ensure the quality of research data.

Research implications – Our framework provides practical advice in minimising non-response in cross-cultural telephone surveys. This includes sample selection, the development of the survey instrument (and translation), reasons for refusal, research incentives and the role of interviewers.

Originality/value – Our contribution in this chapter is twofold: an enhanced understanding of leverage-saliency theory in cross-cultural telephone surveys, and an articulation of the role of interviewers in changing the dynamics of positive and negative leverage through telephone interaction with managers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-237
JournalResearch Methodology in Strategy and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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