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RPW Sample Midterm

Please read the following study and answer the questions that follow:
CULTURAL AND GENDER DIFFERENCES IN RISK-TAKING BEHAVIOR
AMONG AMERICAN AND SPANISH DECISION MAKERS
When an individual's action produces social and economic consequences that
cannot be estimated with certainty, risk is encountered. Risk averseness is
defined as the propensity to avoid taking risks and is generally conceived of
as a personality variable (Bonoma & Johnston, 1979). Different responses to
risk situations have been attributed to, among other reasons, cultural
(Carlson & Davis, 1971) and gender differences (Wallach & Kogan, 1959).
Also, it has been repeatedly argued that the ways in which business
managers handle risk can markedly affect economic performance and the
standard of living in various societies (Levitt, 1990). In today's fiercely
competitive international environment, those organizations that have
performed the best are comfortable with risks and tend to spend more on
research and development than less successful organizations. Here, to
explore cultural differences, we chose to contrast American and Spanish
societies because they are at different stages of economic development.
The objective of the study was to examine differences in risk-taking
behavior between American and Spanish subjects, and between male and
female subjects in both samples. The subjects were students seeking a
master's degree in business administration (MBA) and who would soon be
making important financial and investment decisions. The sample of
American MBA students consisted of 33 women and 77 men at the University
of Houston; the sample of Spanish MBA students consisted of 27 women and
75 men at the Madrid School of Business.
The instrument for measuring risk-taking behavior was the Kogan and
Wallach (1964) Choice Dilemmas Questionnaire. Of the 12 items in the
questionnaire, one involving the decision of a quarterback in a football game
was eliminated from this study, as it was not appropriate for Spanish
subjects. At least four of the remaining items require subjects to make
business decisions (for example, should an organization build a plant in a
foreign country?). For each subject, the scores on the 11 items were
averaged to create an index of risk-taking behavior, where a low score
(minimum = 1.0) on each individual item indicated a propensity to take risk
and a high score (maximum = 10.0) indicated risk averseness.
Analysis of variance (ANOVA) indicated that Spanish subjects (mean risk
score = 5.92) showed greater risk-taking behavior than American subjects
(mean risk score = 6.51), F(3,208) = 22.70, p < .0001. Men (mean risk
score = 6.14) in the American sample showed more risk-taking behavior
than women (mean risk score = 6.89), F(1,108) = 13.54, p < .0004. Similar
results emerged in the Spanish sample in which men (mean risk score =

RPW Sample Midterm


5.32) showed more risk-taking behavior than women (mean risk score =
6.51), F(1,100) = 22.15, p < .0001.
Our findings with regard to gender differences appear to support prior
assertions that women are more conservative than men when the former
perceive the situation as ambiguous and, hence, have to make decisions
under uncertainty; this pattern held true in both cultures.
However, the Spanish sample as a whole was less risk averse than the
American sample, which may stem from the fact that the Spanish MBA
students were preparing to enter a decision-making climate where the
volume of business investment had been dramatically increasing over the
past few years. Thus, they may feel that this environment favors and
rewards risk taking. In contrast, their American counterparts may feel that
risk averseness is the more prudent behavior, given the current U.S.
economic climate.
Requests for reprints should be sent to George M. Zinkhan, Department of
Marketing, University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204-6283.
REFERENCES
Bonoma, T., & Johnston, W. (1979). Decision making under uncertainty: A
direct measurement approach. Journal of Consumer Research, 6, 177-191.
Carlson, J., & Davis, C. (1971). Cultural values and the risky shift: A crosscultural test in Uganda and the United States. Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 20, 393-399.
Kogan, N., & Wallach, M. A. (1964). Risk taking: A study in cognition and
personality, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Levitt, T. (1990). Topline thinking at the NEA. The Wall Street Journal, June
28.
Wallach, M. A., & Kogan, N. (1959). Sex differences and judgment processes,
Journal of Personality, 27, 555-564.
Received December 10, 1990
~~~~~~~~
By GEORGE M. ZINKHAN, KIRAN W. KARANDE, Department of Marketing,
University of Houston

RPW Sample Midterm


1. The research questions are:
1) How does risk taking behavior compare across the American and the Spanish
cultures?
2) How does risk taking behavior compare across gender?
3) How does risk taking behavior affect decision taking in business?
a. 1 & 2
b. 1 & 3
c. 2 & 3
2. The research hypothesis is that
a. risk behavior is affected by both culture and gender
b. risk behavior is mainly affected by gender
c. there is no hypothesis
3. The research design is
a. quantitative
b. qualitative
c. both
4. The participants are
a. 27 American females and 77 Spanish males
b. about 100 males and 100 females
c. almost equal numbers of Spanish and American MBA students
5. The instrument used in the study was
a. risk measuring equipment
b. a risk behavior indicato questionnaire
c. ANOVA
6. The results show that
1) females are more risk taking than males
2) the Spanish are more risk taking than Americans
3) Americans are more risk taking than the Spanish
4) males are more risk taking than females
a. 1 & 2
b. 3 & 4
c. 2 & 4
7. The conclusion indicates that part of the results could be due to
a. differences in personality
b. differences in ethnic background
c. differences in business background
8. The results are
a. statistically significant
b. partially statistically significant
c. statistically insignificant
9. The results are
a. generalizable
b. of limited generalizability
c. not generalizable

RPW Sample Midterm


10. The study
a. has more strengths than weaknesses
b. has more weaknesses than strengths

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Answer Key
a
c
a
c
b
c
c
a
a
a
Study Guide
o On the exam you will get longer studies similar to the ones used in class
(about 8 pages of length)
o The exam is timed to one hour
o When given an empirical study, you should be able to:
a. Identify the problem with an accuracy level of 100%
b. Identify the hypothesis and/or the research question with an accuracy level
or 100%
c. Identify the experiments design with an accuracy level of 100%
d. Evaluate the data collection method with an accuracy level of 85%
e. Evaluate the data analysis with an accuracy level of 85%
f. Evaluate the findings interpretations with an accuracy level of 85%
Good luck