Measuring Intra-Country Level of Comfort Among Subcultures in Italy

In order to compare the level of comfort among different sub cultural groups at multicultural work places in the national context, several observed and unobserved variables (comfort scales) are described. The inter city differences in Italian cities in terms of the level of comfort among various sub cultural groups are studied. The results obtained from the comparison of multi cultural workplaces from different large Italian cities are presented and analysed. The paper finds there is no significant ‘city’ effect on most of the comfort scales when analysed from the responses from several large Italian cities. Impact of other control variables like ‘gender’, ‘age groups’, ‘income – groups’ on the derived comfort scales is analysed and documented.

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Comfort with Foreign Cultures (CFC) Scores for New Countries

Comfort with foreign cultures at Multinational Workplaces may vary according to the cultural origins of the members of multicultural teams. While performance of international project teams improves if the teams are multicultural, intercultural discomfort may create new glitches and challenges for the team managers to ensure smooth team coordination.

New research, a comprehensive three country study on India, Italy and Portugal indicate new CFC scores for members originating from these countries. The scores indicate their level of comfort as local cultures with other cultural groups of foreign origin in international teams working on same projects in MNEs

Final CFC scores

The CFC scores above indicate level of comfort of employees as local cultures from India having lesser level of comfort with colleagues of foreign cultures than for the employees as local cultures from Italy and Portugal. The CFC score differences among Italy and Portugal is not very significant. The scores are based on the scale from 0 to 100. CFC scores based on the stereotype effect are also given which indicate that level of comfort with foreign cultures is not significantly explained by the level of stereotypes present in different cultures. In this case India is not really having a major stereotype effect and yet shows significant higher level of discomfort with foreign cultures than Italy and Portugal.

Foreign cultures and level of comfort – a three countries empirical investigation in multinational firms


Level of comfort with foreign cultures (CFC) is one of the critical variables in the ease of working in multicultural work teams. In an increasingly multi-cultural working environment in corporations, the observed and latent behavior influences the working relationship amongst employees and has great weight on individual and team performance. This paper investigates level of comfort among employees, which is influenced by the observed and latent behavior at multinational work places in three countries. A framework has been developed and implemented in Italy, Portugal and India, with a controlled sample design to ensure the cultural diversity. Paper analyses that there is a significant ‘country’ effect on many CFC scales. The Mean score differences based on each of the comfort with foreign culture variables among Portugal, Italy and India are also significant, indicating level of comfort of local cultures with foreign cultures differs from country to country.

Key Words: Inter-cultural comfort; Cross cultural teams; Multicultural work places; Cultural identity

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Level of Comfort between Local Employees and Foreign Employees in MNC workplaces may vary


Geert Hofstede studied the cultural dimension in multinational firms which play significant role in the professional conduct of employees. Fifth dimension was supplemented on a cross cultural study of Chinese Confucius behavior. In the changing global cross cultural conduct at work place, the firms are facing more challenges than ever before in forming and performing in multi-location and multi-national teams. This study attempts to read the variables to build a framework which measures the Level of Comfort (LoC) between local culture and foreign culture in the multinational firms. The framework developed is also tested on a pilot study with 200 respondents from 10 countries. Results show that Level of Comfort can be measured through a structured questionnaire and also that this level of comfort vary among countries included in the study.

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Reliability Vs Validity of a Questionnaire in any Research Design

Questionnaires are most widely used tools in specially social science research. Most questionnaire’s objective in research is to obtain relevant information in most reliable and valid manner. Therefore the validation of questionnaire forms an important aspect of research methodology and the validity of the outcomes. Often a researcher is confused with the objective of validating a questionnaire and tends to find a link between the reliability of a questionnaire with the validity of it.

The reality is that reliability and validity are two different aspects of an acceptable research questionnaire. It is important for a researcher to understand the differences between these two aspects. In its simple explanation, reliability of a questionnaire seems to emerge from the quality of the questionnaire. On the other hand validity seems to emerge from the internal and external consistency and relevance of the questionnaire. In other words reliability of a questionnaire refers to the quality of tool (read questionnaire) while validity refers to the process used to employ the tool in use, i.e. the process used to conduct the questionnaire. There are several dimensions to the process of employment of a questionnaire in use. Some of the important dimensions are discussed in the following paragraphs.

General Validity

A major aspect of validation of a questionnaire refers to common validity of the questionnaire. The most common elements widely used in questionnaire validation are –

Known Group Validity – refers to the extent to which an instrument can demonstrate variability of scores which vary on a certain known variables.

Construct Validity – refers to the extent to which an instrument can demonstrate the measure of the intended construct.

Content Validity – refer to the extent to which an instrument covers all aspect of social problem under study

Criterion Validity – refers to consistency with the gold standard questionnaire


Variables may have correlation but this correlation should be optimal. Most commonly correlation tests are aimed at finding interclass correlation, between group correlations. Correlation mainly provides measure of internal consistency for validating the questionnaires. Some of the common correlation test for validating questionnaire relate to following

Inter class correlation coefficient – It refers to the ratio between interclass variance to total variance.

Cronbach Alpha – Is the measure of the correlation between items of the test. It is the homogeneity of the test. Experts agree that items in a test are moderately correlated. This way these are expected to measure all aspects of a single trait being tested. If the correlation is too low it may indicate that items refers to not one trait but two or more different trait. On the other hand a very high correlation refers to one of the items being redundant for the test

Discriminant correlation – refers to the extent to which a measure of a research attribute is related to measure of a different attribute which is not intended to be measured.



Bias is more problematic than random error and can be intentional or unintentional. The bias is related to characteristics of investigator, observer or instrument. Unintentional bias is of bigger concern. It is to be avoided by uncovering its source and re looking at design instrument or using a method to avoid it.

A validated questionnaire is one that has undergone validation procedure to show that it accurately measures what its objective is, regardless of the respondent’s status, timing of response, different investigators. The instrument is compared with the Gold Standard, if available. It is also compared with other sources of data. The reliability is also tested. Even if the questionnaire is not fully valid (which is rare), reliability of the questionnaire has its own value. If the reliability is there it offers an opportunity to compare results with other studies.

Importance of Pilot Study in any Research

Pilot studies or trials – which are comparative randomized trials designed to provide preliminary evidence on the efficacy of an intervention or theoretical model / concept – are routinely performed in many social and other research areas. Also commonly known as “feasibility” or “vanguard” studies, they are designed to assess the potential of an intervention; to assess potential of a concept; to assess the feasibility of international collaboration in a research work or coordination for multi countries studies; to increase experience with the study or intervention. These are the best ways to assess feasibility of a large, expensive full-scale study, and in fact are an almost essential pre-requisite. Conducting a pilot prior to the main study can enhance the likelihood of success of the main study and potentially help to avoid doomed main studies. The key aspects of pilot studies includes: 1) the general reasons for conducting a pilot study; 2) the relationships between pilot studies, proof-of-concept studies, and adaptive theoretical designs; 3) the challenges of and misconceptions about pilot studies; 4) the criteria for evaluating the success of a pilot study; 5) frequently asked questions about pilot studies; 7) some ethical aspects related to pilot studies; and 8) some suggestions on how to report the results of pilot investigations using any special format. One another area of using a pilot study is also to identify which statistical tools may be useful for effective results in the main full scale study.

Good reponses pouring in from New countries for CFC project

Good responses are pouring in for CFC project phase 1 from India, Portugal and Italy.

Survey is open for all the countries and individuals of the world and is now available online in following 3 languages

English Version: Uploaded by Prof. Vijesh Jain (India)

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Portugese Version: Uploaded by Prof. Susana Costa E Silva (Portugal)

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Italian Version: Uplaoded by Ms. Juliana Bernhofer (Italy)

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Request all take the appropriate survey to improve the world CFC data