The importance and efficacy of controlling for social desirability response bias
Ethics and Behavior
The extant literature acknowledges social desirability response bias (SDRB) is a pervasive issue for research that uses survey data and proposes several approaches to mitigating the issue, including: self-administered questionnaires, indirect questioning, and direct measurement. The objective of this study is to provide empirical evidence related to the importance of controlling for SDRB and the efficacy of these approaches. Using a primary sample of 365 business majors, we find the most common methodologies used to control for SDRB, self-administered questionnaires and indirect questions, are insufficient. A direct measure of SDRB remains significant when these approaches are used, and the exclusion of this measure affects the significance of other variables. Less than 5% of accounting-and-ethics research using survey data includes a direct control for SDRB. Our study provides empirical evidence on a methodological issue addressed in few existing studies.
Bernardi, R. A., & Nash, J. (2023). The importance and efficacy of controlling for social desirability response bias. Ethics and Behavior, 33 (5), 413-429. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508422.2022.2093201