A comparison of protestant work ethic beliefs in thirteen nations

Adrian Furnham, Michael Bond, Patrick Heaven, Denis Hilton, Thalma Lobel, John Masters, Monica Payne, R. Rajamanikam, Barrie Stacey, H. Van Daalen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was concerned with the measurement and comparison of Protestant Work Ethic scores in 13 countries. Subjects completed seven work ethic scales, which have varying reliabilities and validities. Cronbach alphas indicated that five of the seven had acceptable reliability. For every measure, there was a highly significant difference between the scores of subjects from the different countries, and the differences tended to be consistent over the various measures. Subjects from richer, First World countries tended to have lower scores than those from Third World countries. Also, the correlation between the most well known work ethic scale score and Hofstede's (1984) power-distance score for the 13 countries was highly significant, indicating that work ethic beliefs were associated with differential weights placed on prestige, power, and wealth in a society. The results are discussed in terms of the extensive literature on cross-cultural comparison, particularly with reference to work beliefs and values.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-197
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1993
Externally publishedYes


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