East Asian wisdom and relativity: inter-ocular testing of Schwartz values from WVS with extension of the ReVaMB model

Chris Baumann*, Hume Winzar, Tony Fang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is threefold. First, the paper demonstrates how inter-ocular testing (looking at the data) of Schwartz values from world values study (WVS) provides a surprisingly different picture to what the authors would expect from traditional mean comparison testing (t-tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA)). Second, the authors suggest that the ReVaMB model can be applied to an East Asian philosophical perspective. Relativity, the authors argue, is a factor when East Asian wisdom, philosophies and ideologies (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Legalism) “drive” outcomes such as work ethic. Third, the paper serves as an editorial to a special issue in CCSM on East Asian wisdom and its impact on business culture and performance in a cross-cultural context. Common themes are Yin Yang, how different cultures deal with paradox, and Zhong Yong, with accompanying concerns of how to conceptualise and deal with balance of opposites.

Design/methodology/approach: The authors adopted ten variables of the Schwartz values scales used in the WVS and subjected them to principle components analysis to reduce the number of variables. The authors found a two-factor solution: one relating to personal material success and adventure and excitement; another relating to success and personal recognition. The authors labelled these factors as Altruism and Hedonism. The analysis is based on an overall sample of 84,692 respondents in 60 countries. In addition to traditional statistical testing, the authors conduct inter-ocular testing. The authors also suggest that the ReVaMB model can be applied to East Asian wisdom.

Findings: Three recommendations help to arrive at more accurate conclusions when comparing groups: the authors recommend to aspire to “consistent look and statistic”. If the data distribution does not agree with the statistics, then the researcher should take a closer look. To avoid misinterpreting statistics and other analysis, the authors recommend inter-ocular testing, i.e. eyeballing data in a scientific fashion. The authors provide specific examples how to do that. The authors recommend to test for common-language effect size (CLE), and also recommend a new rule of thumb, i.e. a split of 60/40 as minimum difference to make any generalisation; 70/30 is worth considering. The rule of thumb contributes to better differentiation between real and “not real” differences.

Originality/value: The authors introduce two concepts: the “inter-ocular test”, which simply means to “look at your data”, and the Chinese word, 错觉 (Cuòjué) which roughly translates to “illusion”, “wrong impression”, or “misconception”. This study argues against accepting simplistic averages for data analysis. The authors provide evidence that an inter-ocular test provides a more comprehensive picture of data when comparing groups rather than simply relying on traditional statistical mean comparison testing. The “word of caution” is to avoid premature conclusions on group comparisons with statistical testing alone. The authors also propose an extension of the original ReVaMB model from a confucian orientation to a broad East Asian philosophical perspective. Culture does determine attitudes and behaviour which in turn contribute to the shaping of cultures, depending on situation, context, location and time. The “context” for a situation to occur should be tested as moderators, for example, between East Asian wisdom (Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Legalism) and behavioural or attitudinal dimensions such as work ethic.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)210-230
Number of pages21
JournalCross Cultural and Strategic Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


  • common-language effect (CLE)
  • Confucianism
  • Cuòjué
  • inter-ocular testing
  • ReVaMB model
  • world values survey (WVS)
  • Ying Yang


Dive into the research topics of 'East Asian wisdom and relativity: inter-ocular testing of Schwartz values from WVS with extension of the ReVaMB model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this