A comparison of short form Marlowe–Crowne and “best friends” social desirability bias measures

José I. Rojas-Méndez, Gary Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to compare two different types of measures of social desirability bias (SDB), a short form of the Marlowe–Crowne measure, a popular direct measure, and an example of a projective technique where half of the respondents record the views of their “best friends”. Design/methodology/approach: The data were collected using an online survey of members of a consumer panel. The context chosen to test the SDB measures was that of attitudes toward counterfeit products and xenocentrism in Colombia. Counterfeit proneness, attitude toward counterfeit products and consumer xenocentrism were selected as variables likely to be affected by SDB. Vertical and horizontal collectivism were included as variables likely to influence the first group of variables while not being themselves subject to SDB. Findings: The projective technique consistently identified higher levels of SDB effects, as hypothesized. Marked differences emerged in the apparent strength of the relationships between the operational constructs depending upon which measure of SDB was used. At times, whether any such relationship might exist depended on the SDB measure used. Contrary to some prior work, no systematic gender effects were identified using either approach. Originality/value: The first study to provide evidence of the comparative effects of different types of measures of SDB in research into ethical issues. One of the few to demonstrate how apparent relationships between variables can be created by SDB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-345
Number of pages17
JournalMarketing Intelligence and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2024


  • Best friends measure
  • Consumer xenocentrism
  • Counterfeit products
  • Marlowe–Crowne social desirability measure
  • Social desirability bias


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