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  1. 1. A Cross-Cultural Study of the Motivational Factors Affecting Individuals’ Decisions about Participating in Action Sports between Korean College Students and Their American Counterparts S. Roger Park (Saint Leo University, USA) AbstractThe purpose of the study was to examine if there existed significant differences on the motivationalfactors affecting individuals’ decisions about participating in action sports between Korean collegestudents and their American counterparts. Four hundred ninety-two action sports participants completedthe survey. Of 492 research participants, 275 (55.9%) were Koreans and 212 (43.1%) were Americanswith 5 (1%) missing data. The results of MANOVA revealed that American college students had higherlevels of participant motivations than their Korean counterparts, including achievement/status-oriented,team-oriented, fitness-oriented, energy release-oriented, miscellaneous reason-oriented, skilldevelopment-oriented, friendship-oriented, and fun-oriented, above and beyond what gender, educationallevel, skill level, and the average number of days of participating in action sports explained.IntroductionThe booming action sports interest has become a worldwide phenomenon. Inline skaters, skateboarders,and BMX riders were estimated at 150 million participants worldwide, and these main three sports haveshown a 700% increase in growth over the past 12 years, with a 30% growth in participants each year(LG Mobile Phones, 2003). Professional action sports athletes were estimated at 30,000 people globally(Liberman, 2004). Action sports fans could be found everywhere. A greater number of people have beenshowing an interest in action sports, and they should no longer be considered a niche market of sportbusiness industry.Sports scholars have shown an increased interest in the area of extreme sports in the past decade and theyhave applied the motivation and personality theories into extreme sports participants. However, most ofthese researchers focused only on the traditional extreme sports such as hang-gliding, kayaking, and rockclimbing (Doka, Schwarz, & Schwarz, 1990; Shoham, Rose, & Kahle, 1998) excluding action sports suchas inline skating, skateboarding, and/or snowboarding. In addition, little research has been done withregard to the motivational factors affecting individuals’ decisions about participating in action sportscomparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between American action sports participantsand their Korean counterparts.
  2. 2. 1Review of LiteratureCross-Cultural Studies in GeneralA number of research studies support that cultural effect is one of the important factors to explain acertain pattern of individual thought and behavior from the psychological aspects. Yi and Park (2003)found that people with different cultural backgrounds were more likely to have different attitudes andstyles of decision making in negotiation, bargaining processes, and problem solving in various socialsettings because value systems differed.Prior work suggests that the psychological results do not always translate when cultures were so different.Stevenson and Stigler (1992) examined, for example,that there was more belief in malleable intelligence and in the importance of effort among those in theAsian culture than in the American culture when they compared the achievement beliefs of Asian andAmerican school children and their parents.Bracken and Barona (1991) mentioned that obvious cultural influences included beliefs, customs, values,degree of acculturation of assimilation, and generational status of the individual. Furnham, McClelland,and Omer (2003) examined whether ratings of attractiveness and related attributes were indeed pan-cultural, as evolutionary psychologists have suggested, or cultural-specific as some studies havesuggested (Furnham & Alibhai, 1983; Furnham & Baguma, 1994; Zebrowitz et al., 1993).From the perspective of business, a cross-cultural study would still make many contributions to theunderstanding of the international or multinational business market. Luo, Hoek, and Roos (2001)identified that the ability to effectively manage logistics in a cross-cultural context has become one of thecrucial success factors in today’s business world in the face of ever-increasing globalization. In addition,they insisted that cross-cultural logistics research could have the benefit of applying the experiencelearned in cross-cultural research, in general, and through cross-cultural research in management andmarketing, through international business.Cross-Cultural Studies in the Context of SportDespite the fact that more and more researchers and marketers all over the world have become interestedin cross-cultural studies, relatively few cross-cultural studies exist. Kriska (2000) studied the ethnic andcultural issues in assessing physical activity and explained the substantial differences in the distribution ofboth chronic diseases and inactivity among the various segments of the population.“Not Just a Game” (1998) showed that people in various regions enjoy a variety of sports whileexplaining the worldwide popularity of sporting events and estimating a television audience for the FIFAWorld Cup Soccer in 1998, 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Rugby World Cup, two Formula Oneautomobile-racing seasons, and American football. Concerning the two countries of Korea and the UnitedStates, “Not Just a Game” (1998) indicated that the Korean people were more likely to enjoy baseballthan any other sports, while the American people were more willing to enjoy football.
  3. 3. 2Sport Participant MotivationGill, Gross, and Huddleston (1983) attempted to measure the sport participants’ motivations for youth.They created eight motivation factors of sport participation. The initial study showed that the mostimportant reasons for participating were to improve skills, have fun, learn new skills, be challenged, andbe physically fit (Gill, 2000). Several others used this measure, or a modification, with other youth sportsamples (Gould, Feltz, & Weiss, 1985; Klint & Weiss, 1986; Passer, 1988; Wankel & Kreisel, 1985), andthe results were consistent in several ways. Weiss and Chaumeton (1992) cited three common threads.First, several factor analyses yielded consistent factors, including competence, fitness, affiliation, teamaspects, competition, and fun. Second, children and adolescents typically indicated that several motiveswere important. Third, there were minimal age, gender, experience, and sport activity differences.Dwyer (1992) sampled university students using a 5-point response format to examine the measure’sinternal structure. His resulting 6-factor structure (team orientation, achievement/status, fitness, friendship,skill development, and fun/excitement/challenge) was similar to the results with youth samples, and allsubscales were internally consistent. The important motives for participating were to (a) maintain fitness;(b) experience fun, excitement, and challenge; and (c) acquire and improve skills–findings consistent withthe youth literature (Gill et al., 1983; Gould et al., 1985; Klint & Weiss, 1987). The least importantreasons were friendship-oriented, achievement/status-oriented, and team-oriented factor; these vary fromthe results with youth.Instrument Translation and Back-TranslationThe instrument translation needs to be loyal to the original context of the source instrument, and it shouldalso reflect a cultural understanding of the target language (Bracken & Barona, 1991). Bracken andBarona (1991) mentioned that the following common translation techniques as (a) interpreters, (b) directtranslation, (c) bilingual translation, (d) committee, (e) field-testing, and (f) back-translation.The most commonly applied technique is the back-translation technique. The advantage of the back-translation technique is that it offers the opportunity for revisions to enhance the reliability and accuracyof the translated instrument (Bracken & Barona, 1991; Geisinger, 1994; Van de Vijver & Hambleton,1996; Van de Vijver & Leung, 2001). Therefore, the back-translation technique was utilized to obtainconsistency by comparing both the Korean and English instrument versions.Researchers have identified the concerns of translating and adapting an instrument from one language toanother (Geisinger, 1994; Hui & Traindis, 1985; Van de Vijver & Hambleton, 1996). Brislin (1980)proposed methods, such as back-translation, bilingual, committee, decentering, and pretests.The instruments developed for this current study were translated from the English to the Korean versionby concept instead of translating word by word; this is more desirable because the translated items aremore meaningful to the Korean population (Geisinger, 1994).MethodologyParticipant Motivations Questionnaire (PMQ)
  4. 4. 3Participation Motivations Questionnaire (PMQ) (Gill, Gross, & Huddleston, 1983) was used as theresearch instrument. A 30-item instrument was rated on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (stronglydisagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The research instrument consisted of eight dimensions ofachievement/status with six items, team-oriented reasons with three items, fitness-oriented reasons withthree items, energy release with five items, miscellaneous reasons with three items, skill developmentwith three items, friendships with four items, and fun with three items. The item responses were summedwithin each sub-dimension to create eight dimensions. The reliabilities of the sub-dimensionswere .95, .94, .97, .95, .84, .94, .93, and .95, respectively. The reliability of the eight dimensions was .98.The validity of this instrument was reconfirmed for the current sample.DemographicsA demographic questionnaire was developed for this study to obtain information concerning personalcharacteristics, such as gender, educational level (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate, etc),skill level, age, nationality, and the average number of days of participating in action sports.Translation and Back-TranslationThere were four steps used in the process of translation and adaptation using the back-translation andbilingual committee methods. Three bilingual committees were selected and they had a minimum ofundergraduate degree in the English speaking countries. The first bilingual committee translated theoriginal English version of the instrument into the Korean version (Brislin, 1980). The second bilingualcommittee back-translated the Korean version into the English version, and the third bilingual committeecompared the two English versions. Finally, all three bilingual committees discussed the final version ofthe instrument.ParticipantsFour-hundred ninety-two action sports participants, who were going to 4-year colleges and universities inKyunggi province in Korea and in the state of Colorado, completed the survey. Data were collectedbetween December 2004 and January 2005 for Korean subjects and between January 2005 and February2005 for their American counterparts. Of 492 action sports participants, 275 (55.9%) were Koreans and212 (43.1%) were Americans while 5 (1%) subjects did not disclose their nationality. The researchparticipants averaged 3.20 (SD = 2.09 days) days of participating in action sports per year. The skill levelsof the research participants were beginner (35.4%), intermediate level (33.7%), high level (19.1%),professional level (3.0%), and other (1.4%) with 7.3% missing data. In addition, 383 (77.8%) were malesand 101 (20.5%) were females while 8 (1.6%) did not answer their gender. The current researchparticipants ranged in age from 18 to 34 years old (M = 23.67, SD = 2.90). The education levels of currentresearch participants were graduate students (7.9%), senior (10.2%), junior (34.3%), sophomore (28.3%),freshman (13.2%), and other (4.5%) with 1.6% missing data.Data NormalityTest of multivariate data normality was conducted on the research instruments. The main reason for
  5. 5. 4conducting the normality test was because the data normality would affect the results of statisticalprocedures (Pedhazur & Schmelkin, 1991; Tabachnick & Fidell, 2001). Usually, MANOVA is required tosatisfy the assumption of data normality, which means that the observed variables need to be normallydistributed (Gravetter & Wallnau, 2000). According to Mardia’s (1985) suggestions, a skewness orkurtosis value of a variable or an item greater than 2 or smaller than -2 is considered non-normallydistributed. Based on the results of Mardia’s (1985) multivariate normality test, all valuables did fit theassumed distribution of multivariate.In addition, Tabachnick and Fidell (2001) mentioned that sampling distributions of means are normallydistributed regardless of the distributions of variables with at least 20 degrees of freedom on the basis ofThe Central Limit Theorem. Based on The Central Limit Theorem, the normality has been met becauseeach group had more than 20 degrees of freedom. Table 1 shows the mean, standard deviation, andparameters of skewness and kurtosis of the variables for MANOVA for the current sample.The internal consistency for the current research participants estimated by Cronbach’s alphas ofachievement/status-oriented motivation, team-oriented motivation,fitness-oriented motivation, energy release-oriented motivation, miscellaneous-oriented motivation, skilldevelopment-oriented motivation, friendship-oriented motivation, and fun-oriented motivationwere .77, .85, .77, .76, .58, .80, .71, and 75, respectively.Table 1Mean, Standard Deviation, and Parameters of Skewness and Kurtosis for MANOVA (N = 475) Variable M SD Skewness Kurtosis Age 23.67 2.90 .05 .22 Achievement/Status 18.63 4.57 -.09 .04 Fun 11.69 2.53 -.60 -.02 Friendship 14.13 3.13 -.34 .13 Miscellaneous 8.38 .05 .21 .18 Fitness 11.43 .54 .07 .23 Skill 10.87 2.89 -.58 -.26 Team 9.35 2.79 -.06 -.23 Energy 17.14 3.87 -.29 .18Note. Judgments were made on 5-point scales (1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree).ResultsMANOVA was utilized to test if the motivational factors affecting individuals’ decisions aboutparticipating in action sports were different by nationality after blocking the variables of gender,educational level, skill level, and the average number of days of participating in action sports. The
  6. 6. 5purpose of using blocking variables in MANOVA was to control the effects of educational level, skilllevel, and the average number of days of participating in action sports.MANOVA was performed on eight dependent variables (DVs): achievement/status oriented, team-oriented, fitness-oriented, miscellaneous-oriented, friendship-oriented, fun-oriented, skill development-oriented, and energy release-oriented motivations. Independent variable was nationality (Korean andAmerican action sports participants) with blocking independent variables (IVs) of gender, educationallevel, skill level, and the frequency of participating in action sports. Order of entry of blocking variableswas gender, educational level, skill level, and the frequency of participating in action sports.It was critical to block the effects of those variables because the significant differences of DV, themotivational factors affecting individuals’ decisions about participating in action sports, might bringabout by blocking variables not by necessarily nationality. The variable blocking was used basically tocontrol the effects of gender, educational level, skill level, and the average number of days ofparticipating in action sports on DV. Total N of 492 was reduced to 433 with the deletion of a casemissing a score on IV and DVs.Tabachnick and Fidell (2001) referred to MANOVA as wasteful if DVs are very highly and positivelycorrelated as well as if DVs are uncorrelated. In order to examine the linear relationship among the DVs,Pearson correlation has been conducted (see Table 2). On the basis of interrelations among the DVs, theywere moderately correlated in positive direction (from .38 to .71).Table 2The Interrelations among the Continuous Variables (N = 479) Variables 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1. Achievement 1 .52*** .51*** .65*** .64*** .56*** .62*** .59*** 2. Team 1 .48*** .45*** .47*** .38*** .45*** .51*** 3. Fitness 1 .52*** .51*** .58*** .59*** .63*** 4. Miscellaneous 1 .45*** .47*** .48*** .52*** 5. Friendship 1 .53*** .59*** .60*** 6. Fun 1 .71*** .64*** 7. Skill 1 .57*** 8. Energy 1***p < .001.Based on the results of MANOVA, there was a significant difference on all eight motivational factorsaffecting individuals’ decisions about participating in action sports for Korean and American action sportsparticipants by nationality (F(8, 408) = 13.17, p < .001; η2 = .79) after blocking the variables of gender,
  7. 7. 6educational level, skill level, and the average number of days of participating in action sports. In otherwords, nationality explained the significant differences on the motivational factors affecting individuals’decisions about participating in action sports above and beyond what the gender, educational level, skilllevel, and the average number of days of participating in action sports explained. This revealed thatnationality was a significant variable to differentiate the motivational factors affecting individual’sdecisions about participating in action sports for Korean and American action sports participants. Table 3provides means and standard deviations of nationality for Korean and American action sports participants.Table 3Means and Standard Deviations of Nationality for the Motivational Factors Affecting Individuals’Decisions about Participating in Action Sports between Korean Action Sports Participants and TheirAmerican Counterparts (N = 433) Korean American Variable M SD M SD Achievement/Status 17.60 4.06 20.12 4.74 Team-Oriented 9.03 2.42 9.81 3.14 Fitness-Oriented 10.30 2.16 12.99 2.18 Miscellaneous 7.92 2.00 8.99 2.67 Friendship 12.67 2.54 12.67 2.68 Fun-Oriented 10.35 2.13 13.51 1.67 Skill Development 9.66 2.75 12.54 2.13 Energy Release 15.44 3.41 19.42 3.15DiscussionAmerican action sports participants had significantly higher levels of motivational factors affectingindividuals’ decisions about participating in action sports, including achievement/status-oriented, team-oriented, fitness-oriented, friendship-oriented, fun-oriented, miscellaneous-oriented, energy release-oriented, and skill development-oriented, than their Korean counterparts. In other words, the culturaldiversity was a critical factor to differentiate the motivational factors.LimitationsThe first and utmost limitation of this dissertation is the generalizability of the results. This current studyadopted a convenient sampling method due to the difficulty in obtaining college action sports participantsboth in the state of Colorado and in Kyunggi province in Korea. Therefore, it should be careful whengeneralizing the results of this study. More specifically, the results of this current study might not begeneralized beyond the population of college students, who are going to skate parks in the state ofColorado and in Kyunggi province in Korea. However, the study still added more information in the
  8. 8. 7understanding of globalization of action sports to the existing literature.ImplementationAction sports consumers are diverse in terms of demographics and psychographics in different consumermarkets. However, eight motivations such as achievement/status, team-oriented, fitness-oriented,miscellaneous, friendship, fun-oriented, skill development-oriented, and energy release-oriented can beused as common motivational factors to identify why people enjoy action sports in Korea and in the USA.Recommendations for Future StudyThis current study opened the door for the action sports researchers and business managers to conductmultinational-comparison study to identify the motivational factors affecting individuals’ decisions aboutparticipating in action sports. More and more international levels of action sports events have been bornall over in the world. Therefore, it is expected to see more multi-national and/or multi-cultural studies inthe area of the action sports industry.Third, quantitative research methodology was beneficial for conducting a cross-cultural study comparingand contrasting the motivational factors between Korean and American action sports participants.However, for future studies, qualitative research methods, including interviewing, would be of use inanalyzing the personality of action sports participants because of that methods’ propensity to dig deep intopersonality from the psychological perspective.ReferencesBracken, B. A., & Barona, A. (1991). State of the art procedures for translating, validating and usingpsychoeducational tests in cross-cultural assessment. School Psychology International, 12, 119-132.Brislin, R. W. (1980). Translation and content analysis of oral and written materials. In H. C. Triandis &H. W. Berry (Eds.), Handbook of cross-cultural psychology (Vol. 2, pp. 389-444). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Doka, K., Schwarz, E. E., & Schwarz, C. (1990). Risky business: Observations on the nature of death inhazardous sports. OMEGA: The Journal of Death and Dying, 21, 215-223.Dwyer, J. J. M. (1992). Informal structure of participation motivation questionnaire completed byundergraduates. Psychological Reports, 70, 283-290.Furnham, A., & Alibhai, N. (1983). Cross-cultural differences in the perception of female body shapes.Psychological Medicine, 13, 829-837.Furnham, A., & Baguma, P. (1994). Gender and locus of control correlates of body image dissatisfaction.European Journal of Personality, 8, 183-200.Furnham, A., McClelland, A., & Omer, L. (2003). A cross-cultural comparison of ratings of perceivedfecundity and sexual attractiveness as a function of body weight and waist-to-hip ratio. Psychology,Health & Medicine, 8(2), 219-230.Geisinger, K. F. (1994). Cross-cultural normative assessment: translation and adaptation issuesinfluencing the normative interpretation of assessment instruments. Psychological Assessment, 6(4), 304-312.
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