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The Scale on Conformity among Overseas Filipino Workers

Vivien Joy Bautista, Joana Erika Carballo, Janna Viktoria De Guzman,

Ma. Angelica Louise Naval, Norise Rgio Ortega

Miriam College

October 4, 2011
Abstract

We cannot deny the difficulty of finding a job here in the Philippines. Even those with degrees

are having a hard time finding a job that meets their needs and their family’s needs and because of this, a

lot of Filipinos are taking the opportunity to work abroad but in doing this they must learn to adapt with

the culture of the people they’re working with. The purpose of this study is to find out the degree of

conformity among overseas Filipino workers. In order to do so, the researchers went to POEA where they

got 170 OFWs as the participants. Four domains were used: belief, decision-making, lifestyle and

relationship. However, the results failed to come up with a strong conclusion.


Introduction

Working overseas nowadays is an ordinary thing for Filipinos. According to the 2010

census released by the Philippine National Statistics Office, there is about 2 million Overseas

Filipino Workers who works abroad (Ericta, 2011). It is common to know that in every Filipino

family there is at least one who is working in another country. Each of them has their own

different reasons why they want to work in another country; some might think that it’s a superb

opportunity while others might find it as their last resort in order to fulfill their family’s needs.

But accepting the fact that they are going to another country for hope of a good job, they are also

challenged to adapt the culture of the country where they will be staying.

However, the researchers have no interest with the personal reasons of Filipinos going

abroad but with the degree on which OFWs’ adapt a new environment, culture, and different

people. Also, with regards to what Herbert Kelman proposed, this study sought to find out if in

which type of conformity most OFWs fall; compliance, internalization or identification. By

assessing the level of conformity of OFWs, this can help the researchers to make an assumption

about the how well they live in foreign countries in terms of adapting to changes. This would

also help in gathering more information about the social status of Filipinos working abroad.
Review of Related Literature

According to Ducanes and Abella, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) are figures who

are both much celebrated and much lamented from within the Philippines and outside of it.

OFWs are often called modern day heroes and their remittances frequently credited with having

kept the country’s economy afloat in the face of myriad political and economic crises over the

past three decades. On the flipside, OFWs are also often held as symbolic of the sad state of

Philippine society, especially as it is feared that the most talented workers are among those

leaving the country, at times to take on lower-skilled jobs not commensurate with their

qualifications.

There are many traits that Filipinos are well-known for; one of these is conformity. It was

described as the practice of making oneself fit in to his surroundings or accommodating the

norms that are being practiced in the place where he lives. (Tadiar, 2009) Conformity is not just

doing what other people do but it is also being affected with what you change in the way you do

something. It is being different, acting strangely from how one person knows himself personally

(Myers, 2010).People conforms and adapts their unreal personality. When they conform, they

became more powerless and to be able to break this people should achieve self realization

(Fromm, 2009). Conformity becomes a positive attitude when it boosts one’s self confidence. It

makes people feel even better when the result of their conformity is social approval especially in

groups where they have a great need to belong. (Psych Blog, 2010)

Leon Mann’s definition of conformity is “yielding to group pressures”. People who are

not so confident with their self are more likely to conform with others even at times when they

don’t exactly share the same belief or idea (Pasupathi, 1999). As summarized by Bibb Latane

and Sharon Wolf, “traditional approaches to social influence have concentrated almost
exclusively on situations in which the majority serves as the source of influence pressure.”

(Allen, 1965; Darley & Darley, 1976; Kiesler & Kiesler, 1969)

According to Herbert Kelman, there are three types of conformity: compliance,

internalization and identification. Compliance is a type of conformity wherein an individual gets

along with the group even if he believes that they are wrong and he does not change his opinion.

Internalization is changing ones opinion because he is persuaded that the group is right. Lastly,

identification, it is conforming to what everyone is doing.

Groups influence the way people conform. Most individuals do not conform with all the

groups that they belong rather they only conform with important groups where they value their

belongingness and to groups where they look forward to being a part of. (Robbins, 2009) A study

conducted by Lennart J. Renkema, Diederik A. Stapel and Nico W. Van Yperen (2007) of the

University of Groningen, when a person is afraid or uncertain, he is more likely to conform to

the majority’s beliefs and opinion. The possible reasons for this are the capability of the general

public to provide accurate information and social approval. These motives are thought to

underlie the process of conformity in general.

People are strongly influenced when they think about how others will react if place in the

same situation they are in, particularly when they are not sure of how they should act in the

situation. (Cialdini, 2001). The more we recognize the level of consensus, the more we are

swayed. It also happens easily if the person knows limited information about the situation or

issue and if the person can’t be disturbed to understand the situation or issue carefully. (J. Dean,

2010)

Having accepted the challenge to go overseas and make a living in a foreign land, OFWs

face another challenge of adapting to the culture of their host country when they get there. They
adapt by learning every aspect of the country’s culture so they could adjust well to their life

abroad (Abellana, 2010).

When it comes to Filipino’s degree of conformity according to Abellana (2010), a

previous study entitled “A Peek into Socio-Economic and Cultural Transfers (A Study on

Cultural Transmission by OFWs from Host-to-Home Country)” which was conducted by

Synovate Inc. and was authorized by the Western Union Company, have proven that when

overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) return home, they tend to end up adopting certain traits and

practices which are prevalent in the country they came from. 97 percent of their participants

established an observable change, influenced by the culture of their host country, when they

returned home. There were changes in attitude and behavior, but the most observable ones were

in food and fashion (Abellana, 2010).

This study pointed out the contributions of OFWs to the economy of the country, as well

as its culture. When OFWs learn some practices which are advantageous for them, they conform

and bring these with them when they return home. The results of the study also showed

significant proof that despite bringing observable cultural changes when returning home, OFWs

remain Filipinos at heart. Their Filipino traits and values are still seen in their heart, mind, and

sometimes, they even return home with a stronger Pinoy spirit than ever before (Abellana, 2010).

Method

Participants

The respondents were chosen conveniently. One hundred fifty OFWs whose age ranges

from 20-50 were our target respondents. Twenty participants were used as buffer in case there

will be questionnaires that are not completely answered. The respondents who answered were
chosen regardless of what country they have worked at, how long they have been working there

and what kind of worked they are into. The participants that were chosen are those who were at

the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and other agencies. In exception on taking

the scale are OFWs who happen to work outside the country for the first time.

Materials

The scale on conformity among OFWS is a six point Likert scale (See Appendix 1). This

means that there is no right or wrong answer. The respondents will just indicate where he or she

stands on the continuum between agreement and disagreement. The set of statements deals with

how OFW act and behave when they are in another country. Most of the statements are about

their everyday interaction with other people, friends, and companions. Negative questions were

combined in the whole questionnaire to eliminate response pattern bias and encourage the

participants to read each statements well enough. In scoring it, we will reverse the equivalent

score of their answer. The respondents will also be provided with a pen/pencil.

Procedures

The scale on conformity among OFWs is composed of statements about how OFW a deal

with people, act and behave when they are in another country. There are six (6) choices: strongly

agree, agree, slightly agree, slightly disagree, disagree, and strongly disagree. The respondents

simply checked the box that corresponds to their answers. The instructions were explained to

respondents. Questions from the participant were entertained before they started to answer the

scale. We asked the respondents to answer the scale on conformity among OFWs honestly and

completely. There was no time limit in answering the scale. As much as possible, we did not

allow the respondents to mingle with others.


RESULTS

CONFORMITY

Figure 1.1: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Overall Cronbach’s Alpha)

As Figure 1.1 above shows, the overall Cronbach’s aApha obtained is .476, which is relatively

low and indicates low internal consistency among the items. This suggests that participants who

selected high rankings for a certain item did not select high rankings for the others; and those

who selected low rankings for a certain item did not select low rankings for the others. Thus, it is

not possible to accurately predict the scores for a domain using the results gathered from another

domain. However, had the alpha been higher, this ability to predict would have been possible.

Figure 1.2: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Correlated Item-total Correlation)

Figure 1.3: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Scale Statistics)


As shown in Figure 1.3, the 100 items used in the scale obtained a mean score of

370.2446 and a standard deviation of 18.66557, which indicates that the items have large

variation and are spread out to a large range of data

BELIEFS

Figure 2.1: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha for Domain 1: Beliefs)

The Cronbach’s Alpha obtained for the 23 items that were used to describe the first

domain (Beliefs), as shown in Figure 2.1 above, was .087, which is relatively low thus indicates

low internal consistency for the items.

Figure 2.2: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Correlated Item-total Correlation for Domain 1:

Beliefs)

Figure 2.3: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Scale Statistics for Domain 1: Beliefs)
The 23 items used to describe the first domain obtained a mean score of 80.9568, with a

standard variation of 6.70806 and a variance of 44.998.

DECISION-MAKING

Figure 3.1: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha for Domain 2: Decision-

making)

As shown in Figure 3.1, the overall Cronbach’s Alpha obtained for the 12 items used to

describe the second domain (decision-making) was .004, which is very low, thus indicates a very

low internal consistency. This suggests that this domain does not measure conformity

consistently.

Figure 3.2: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Correlated Item-total Correlations for Domain 2:

Decision-making)
Figure 3.3: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Scale Statistics for Domain 2: Decision-making)

The 12 items used for the second domain (Decision-making) obtained a mean score of

45.9500, a standard deviation of 4.63693 and a variance of 21.501.

LIFESTYLE

Figure 4.1: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha for Domain 3: Lifestyle)

The overall Cronbach’s Alpha obtained for the third domain (Lifestyle) was .094. A low

alpha as such indicates a low internal correlation among the items. This suggests that this domain

does not measure conformity consistently.

Figure 4.2: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Correlated Item-total Correlation for Domain 3:

Lifestyle)

30 items were used to describe this domain. The scores obtained a mean score of

109.5143, a standard deviation of 7.59921 and a variance of 57.748.


RELATIONSHIPS

Figure 5.1: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Cronbach’s Alpha for Domain 4: Relationships)

35 items were used to measure this domain. The overall Cronbach’s Alpha obtained was

.429 which is significantly low, but relatively higher than the alpha obtained from the other

domains. The low alpha indicates low internal correlation, but suggests that this measure is more

consistent than the other domains.

Figure 5.2: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Correlated Item-total Correlation for Domain 4:

Relationships)

Figure 5.3: Statistical Results for Reliability Analysis (Scale Statistics for Domain 4: Relationships)

The items under the fourth domain (Relationships) obtained a mean score of 133.7643, a

standard deviation of 10.85656 and a variance of 117.865.


Discussion

In conclusion to this study, the researchers measured the reliability of the scale using

Cronbach’s Alpha. For the overall Cronbach’s Alpha, the results showed low estimates of

reliability which means that the scale is not designed to measure only one construct, conformity.

The researchers used the domain sampling model in which several domains were identified that

represents conformity and each item is an individual sample of his/her degree of conformity.

Results showed that the four domains: belief, decision-making, lifestyle and relationship do not

measure conformity which means that the scale is not internally consistent. However, the data

may be inconclusive to draw a clear conclusion that each of these four domains does not measure

the degree of conformity of the target respondents. The researchers cannot reach a strong

conclusion and to be able to reach a clearer conclusion, the scale must be given to more subjects.

The researchers can also search for different domains which can represent conformity better.

The Philippine Overseas Employment Agency allowed the researchers to conduct the

distribution of the scale for two weeks. Due to the lack of control on the time of day, extraneous

variable of time might have been present. This extraneous variable can also be linked to another

variable which is the selection of subjects. The subjects were OFWs; they were all busy filling

up their forms. Some of the scales that were answered were incomplete and some respondents

might have been guessing. As the researchers tallied the gathered data, in an estimate, only 50%

of the respondents seemed to answer the scale seriously. Some of the respondents skip one page

of the scale. The target respondents of the researchers were one hundred and seventy but because

some of the answered scales were void, only one hundred and forty participant’s responses were

included. Also, the researchers had a hard time in explaining the purpose of the DSC Scale.

Some of the respondents were unkind in asking about the scale. Aside from that, the respondents
demand to have the scale translated in Filipino. The researchers should have considered having

the DSC Scale in Filipino language since most of the OFW came from different provinces in the

Philippines.
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Appendix

Name (optional): ________________________________________________ Age: _________

Country working at: _______________________________________________ Gender: __________

The DSC Scale for Overseas Filipino Workers

These are statements about how you deal with people, act and behave when you are in another country. There are
six (6) choices: strongly agree (SA), agree(A), slightly agree(SLA), slightly disagree(SLD), disagree(D), and strongly
disagree(SD). Put a check on the box that corresponds to your answers. Please answer this scale as honestly as you can.
Your favorable response would be much appreciated. We guarantee that your answers will be kept confidential. Thank
you!

SA A SLA SLD D SD

1. I am concerned with what other people especially those with different


nationality think about me.
2. I am comfortable in expressing my own ideas to people with different
nationality.
3. It is important for me when my co-workers agree with my opinion.

4. I always try to consider the opinion of my co-workers.

5. It is important to “fit in” with the people around me whenever we are


in a public event in a place which is not my own country.
6. I will disregard my personal belief if it contradicts the opinion of the
majority of my co-workers.
7. When deciding on something, I always think of what my co-workers
will think.
8. When my co-workers avoid a person, I would do so, too.

9. When I’m in other country, I tend to buy material things just to keep
up with what the people have.
10. I tend to act the way my co-workers do, so that they have nothing to
say against me.
11. I am likely to speak the way my co-workers do.

12. I tend to dress similarly with my co-workers.

13. I would participate in a certain activity if my co-workers do the same.

14. I would agree with my co-workers even if it contradicts my personal


beliefs.
15. I believe that my personal opinion is important when I am talking
with someone who has a different nationality

16. It is important that my appearance is similar with that of my peers.


17. It is important that my performance is comparable to that of my peers.

18. I will give up my own beliefs just so I could fit in.

19. I do not let my co-workers with different nationality be superior to me.

20. When it comes to making decisions, I feel that the majority of my co-
workers is always right that’s why I don’t bother to speak out my
opinion.
21. I do not usually talk to new people around me especially those who
have a different language and culture.

22. As an OFW, I should be encouraged to express myself in distinctive


ways.
23. I need to learn to fit in with people from another country.
24. I should be given the freedom to speak when I am with foreigners for I
need to express myself.
25. I should follow the rules in other country, not change them.
26. I can stay out of trouble if I respect the established rules of other
country.
27. I persistently try to question the culture in other countries.
28. I believe that in the long run, our cultural and ideological differences
will make us a healthier, more creative, and stronger society.

29. For me, a country is unlikely to survive in the long run unless people
can overcome their differences and disagreements.
30. I admire other OFWs who go their own way without worrying about
what people in other country think.
31. I am always concerned about what other people would think of me
especially because I have a different nationality.
32. In a group composed of people with different nationalities, I tend to
act differently in front of other people to gain their acceptance.
33. I like to stress out my own opinion about things in even if I know that
our personal beliefs contradict with each other.
34. It is okay for me even if foreigners do not like the way I act in front of
them.
35. When I am assigned in a place where I do not know my new co-
workers, I approach them first and introduce myself.
36. I don’t like to be in a group of foreigner because it’s difficult to
understand what they are saying.
37. I follow the ideas of people from another country because I think they
know better.
38. It is hard for me to accept the opinion of others especially if they are
not Filipinos.
39. I make sure that everything I do will be accepted by other races, even
if it does not show my real personality..
40. I would prefer to leave my job if my beliefs do not match those of my
co-workers.
41. I don’t let other cultures affect my belief.
42. If my co-workers reject me, I keep myself away from them.
43. I listen to my co-worker’s opinion even if they are opposing my
opinions.
44. I value my relationship with people from another country.
45. When there is a need to decide, I leave it to my co-workers.
46. I feel confident when other people accept me in a group where we
have different nationalities.
47. It is better to be alone than to be in a group where I do not act as
myself and do not agree with the beliefs of other races.
48. I love being who I am even in front of many people from different
countries.
49. I feel embarrassed when foreign people do not like the way I work.
50. Even if I’m in a different country, I still want to be involved when
making decisions in the work place.
51. I feel uncomfortable around foreign people.
52. Being the “foreigner” within a group bothers me.
53. I always share my thoughts with my co-workers.
54. I am very open to knowing about new customs, beliefs, and traditions
of other cultures
55. I find it difficult to ask for help from foreign people.
56. It is okay for me to have a friend who is a foreigner even though we do
not share the same beliefs
57. When I’m in another country, it doesn’t take long for me to adjust to
their customs.
58. When working abroad, creating a good impression matters to me
because I am representing my own country.
59. I practice the Filipino culture abroad without minding what others will
say about me.
60. I don’t adjust for people in different country. I expect them to adjust
for me.
61. I love working abroad because I love being around people who thinks
I’m different.
62. For the sake of belongingness, I tend to act as if I share the same
beliefs with other cultures.
63. When I am in another country, I follow their traditions so that I won’t
feel out of place.
64. When I am in another country, I only mingle with people who are of
the same nationality as I am.
65. I feel nervous when trying new things without my co-workers
approval/assistance.
66. I firmly stand by my beliefs and I cannot be influenced by others.
67. Even if others are doing something wrong in our job, I will still keep
on doing what is right.
68. When doing my job, I like to have it my way without asking for
others’ opinions.
69. I am easily affected by other’s criticisms about my beliefs.
70. I always join groups because it makes me feel that I belong, even if
I’m the only Filipino.
71. I listen to the opinion of other people and I will be the one to decide if
I will agree with them or not
72. I act in accordance to how the majority acts.
73. Other people’s opinions matter most to me when I am making any
decision.
74. I am certain of who I am regardless if others will not agree with me.
75. I let my co-workers influence me even if it’s against my own beliefs.
76. I abide by the rules of another country only if it fits my beliefs.
77. I practice my own way of doing things even if I’m not in my own
country.
78. Wherever I go, I always want to have a Filipino companion with me.
79. I live independently.
80. I agree to what my co-workers believe is right for us.
81. I stand by my decisions without my co-workers’ approval.
82. I am comfortable hanging out with a group where I am the only
Filipino.
83. Being part of a group is necessary to survive when you are working
in another country.
84. I prefer being on my own to avoid conflicts and misunderstanding
with others, especially foreign people.
85. I compare the people in my own country with others in different
nation.
86. I try to understand different languages for the sake of a good
conversation with other people of a different country.
87. I believe in the phrase, “fake it till you make it” especially when I
cannot handle the pressure of being with foreign natives.
88. I believe that I don’t need to compete with my co-workers when it
comes to work just to please my boss with different nationality.
89. I adjust to the beliefs of my co-workers, especially those from
different cultures.
90. I’d rather be alone than to have a hard time coping with the way
foreigners act.
91. Adjusting to a different culture doesn’t mean pretending to be
something I’m not.
92. I am willing to do anything in order to please foreigners.
93. I love having foreign friends rather than only having Filipino friends.
94. There is no reason for me to befriend others because it is hard to
familiarize myself with the attitudes of people with different
nationality.
95. When I am in another country, I focus on taking care of myself
before trying to make friends with others.
96. I find it hard to work with other people who have a different race.
97. I only leave the house to go to work and rarely go to crowded places
in order to avoid interactions with other races.
98. I share whatever I have to my companions who are of different race.
99. In decision-making, a proposition becomes true/good if it is believed
by the majority.
100. When I need help, I can turn to the people around me even if
they have a different nationality.