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J Appl Psychol. 2003 Dec;88(6):1104-14.

Profiling active and passive nonrespondents to an organizational survey.

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  • 1Dept of Psychology, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Charlotte, NC 28223-0001, US.


In this field study (N = 405) population profiling was introduced to examine general and specific classes of nonresponse (active vs. passive) to a satisfaction survey. The active nonrespondent group (i.e., purposeful nonresponders) was relatively small (approximately 15%). Active nonrespondents, in comparison with respondents, were less satisfied with the entity sponsoring the survey and were less conscientious. Passive nonrespondents (e.g., forgot), who represented the majority of nonrespondents, were attitudinally similar to respondents but differed with regard to personality. Nonresponse bias does not appear to be a substantive concern for satisfaction type variables--the typical core of an organizational survey. If the survey concerns topics strongly related to Conscientiousness and Agreeableness, the respondent sample may not be representative of the population.

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