Since the introduction of the opinion leadership conceptualization, both practitioners and academics have been keenly interested in its applicability in modern society. Numerous studies have been conducted to identify potential opinion leaders, learn of the characteristics distinguishing them from their 'followers,' and understand how they exert their personal influence to change opinions and behaviors of the masses. Despite the growing research on opinion leadership, the identification of appropriate opinion leaders for practical purposes continues to be a challenge. Several methods were used to identify opinion leaders. The existence of numerous methods and their use in various societies, social settings and cultures and the variance across domains of opinion leadership raises questions on the applicability and validity of the modern, advanced measures when applied to other social settings. The present study is in fact a first attempt to apply the modern personality strength (PS) scale to a traditional community. The PS scale was found to be an efficient, valid, and useful instrument to identify opinion leaders in numerous studies. However, it was always used, tested, and validated in Western societies (e.g., Germany, USA, and Israel). When we applied the method in the Skukuza community, a small village in South Africa, the findings revealed the inapplicability of the scale in a traditional community. Several factors are suggested to explain the futility of the PS scale in a traditional society.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science