The purpose of this article is to report on research that examines survey participation rates (i.e. response rates) for personal interview surveys where solicitation for participation is based on different theories of survey-response behaviour in two culturally distinct countries. Field experiments were designed to investigate the extent to which the theories of exchange, cognitive dissonance, self-perception, and involvement/commitment can influence potential respondents to participate in a personal interview survey in Australia and Hong Kong. The results show that there were significant differences in Australia with the theory of self-perception having the strongest impact on survey-response behaviour, while cognitive dissonance has the least impact. In contrast, the effects in Hong Kong were not significant. This study adds to the limited empirical research regarding why consumers participate in surveys, particularly personal interview surveys. The theories are applied at the self-introduction and invitation to participate, which is a crucial stage in the potential respondent's decision about participation.