• authoritarianism;
  • operationalization;
  • scale development

The RWA Scale (Altemeyer, 1981, 1988, 1996) is commonly regarded as the best measure of right-wing authoritarianism. The one-dimensional instrument assesses the covariation of three attitudinal clusters: authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression, and conventionalism. The incongruence between the implicit conceptual dimensionality on the one hand and methodological operationalization on the other makes room for discussion about whether it would be advantageous to measure the 3 facets of RWA separately. I rely on three arguments: (1) confirmatory factor analyses showing that three-dimensional scales fit the data better than the conventional one-dimensional practice; (2) the dimensions showing a considerable interdimension discrepancy in their capability to explain validation criteria; and (3) the dimensions showing an intradimensional discrepancy which is dependent upon the research question. The argumentation is illustrated by empirical evidence from several Web-based studies among German Internet users.