Organizational Psychology Expanding Methods To Include Longitudinal Designs

Andrew G. Miner and Charles L. Hulin

The general case for multiple operations in the study of constructs in psychology has been made several times (e.g., Bridgman, 1927; Campbell & Fiske, 1959; Dunnette, 1966; Garner, Hake, & Eriksen, 1956). It has been established that appropriate measurement and manipulation of psychological constructs depends fundamentally on the use of multiple independent methods, each of which imperfectly captures an underlying construct. The use of more than one operationalization of a construct is necessary to ensure that observed relationships are due to relations among constructs and not methods.

Industrial and organizational (I/O) psychology has struggled to measure constructs using more than one method for two reasons. First, researchers often lack access to experimental designs that can provide a source of alternative operationalizations; many constructs are bound to their organizational context and cannot be reasonably isolated in the lab (e.g., organizational commitment). Second, organizations are often reluctant to undertake the time, cost, and effort necessary to move beyond standard paper-and-pencil or online self-report surveys. Some research endeavors in I/O psychology have resulted in remarkable demonstrations of the application of multiple methods. However, such endeavors represent the exception to the rule that it is difficult to achieve multiple methods in organizational settings. In this chapter we describe four characteristics of most research in the field. One of these four characteristics, the discounting of dynamic process in research design, is explored in further detail. The chapter addresses some potential benefits of using dynamic, within-person, designs more frequently.

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