Institutionalized Dualism: Statistical Significance Testing as Myth and Ceremony

Journal of Management Control, Vol. 22, No. 1, September 2011

31 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2012

See all articles by Marc Orlitzky

Marc Orlitzky

University of South Australia - School of Management

Date Written: November 1, 2011

Abstract

Several well-known statisticians regard significance testing as a deeply problematic procedure in statistical inference. Yet, in-depth discussion of null hypothesis significance testing (NHST) has largely been absent from the literature on organizations or, more specifically, management control systems. This article attempts to redress this oversight by drawing on neoinstitutional theory to frame, analyze, and explore the NHST problem. Regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive forces partly explain the longevity of NHST in organization studies. The unintended negative consequences of NHST include a reinforcement of the academic-practitioner divide, an obstacle to the growth of knowledge, discouragement of study replications, and mechanization of researcher decision making. An appreciation of these institutional explanations for NHST as well as the harm caused by NHST may ultimately help researchers develop superior methodological alternatives to a controversial statistical technique.

Keywords: Epistemology, neoinstitutional theor, null hypothesis significance testing, quantitative methods, sociology of science, statistical significance test

JEL Classification: B00, C00, C12

Suggested Citation

Orlitzky, Marc, Institutionalized Dualism: Statistical Significance Testing as Myth and Ceremony (November 1, 2011). Journal of Management Control, Vol. 22, No. 1, September 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2003906

Marc Orlitzky (Contact Author)

University of South Australia - School of Management ( email )

Australia

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