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
Date Written: November 1, 2011
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: Suggested Citation