Statistical and Methodological Myths and Urban Legends in Strategic Management Research: The Case of Moderation Analysis

12 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2019

See all articles by Ming Li

Ming Li

University of Liverpool - Management School (ULMS)

Barton Sharp

Northern Illinois University

Donald D. Bergh

University of Denver

Robert Vandenberg

University of Georgia

Date Written: Spring 2019

Abstract

This paper examines whether methodological precedence in applying moderation analysis to strategic management research relies on myths and urban legends, and if doing so affected empirical conclusions, implications for theory development, and practical recommendations. An in‐depth analysis of 69 studies published in the Strategic Management Journal between 2000 and 2014 using moderation analysis finds that strategic management scholars typically rely on statistical myths and urban legends when applying moderation analysis including: (1) interpreting main effects separately from their significant interaction with other variables; (2) failing to report reliability values of interaction terms; and (3) relying on hierarchical approaches that can lead to interpretation errors. Further examples illustrate how these practices could lead researchers to draw incomplete and possibly inaccurate conclusions. Overall, problematic precedents have become the gold standards for testing and interpreting moderation models. Best practice recommendations for redirecting future research to more solid methodological grounding are provided.

Keywords: methods, moderation, moderators, myths, regression

Suggested Citation

Li, Ming and Sharp, Barton and Bergh, Donald D. and Vandenberg, Robert, Statistical and Methodological Myths and Urban Legends in Strategic Management Research: The Case of Moderation Analysis (Spring 2019). European Management Review, Vol. 16, Issue 1, pp. 209-220, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3378757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/emre.12319

Ming Li (Contact Author)

University of Liverpool - Management School (ULMS) ( email )

Chatham Street
Liverpool, L69 7ZH
United Kingdom

Barton Sharp

Northern Illinois University ( email )

1425 W. Lincoln Hwy
Dekalb, IL 60115-2828
United States

Donald D. Bergh

University of Denver ( email )

Robert Vandenberg

University of Georgia

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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