Advertisement

Asia Pacific Journal of Management

, Volume 33, Issue 2, pp 319–341 | Cite as

Asian researchers should be more critical: The example of testing mediators using time-lagged data

  • Kenneth S. Law
  • Chi-Sum Wong
  • Ming YanEmail author
  • Guohua Huang
Article

Abstract

In the past decade, there has been call for Asian researchers to be more confident and not limit themselves to follow only the footsteps of Western studies. In this paper, we follow up the discussion in Western literature about the importance of testing mediators with longitudinal data. The prevailing way of testing mediation is the use of time-lagged models. That is, the predictor or mediator is collected at prior time points than the outcome variable. We believe this is not sufficient. Instead, cross-lagged models, which measure all three types of variables at different time points, are necessary for testing mediation. Unfortunately, Asian researchers have again followed the footsteps of the suboptimal practice of time-lagged models. Using computer simulation data and a real-life dataset collected in China, we show that erroneous conclusions may be drawn even when the predictor, the mediator, and outcome variables are measured at different time waves under the time-lagged model. We propose a more appropriate procedure to use the cross-lagged model to test the exact causal ordering among the predictor, the mediator, and the outcome variable.

Keywords

Asian management research Mediation Time-lagged model Cross-lagged model Organizational socialization 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (project number: 71302103). Correspondence concerning this article can be addressed to Ming Yan, Lingnan College, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China, 518129. (86)20 84110515. E-mail: ymnick@live.cn.

References

  1. Ashford, S. J. 1986. Feedback seeking in individual adaptation: A resource perspective. Academy of Management Journal, 29(3): 465–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashford, S. J., & Black, J. S. 1996. Proactivity during organizational entry: A role of desire for control. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81: 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Au, K. 2007. Self-confidence does not come isolated from the environment. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 24(4): 491–496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. 1986. The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(6): 1173–1182.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bauer, T. N., Bodner, T., Erdogan, B., Truxillo, D. M., & Tucker, J. S. 2007. Newcomer adjustment during organizational socialization: A meta-analytic review of antecedents, outcomes, and methods. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(3): 707–721.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berger, C. R., & Calabrese, R. J. 1975. Some explorations in initial interaction and beyond: Toward a developmental theory of interpersonal communication. Human Communication Research, 1: 99–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chow, I. H.-S., Teo, S. T. T., & Chew, I. K.-H. 2013. HRM systems and firm performance: The mediation role of strategic orientation. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 30(1): 53–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cole, D. A., & Maxwell, S. E. 2003. Testing meditational models with longitudinal data: Questions and tips in the use of structural equation modeling. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112: 558–577.Google Scholar
  9. Colquitt, J. A., Piccolo, R. F., LePine, J. A., Zapata, C. P., & Rich, B. L. 2012. Explaining the justice-performance relationship: Trust as exchange deepener or trust as uncertainty reducer?. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(1): 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Gonzalez-Mulé, E., DeGeest, D. S., McCormick, B. W., Seong, J. Y., & Brown, K. G. 2014. Can we get some cooperation around here? The mediating role of group norms on the relationship between team personality and individual helping behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 99(5): 988–999.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Holmbeck, G. N. 1997. Toward terminological, conceptual, and statistical clarity in the study of mediators and moderators: Examples from the child-clinical and pediatric psychology literatures. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 65(4): 599–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hui, L. 2007. Do it right this time: The role of employee service recovery performance in customer-perceived justice and customer loyalty after service failures. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92(2): 475–481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Judd, C. M., & Kenny, D. A. 1981. Process analysis: Estimating mediation in treatment evaluations. Evaluation Research, 5: 602–619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Law, K. S., Wong, C. S., & Huang, G. H. 2005. On the problem of testing mediators using cross-sectional data. Paper presented at the Academy of Management Meeting, Hawaii, August.Google Scholar
  15. Liu, J., Lee, C., Hui, C., Kwan, H. K., & Wu, L. 2013. Idiosyncratic deals and employee outcomes: The mediating roles of social exchange and self-enhancement and the moderating role of individualism. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(5): 832–840.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Louis, M. 1980. Surprise and sense making: What newcomers experience in entering unfamiliar organizational settings. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25: 226–251.Google Scholar
  17. MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. 2002. A comparison of methods to test mediation and other intervening variable effects. Psychological Methods, 7(1): 83–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Malhotra, N. K., Kim, S. S., & Patil, A. 2006. Common method variance in IS research: A comparison of alternative approaches and a reanalysis of past research. Management Science, 52(12): 1865–1883.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Maxwell, S. E., & Cole, D. A. 2007. Bias in cross-sectional analysis of longitudinal mediation. Psychological Methods, 12(1): 23–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Maxwell, S. E., Cole, D. A., & Mitchell, M. A. 2011. Bias in cross-sectional analyses of longitudinal mediation: Partial and complete mediation under a autoregressive model. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 46: 816–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Morrison, E. W. 1993. Newcomer information seeking: Exploring types, modes, sources, and outcomes. Academy of Management Journal, 36: 557–589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ngo, H.-Y., Loi, R., Foley, S., Zheng, X., & Zhang, L. 2013. Perceptions of organizational context and job attitudes: The mediating effect of organizational identification. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 30(1): 149–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., & Podsakoff, N. P. 2012. Sources of method bias in social science research and recommendations on how to control it. Annual Review of Psychology, 65: 539–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Preacher, K. J., & Kelley, K. 2011. Effect size measures for mediation models: Quantitative strategies for communicating indirect effects. Psychological Methods, 16(2): 93–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Roche, M., Haar, J. M., & Luthans, F. 2014. The role of mindfulness and psychological capital on the well-being of leaders. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 19(4): 476–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Rubino, C., Luksyte, A., Perry, S. Y., & Volpone, S. D. 2009. How do stressors lead to burnout? The mediating role of motivation. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 14(3): 289–304.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Rupp, D. E., & Cropanzano, R. 2002. The mediating effects of social exchange relationships in predicting workplace outcomes from multifoci organizational justice. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 89: 925–946.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Saks, A. M., & Ashforth, B. E. 1996. Proactive socialization and behavioral self-management. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 48: 301–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Selig, J. P., & Preacher, K. J. 2009. Mediation models for longitudinal data in development research. Research in Human Development, 6(2–3): 144–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Stone-Romero, E. F., & Rosopa, P. J. 2004. Inference problems with hierarchical multiple regression-based tests of mediating effects. Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, 23: 249–290.Google Scholar
  31. Wanberg, C. R., & Kammeyer-Mueller, J. D. 2000. Predictors and outcomes of proactivity in the socialization process. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85: 373–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. White, S. 2002. Rigor and relevance in Asian management research: Where are we and where can we go?. Asia Pacific Journal of Management, 19(2–3): 287–352.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Williams, L. J., & Anderson, S. E. 1991. Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors of organizational citizenship and in-role behaviors. Journal of Management, 17: 601–617.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhao, X., Lynch, J. G., & Chen, Q. 2010. Reconsidering Baron and Kenny: Myths and truths about mediation analysis. Journal of Consumer Research, 37: 197–206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth S. Law
    • 1
  • Chi-Sum Wong
    • 1
  • Ming Yan
    • 2
    Email author
  • Guohua Huang
    • 3
  1. 1.The Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong
  2. 2.Lingnan CollegeSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.Hong Kong Baptist UniversityKowloon TongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations