Asian researchers should be more critical: The example of testing mediators using time-lagged data
- 588 Downloads
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.
KeywordsAsian management research Mediation Time-lagged model Cross-lagged model Organizational socialization
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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
- 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
- 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
- Louis, M. 1980. Surprise and sense making: What newcomers experience in entering unfamiliar organizational settings. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25: 226–251.Google Scholar
- 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