Use of path analysis in industrial/organizational psychology: Criticisms and suggestions

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Path analysis or structural equation modeling is a technique for testing the consequences of proposed causal relationships among a set of variables. The technique rests on specific procedures and important assumptions (uncorrelated residuals, 1-way causality, linearity, additivity, interval measures). These assumptions, along with the problem of multicollinearity, are discussed, and specific techniques are offered to deal with them. Path analysis studies from the industrial/organizational psychology literature are reviewed to illustrate the specific consequences of disregarding these assumptions and procedures. The relationship between cross-lagged correlation and path analysis is explored, particularly with regard to the differing but complementary purposes of each. Finally, the problems due to both shared and random measurement error and the application of path analysis to experiments are discussed. (37 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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