Construct validity in survey-based management accounting and control research

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Journal Article
Journal of Management Accounting Research, 2018, 30 (2), pp. 23 - 58
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© 2018, American Accounting Association. All rights reserved. The capacity for survey-based research to advance theoretical knowledge is heavily dependent on the degree to which the measures used capture the constructs that they are intended to represent. Despite the importance of construct validity, the management accounting and control (MAC) literature tends to devote less attention to construct validity than other areas of organizational research. In this article, we discuss contemporary thinking about construct validity and examine how this compares to established practice in MAC research through a systematic review of survey studies from 1996 to 2015. Based on this review, we identify four areas where greater attention is warranted: specifying construct dimensionality, justifying the choice of the measurement model, distinguishing between causal indicators and composite indicators in formative measurement models, and being judicious in the use of single item measures. We discuss the implications of each issue and provide suggestions on how they can be addressed.
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