Control Variables in Management Research

by

Guclu Atinc, and Marcia J. Simmering, both of Louisiana Tech University, and Mark J. Kroll, University of Texas at Brownsville, collaborated on “Control Variable Use and Reporting in Macro and Micro Management Research,” published online first in Organizational Research Methods.

Professor Atinc provided some background information on the article.

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience for this article is researchers of organizational, behavioral and social sciences. The article is written primarily for those conducting academic research. Although the article compares the use of control variables in macro and micro management, it is generalizable to other fields.

What inspired you to be interested in this topic?

This paper started as a class paper for a doctoral seminar in research methods. We recognized that, use of control variables in Management research is widely popular. However, there is not enough work done in academia to set the standards for this practice. We aimed to fill this gap.

Were there findings that were surprising to you?

The findings were definitely surprising. We found that, the majority of the studies did not make proper use of control variables.

How do you see this study influencing future research and/or practice?

We believe it is going to direct attention to the proper use of control variables in organizational research.

How does this study fit into your body of work/line of research?

One of our purposes as organizational researchers is to contribute to the way research is conducted in our field. We believe our study serves that purpose.

How did your paper change during the review process?

The three anonymous reviewers and the action editor of Organizational Research Methods provided us with very valuable comments and recommendations. In fact, based on the reviews we received, we extended our sample, strengthen our criterion for analysis and revised our statistical methods. The quality of our paper increased dramatically based on the insightful comments we received during the review process.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you could go back and do this study again?

Most of what we should have done at the first place were identified by the reviewers during the review process. Thus, we believe we did what we were asked to do and met the high quality requirements of Organizational Research Methods. However, we could have used a larger sample size and a more broad set of criteria initially so that the review process could have been easier for both parties (authors and reviewers).

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