Research makes you a better practitioner. Start by learning the lingo.

What is a construct?

Everything starts as a concept. Once you figure out how to measure this concept, perhaps with some form of survey measure, it becomes a construct. If you want to understand organizational behavior, you first need to pin down the appropriate construct of interest. Clear definition and sound measurement is the first step.

What is a correlation?

Once you have two constructs, you can begin to see whether and how they are related. This is the correlation. Everything we know about organizational behavior starts with correlations and then progressively gets more complicated. One key reminder…correlation is not the same as causation.

What is a moderator?

When people respond with “it depends,” in essence, they are saying that there is a moderator involved. A moderator determines the nature of a relationship between two variables. Transformational leadership is great, but it only works in certain organizational structures (it works in organic structures, but not mechanistic structures). Organizational structure, in this example, is the moderator.

Define your concepts, see what’s related, and then figure out when these relationships hold.

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