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Operationalization

Developing research procedures


resulting in empirical observations

Topics for this Chapter

Refresher
Choices in operationalization
Indexes and scales
Index construction
Scale construction

Conceptualization
Conceptualization
Nominal definition
Operational definition
Measurements in organizations

Refresher

Conceptualization:

Refining and specifying concepts

Operationalization:

Developing specific research procedures


that will result in empirical observations
representing these concepts in
organizations

Choices in Operationalization

Range variation

Variations between extremes

Look at the concept and employees


being studied
Precision?
Rather too much combine later

Dimensions (E.g. Think vs Feel]


Levels of measurement
Single or multiple indicators

Range in Variation

Examples:

Should America go to war? [Yes / No]

Range depends on:

Variables under study.


Research purpose.
Expected distribution of attributes.

Levels of Measurement

Variable

Example

Qualities of variables:

Attributes

Exhaustive
Mutually exclusive

Can convert higher-level measure to


a lower-level measure

Reverse is not possible

Levels of Measurement (cont.)

Nominal scales

Exhaustive & Mutually exclusive


Distance between them is irrelevant

Ordinal scales

Rank-order
More, less, or the same

Levels of Measurement (cont.)

Interval scales

Ratio scales

Distance has meaning


Just IQ?
0 has meaning
Twice as, etc.

Levels of measurement determine


statistics to be used

Levels of Measurement (cont.)


Ratio
Interval
Ordinal
Nominal

Indexes and Scales

Indexes and scales are composite


measures of variables
Used in survey research &
quantitative methods

Not always possible to have a single


indicator before study
Single data item Index or scale from
multiple items
Simplifies data analysis data reduction

Indexes and Scales (cont.)

Common Characteristics:

Measure at ordinal level


Composite measures based on more
than one data item

Differences (Fig. 6.2, p138):

Index = accumulation of scores assigned


to individual attributes
Scale = assignment of scores to patterns
of responses (intensity structure)

Index Construction

Item selection
Bivariate relations
Multivariate relations
Index scoring

Range of variation
Weights (Equal or Differential)

Handling missing data


Index validation

Item selection

Face validity
Uni-dimensionality

General or Specific

Represent only 1 dimension


Depends on the nature of the items

Variance

Item must distinguish between groups


Items differing in variance

Bivariate Relationships

Should give us a clue as to how


respondents will answer other
questions

Percentage tables
Correlation coefficients

Drop items that are not related to


one another empirically

Job-related Depression Index

Index comprises of the following four


items:
1.
2.
3.

4.

I feel downhearted and blue.


I get tired for no reason.
I find myself restless and cant keep
still.
I am more irritable than usual.

Handling Missing Data

Three possible solutions:

Relatively few cases with missing data


exclude them
Treat missing data as one of the
available responses
Interpret meaning of missing data

Index Validation

Demonstrates success of index


Scores on composite index arrange
cases in a rank-order i.t.o. variable

Item analysis (internal validation)

Index in relation to items (see p.149)

External validation
Bad index vs Bad validators

Scale construction

Indexes provide an ordinal ranking of


cases on a given variable
Indexes may not take into account
that

Not all indicators of a variable are


equally important/strong

Use four different scaling techniques


to tap ordinality

Scale Construction

Bogardus social distance scale


Thurstone scales

Use judges/experts to estimate the


strength of items as indicators
Updated periodically

Likert scaling
Semantic differential

Scale Construction (cont.)

Guttman scaling

Anyone who gives a strong indicator of


some variable will also give the weaker
indicators
Coefficient of reproducibility
A set of items form a Guttman scale
among a sample of survey respondents
Differ from sample to sample

Bogardus Social Distance Scale


1.
2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

Would you exclude X from your company?


Would you admit X as visitors only to your
company?
Would you admit X as employees in your
company?
Would you admit X as employees in your
profession?
Would you admit X as an employee
working in your department?
Would you admit X as your 2IC?

Variables and Attributes

Operationalization is the process of


specifying variables and the attributes
comprising them
Gender

Qualification

Male or Female
Matric; Bachelors; Masters; Doctorate

Administrative department

HR; Finance; Marketing; Operations

Likert Scaling
The internet is superior to traditional
libraries for comprehensive searches
SA
1

SD

Semantic Differential Scaling

Measures psychological meanings of


an attitude object

Feelings about Organizational Change


Enjoyable - - - - - - Simple
------Slow
-------

Unenjoyable
Complex
Fast