Construct validation in leadership research: Explication and illustration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The field of leadership typically employs constructs—variables that cannot be directly measured—in its research. Yet, our measures are rarely subjected to systematic assessment of their construct validity. This paper presents arguments about the importance of the construct validation process and illustrates why such concerns are well founded by examining the most commonly used measure of subordinate-perceived leader–member exchange, the LMX-7 scale. Using bakery workers (N = 379) and employed MBA students (N = 350), discriminant validity was investigated by exploratory factor analysis in the first sample, confirmatory factor analysis in the second sample, and correlation and multiple regression analysis in a subset of the second sample (N = 220). The results suggested poor subordinate LMX-7 discriminant validity and that subordinate LMX-7 scores were substantially predicted by measures of supportive leadership and supervisor satisfaction (R2 = .71). Implications for future LMX theory
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-736
JournalLeadership Quarterly
StatePublished - Aug 4 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'Construct validation in leadership research: Explication and illustration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this