Is Formative Measurement Really Measurement? Reply to Bollen (2007) and Bagozzi (2007)

Roy D. Howell, Einar Breivik, James B. Wilcox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


R. D. Howell, E. Breivik, and J. B. Wilcox (2007) examined the use of formative measurement models in theory testing in the social sciences. K. A. Bollen (2007) and R. P. Bagozzi (2007) have provided comments on this work. In this article, the authors reply to the commentators and suggest that the conclusions reached in the original article and the basis for those conclusions remain sound. They address the issue of misspecification raised by Bollen (2007) and the alternative to their realist philosophy of measurement offered by Bagozzi (2007). They conclude that misspecification as construed by Bollen (2007) will typically be undetectable in practice and cannot be distinguished from interpretational confounding. This can result in substantively different constructs retaining the same name from study to study, hindering the accumulation of knowledge. They further conclude that traditional reflective measurement is a better option for researchers in theory testing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-245
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • formative measurement
  • latent variables
  • reflective measurement
  • structural equation models


Dive into the research topics of 'Is Formative Measurement Really Measurement? Reply to Bollen (2007) and Bagozzi (2007)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this