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date: 25 June 2022

Mediation: Causal Mechanisms in Business and Managementlocked

Mediation: Causal Mechanisms in Business and Managementlocked

  • Patrick J. Rosopa, Patrick J. RosopaDepartment of Psychology, Clemson University
  • Phoebe XoxakosPhoebe XoxakosDepartment of Psychology, Clemson University
  •  and Coleton KingColeton KingDepartment of Psychology, Clemson University

Summary

Mediation refers to causation. Tests for mediation are common in business, management, and related fields. In the simplest mediation model, a researcher asserts that a treatment causes a mediator and that the mediator causes an outcome. For example, a practitioner might examine whether diversity training increases awareness of stereotypes, which, in turn, improves inclusive climate perceptions. Because mediation inferences are causal inferences, it is important to demonstrate that the cause actually precedes the effect, the cause and effect covary, and rival explanations for the causal effect can be ruled out.

Although various experimental designs for testing mediation hypotheses are available, single randomized experiments and two randomized experiments provide the strongest evidence for inferring mediation compared with nonexperimental designs, where selection bias and a multitude of confounding variables can make causal interpretations difficult. In addition to experimental designs, traditional statistical approaches for testing mediation include causal steps, difference in coefficients, and product of coefficients. Of the traditional approaches, the causal steps method tends to have low statistical power; the product of coefficients method tends to provide adequate power. Bootstrapping can improve the performance of these tests for mediation. The general causal mediation framework offers a modern approach to testing for causal mechanisms. The general causal mediation framework is flexible. The treatment, mediator, and outcome can be categorical or continuous. The general framework not only incorporates experimental designs (e.g., single randomized experiments, two randomized experiments) but also allows for a variety of statistical models and complex functional forms.

Subjects

  • Human Resource Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Research Methods

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