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In pursuit of causality in leadership training research : a review and pragmatic recommendations.

Martin, R. and Hughes, D. J. and Epitropaki, O. and Thomas, G. (2021) 'In pursuit of causality in leadership training research : a review and pragmatic recommendations.', The leadership quarterly., 32 (5). p. 101375.


Although research shows a reliable association between leadership training and positive organizational outcomes, a range of research design issues mean we do not know to what degree the former causes the later. Accordingly, the paper has two main aims. First, to describe the conditions necessary to determine causality in leadership training research and the ability of different research designs to achieve this. Six important, but often ignored, issues associated with determining causality are described (control conditions, sample representation, condition randomization, condition independence, temporal design, and author involvement). Second, to review the extent to which the leadership training literature is able to demonstrate causality. The review shows that the majority of studies do not meet many of the criteria, even the most basic criteria, required to establish causality. Finally, we provide guidelines for designing future research to improve causal identification and is capable of generating meaningful theory and policy recommendations.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2020 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:11 December 2019
Date deposited:29 December 2019
Date of first online publication:07 January 2020
Date first made open access:07 July 2021

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