Journal Articles

The Dangers of Poor Construct Conceptualization

2003, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science

Scott B. MacKenzie


Most authors give a great deal of consideration to questions of internal and external validity, but far less to issues related to construct and statistical conclusion validity. The downward spiral for many manuscripts begins with the failure to adequately define the focal constructs of the study. This fundamental failure produces a series of subsequent problems: 1. Because the construct was never defined, it is difficult to develop measures that faithfully represent its domain. 2. This failure makes it difficult to specify how the construct should relate to its measures. 3. Inadequate construct definition undermines the credibility of a study's hypotheses. To break this cycle, researchers should carefully define the constructs of interest, develop measures that adequately represent the constructs of interest, think carefully about the relations between the constructs and the measures, and defend the construct domain and insist on the conceptually appropriate measurement model.


MacKenzie, Scott B. (2003), “The Dangers of Poor Construct Conceptualization,” Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 31, No. 3, pp. 323-326.  Reprinted in: Naresh K. Malhotra (ed.) (2007), Fundamentals of Marketing Research, Vol. 3, Sage Publications.