Meta Analysis

The OB Mod-task performance review den by these researchers illustrates the use of meta-analysis, a quantitative form of literature review that enables researchers to look at validity findings from a comprehensive se of individual studies, and then apply a formula to them to determine if they consistently produced similar results. If results prove to be consistent, it allows researcher to conclude more confidently that validity is general. Meta analysis is a means for overcoming the potentially imprecise interpretations of qualitative reviews and to synthesize variations in quantitative studies. In addition, the technique enables researchers to identify potential moderating variables between an independent and a dependent variable.

In the past 25 years, there has been a surge in the popularity of this research method. Why? It appears to offer a more objective means for doing traditional literature reviews. Although the use meta-analysis requires researchers to make a number of Judgment calls, which can introduce a considerable amount of subjectivity into the process, there is no arguing that meta-analysis reviews have now become widespread in the OB literature.

Ethics in Research:

Researchers are not always tactful or candid with subjects when they do their studies. For instance, questions in field surveys may be perceived as embarrassing by respondents or as an invasion of privacy. Also, researchers’ laboratory studies have been known to deceive participants about the true purpose of their experiment because they felt deception was necessary to get honest responses.

The learning experiments conducted more than 30 years ago, have been widely criticized by psychologists on ethical grounds. The Researcher lied to subjects telling his study was investigating learning, when in fact he was concerned with obedience. The shock machine he used was a fake. Even the learner was an accomplice of the researcher who had been trained to act as of he were hurt and in pain. Yet ethical lapse continue. For instance, in 2001 a professor of organizational behavior as Columbia University sent out a common letter on university letterhead to 240 New York City restaurants in which he detailed how he had eaten at this restaurant with his wife in celebration of their wedding anniversary, how he had gotten food poisoning and that he had spent the night in his bathroom throwing up. The letter closed with: Although it is not my intention to file any report with the Better Business bureau or the Department of health, I want you to understand what I went through in anticipation that you will respond accordingly. I await your response. The fictitious letter was part of the professor’s study to determine how restaurants responded to complaints. But it created culinary chaos among many of the restaurant owners, managers and chefs as they reviewed menus and produce deliveries for possibly spoiled food, and questioned kitchen workers about possible lapses. A follow-up letter of apology from the University for an “Egregious Error in judgment buy a junior faculty member” did little to offset the distress it created for those affected.

Professionals associations like the American Psychological Associations, the American Sociological Association, and the Academy of Management have published formal guidelines for the conduct of research. Yet the ethical debate continues. On one side are those who argue that strict ethical controls can damage the scientific validity of an experiment and cripple future research. Deception, for example is often necessary to avoid contaminating results. Moreover, proponents of minimizing ethical controls note that few subjects have been appreciably harmed by deceptive experiments. Even in highly manipulative experiments only 1.3 percent of the subjects reported negative feelings about their experience. The other side of this debate focuses on the rights of participants. Those favoring strict ethical controls argue that no procedure should ever be emotionally or physically distressing to subjects and that as professional’s researchers are obliged to be completely honest with their subjects and to protect the subjects’ privacy at all costs.

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