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Reflective and composite scales in tourism and hospitality research: revising the scale development procedure

S. Mostafa Rasoolimanesh (Centre for Research and Innovation in Tourism (CRiT), Taylor's University, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Faizan Ali (School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Muma College of Business, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida, USA)
Josip Mikulić (Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, Institute for Tourism, Zagreb, Croatia)
Seden Dogan (Department of Tourism Guidance, Faculty of Tourism, Ondokuz Mayis University, Samsun, Turkey)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 19 September 2022

Issue publication date: 27 January 2023




The purpose of this paper is to critically review and synthesize the scale development practices in hospitality and tourism and propose updated guidelines applicable for both reflective and composite scales.


Using a critical review of a sample of scale development papers published in six top-tier tourism and hospitality journals, the current guidelines' weaknesses and strengths and their applications are identified. Updated procedures are proposed to overcome these weaknesses.


This review showed several issues in applying existing guidelines, including incomplete and unclear data collection processes, inconsistent data analysis processes including validity/reliability assessment and lack of criteria to identify and assess composite scales. As such, this paper proposes updated guidelines by incorporating the confirmatory composite analysis to assess composite scales.


This paper offers unique theoretical and methodological contributions to scale development literature, by identifying the shortcomings of current practices of scale development and propose guidelines for both reflective and composite scales. The current scale development procedures cannot be applied for composite scales, and so the results of composite scale development using the current procedures are questionable. The updated guidelines by the current study improve new scales' accuracy, reliability and validity.



The authors would like to extend their appreciation to the Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia to fund this paper under the Fundamental Research Grant Scheme, 2019 (Grant number FRGS/1/2019/WAB12/TAYLOR/02/1).


Rasoolimanesh, S.M., Ali, F., Mikulić, J. and Dogan, S. (2023), "Reflective and composite scales in tourism and hospitality research: revising the scale development procedure", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 35 No. 2, pp. 589-601.



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