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PLS-SEM’s most wanted guidance

Jan-Michael Becker (Department of Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)
Jun-Hwa Cheah (Department of Management and Marketing, School of Business and Economics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia)
Rasoul Gholamzade (Department of Business Management, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Islamic Republic of Iran)
Christian M. Ringle (Department of Management Sciences and Technology, Hamburg University of Technology, Hamburg, Germany)
Marko Sarstedt (LMU Munich School of Management, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany and Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Babeș-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 25 August 2022

Issue publication date: 2 January 2023




Partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) has attracted much attention from both methodological and applied researchers in various disciplines – also in hospitality management research. As PLS-SEM is relatively new compared to other multivariate analysis techniques, there are still numerous open questions and uncertainties in its application. This study aims to address this important issue by offering guidance regarding its use in contexts with which researchers struggle.


The authors examine the most prominent questions and answers posed in a well-known PLS-SEM discussion forum. The authors do so by using a text analysis technique to identify the most salient topics.


The data analysis identifies three salient PLS-SEM topics (i.e. bootstrapping and significance testing, higher-order constructs and moderation).

Research limitations/implications

The results allow us to address the PLS-SEM community’s main methodological issues. The authors discuss each area separately and provide explanations and guidelines.

Practical implications

The guidelines on the most important PLS-SEM topics provide decision-making and application aids. In this way, the authors make a decisive contribution to clarifying ambiguities when applying the PLS-SEM method in hospitality management research and other disciplines.


There has as yet been no systematic analysis of this kind in the field of PLS-SEM; the authors, therefore, present the first research results. The findings and recommendations provide guidance for PLS-SEM applications in hospitality research and practice.



This manuscript uses the SmartPLS 4 statistical software (; Becker and Ringle acknowledge that they have a financial interest in SmartPLS.


Becker, J.-M., Cheah, J.-H., Gholamzade, R., Ringle, C.M. and Sarstedt, M. (2023), "PLS-SEM’s most wanted guidance", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 321-346.



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