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Accounting for Uncertainty in the Measurement of Unobservable Marketing Phenomena

aGeorgia State University, Georgia
bLudwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Germany

Measurement in Marketing

ISBN: 978-1-80043-631-2, eISBN: 978-1-80043-630-5

Publication date: 12 September 2022


The assumption that a set of observed variables is a function of an underlying common factor plus some error has dominated measurement in marketing and the social sciences in general for decades. This view of measurement comes with assumptions, which, however, are rarely discussed in research. In this article, we question the legitimacy of several of these assumptions, arguing that (1) the common factor model is rarely correct in the population, (2) the common factor does not correspond to the quantity the researcher intends to measure, and (3) the measurement error does not fully capture the uncertainty associated with measurement. Our discussions call for a fundamental rethinking of measurement in the social sciences. Adapting an uncertainty-centric approach to measurement, which has become the norm in in the physical sciences, offers a means to address the limitations of current measurement practice in marketing.



Rigdon, E.E. and Sarstedt, M. (2022), "Accounting for Uncertainty in the Measurement of Unobservable Marketing Phenomena", Baumgartner, H. and Weijters, B. (Ed.) Measurement in Marketing (Review of Marketing Research, Vol. 19), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 53-73.



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