As improving the construct validity of measures has been a fundamental concern in management research, we commend Bitektine, Hill, Song, and Vandenberghe (2019) for their efforts to develop and validate individual-level measures for organizational legitimacy, reputation, and status. These measurement instruments undoubtedly will be helpful to advance research on the micro-level antecedents and outcomes of these social evaluations and will prove instructive for the development of measures for related evaluations, such as organizational stigma, and celebrity. However, while we appreciate the authors’ work and contribution to a microfoundational agenda in research on social evaluations, we have some concerns with regard to their measurement approach. Specifically, although Bitektine and colleagues (2019) stress the multi-level nature of social evaluations, they do not translate this insight into a measurement instrument that acknowledges that individual evaluators hold both private judgments (“first-order judgments”) and judgments about the collective-level judgment (i.e., judgments of the judgments of other evaluators in a specific reference group, or “second-order judgments”). These two types of individual judgments reflect different facets of social evaluations and have different effects on individual behavior, and thus researchers need to avoid conflating them within a measurement instrument. Our commentary seeks to complement the approach of Bitektine and colleagues (2019) by sensitizing readers to the distinction between first-order and second-order judgments and by developing recommendations for future scale development efforts. These recommendations are given in a spirit of collegiality and with an understanding that progress in social evaluation research requires the concerted effort of many researchers over many years.
|Journal||Academy of Management Discoveries|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|