k-Centres Functional Clustering: A Person-Centered Approach to Modeling Complex Nonlinear Growth Trajectories

Joeri Hofmans*, Tim Vantilborgh, Omar N. Solinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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In the present paper, we introduce k-centres functional clustering (k-centres FC), a person-centered method that clusters people with similar patterns of complex, highly nonlinear change over time. We review fundamentals of the methodology and argue how it addresses some of the limitations of the traditional approaches to modeling repeated measures data. The usefulness of k-centres FC is demonstrated by applying the method to weekly measured commitment data from 109 participants who reported psychological contract breach events. The k-centres FC analysis shows two substantively meaningful clusters, the first cluster showing reaction patterns with general growth in commitment after breach and the second cluster showing general decline in commitment after breach. Further, the reaction patterns in the second cluster appear to be the result of a combination of two interesting reaction logics: immediate and delayed reactions. We conclude by outlining how future organizational research can incorporate this methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-930
Number of pages26
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number4
Early online date17 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018


  • functional clustering
  • functional data analysis
  • functional principal component analysis
  • organizational commitment
  • psychological contract breach


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