Jeffrey R. Edwards
University of North Carolina
A theory comprises two sets of relationships, one that links constructs that constitute the substance of the theory, and another that maps constructs onto phenomena that can be directly observed and measured (Bagozzi & Phillips, 1982; Costner, 1969). In organizational behavior (OB) research, theory development emphasizes relationships among constructs but devotes relatively little attention to relationships between constructs and measures (Schwab, 1980). These latter relationships are crucial to theory development, because they provide the means by which constructs become accessible to empirical research and theories are rendered testable. Moreover, because the relationships between constructs and measures are integral to a theory, theory testing is incomplete unless these relationships are scrutinized. Thus, the relationships between constructs and measures constitute an auxiliary theory that itself is subject to empirical testing and falsification (Costner, 1969; Cronbach & Meehl, 1955; Schwab, 1980).
Relationships between constructs and measures are the essence of construct validity. At its most fundamental level, construct validity concerns the degree to which a measure captures its intended theoretical construct (Cronbach & Meehl, 1955). Although the notion of construct validity is straightforward, procedures used to assess construct validity are complex