Construct Validity in Survey‐Based Management Accounting and Control Research

51 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2017 Last revised: 22 Nov 2017

See all articles by David S. Bedford

David S. Bedford

University of Technology Sydney (UTS)

Roland F. Spekle

Nyenrode Business University

Date Written: November 1, 2017


The capacity for survey-based research to advance theoretical knowledge is heavily dependent on the degree to which the measures used capture the constructs that they are intended to represent. Despite the importance of construct validity, management accounting and control (MAC) literature tends to devote less attention to construct validity than other areas of organizational research. In this paper, we discuss contemporary thinking about construct validity and examine how this compares to established practice in MAC research through a systematic review of survey studies from 1996 to 2015. Based on this review, we identify four areas where greater attention is warranted: specifying construct dimensionality, justifying the choice of the measurement model, distinguishing between causal indicators and composite indicators in formative measurement models, and being judicious in the use of single item measures. We discuss the implications of each issue and provide suggestions on how they can be addressed.

Keywords: Survey Method, Management Accounting, Management Control, Construct Measurement, Construct Validity

JEL Classification: M41

Suggested Citation

Bedford, David S. and Spekle, Roland F., Construct Validity in Survey‐Based Management Accounting and Control Research (November 1, 2017). AAA 2018 Management Accounting Section (MAS) Meeting, Available at SSRN: or

David S. Bedford

University of Technology Sydney (UTS) ( email )

15 Broadway, Ultimo
PO Box 123
Sydney, NSW 2007

Roland F. Spekle (Contact Author)

Nyenrode Business University ( email )

Straatweg 25
P.O. Box 130
Breukelen, 3620 AC

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