When two factors don't reflect two constructs: how item characteristics can produce artifactual factors

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Journal of Management, ISSN: 0149-2063, Vol: 23, Issue: 5, Page: 659-677

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Paul E. Spector
Repository URL:
10.1016/s0149-2063(97)90020-9; 10.1177/014920639702300503
Spector, Paul E.; Van Katwyk, Paul T.; Brannick, Michael T.; Chen, Peter Y.
SAGE Publications
Economics, Econometrics and Finance; Business, Management and Accounting; Psychology
article description
Factor analyses of scales that contain items written in opposite directions sometimes show two factors, each of which contains items written in only one direction. Such item direction factors have been found in scales of affect and personality that have been used in organizational research. We discuss how patterns of subject responses to items that vary in direction and extremity can produce an artifactual two factor structure in the absence of multiple constructs. Response patterns are demonstrated in Study 1 with job satisfaction data gathered from employed subjects. The production of two factors is illustrated in Study 2 with simulated data based on item response characteristic equations.