Justifying Aggregation with Consensus-Based Constructs: A Review and Examination of Cutoff Values for Common Aggregation Indices

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Organizational Research Methods




Management researchers often use consensus-based composition models to examine the antecedents and effects of higher-level constructs. Typically, researchers present three indices, rwg, ICC(1), and ICC(2), to demonstrate agreement and consistency among lower-level units when justifying aggregation. Nevertheless, researchers debate what values for these indices are sufficient. This study examines the distributional characteristics of ICCs and rwg values from three sources: the multilevel literature, a large multinational sample of student teams, and a large sample of randomly generated “pseudo teams.” Our results support existing cutoff criteria for ICCs but suggest that generally accepted values for rwg may, under certain circumstances, reflect pseudo-agreement (i.e., agreement observed among two raters not attributable to the same target). Thus, when there is minimal between-group variance (i.e., low ICCs), it is difficult to determine whether high rwg values reflect agreement or pseudo-agreement. Based on these findings, we provide recommendations to help researchers interpret aggregation indices.