Construct Mixology: Forming New Management Constructs by Combining Old Ones

Daniel A. Newman, David A. Harrison, Nichelle C. Carpenter, Shannon M. Rariden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Abstract: We review the practice of building new psychological constructs by combining older constructs (a process we refer to as construct mixology), with a focus on the impact, methodology, and substantive knowledge implications of this practice. Our review suggests that some of the most influential micro-level constructs in the field of management are either new compound constructs or old constituent constructs that have been used in some form of mixology. Furthermore, we review a range of methodological approaches that researchers have employed when conducting construct mixology over the last 30 years. These strategies range from disavowing the role of the constituent constructs to explicitly acknowledging and modeling the relationships between constituent constructs and their corresponding (superordinate) compound constructs. The scientific consequences of these approaches include both unrecognized redundancy (reinventing the wheel, or confirming classic findings without realizing it) and heightened explanatory power (resulting from using broad compound constructs). To illustrate the variation of methods and implications, we review several exemplars of compound constructs that have enjoyed popularity in OB/HR, including work engagement, emotional intelligence, organizational commitment, and core self-evaluations. We also highlight seven cardinal construct domains that are often sampled during construct mixology. Prescriptions for future construct mixology efforts are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-995
Number of pages53
JournalAcademy of Management Annals
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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