Within-Group Agreement (rWG): Two Theoretical Parameters and their Estimators

Daniel A. Newman, Hock Peng Sin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When measuring group-level psychological properties (e.g., organizational climate, leadership, team motivation), researchers typically aggregate individual perceptions to represent the group. L. R. James provided the groundbreaking insight that, in order to justify aggregating individual perceptions to represent a group-level property, one must first establish that there exist shared perceptions—or shared psychological meaning—within the group. Here we label and describe two distinct theoretical parameters that can both be used to define within-group agreement: (a) ψWG (i.e., a parameter that defines within-group agreement as Individual True-Score Consensus), which arises from the theoretical work of L. R. James and colleagues in the 1970s, and (b) ρWG (i.e., a parameter that treats within-group agreement as a Group True-Score Reliability Analog), which forms the theoretical basis for the rWG(J) index. We extend the work of L. R. James by offering a systematic comparison of different estimators of the two within-group agreement parameters (ψWG and ρWG). Recommendations are provided for estimating within-group agreement, to continue the legacy of justified measurement of group-level psychological properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-64
Number of pages35
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • aggregation
  • multilevel modeling
  • r
  • within-group agreement
  • ψ

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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