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Natural Experiments in Leadership Research: An Introduction, Review, and Guidelines

Santoni, S. ORCID: 0000-0002-5928-3901 and Sieweke, J. (2019). Natural Experiments in Leadership Research: An Introduction, Review, and Guidelines. The Leadership Quarterly, 101338.. doi: 10.​1016/​j.​leaqua.​2019.​101338


Endogeneity is a serious challenge for leadership research. To overcome the problem, researchers increasingly rely upon experimental designs, such as laboratory and field experiments. In this paper, we argue that natural experiments—in the form of standard natural experiments, instrumental variable, and regression discontinuity designs—offer additional opportunities to infer causal relationships. We conduct a systematic, cross-disciplinary review of 87 studies that leverage natural experimental designs to inquire into a leadership topic. We introduce the standard natural experiment, instrumental variable, and regression discontinuity design and use topic modelling to analyse which leadership topics have been investigated using natural experimental designs. Based on the review, we provide guidelines that we hope will assist scholars in discovering natural exogenous variations, selecting the most suitable form of natural experiment and by mobilizing appropriate statistical techniques and robustness checks. The paper is addressed to leadership and management scholars who aim to use natural experiments to infer causal relationships.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © Elsevier 2019. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Publisher Keywords: causal inference; leadership; instrumental variable design; natural experiment; regression discontinuity design; topic moeling
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Departments: Business School > Management
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2019 08:41
[img] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 12 June 2021 due to copyright restrictions.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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