“More than Meets the Eye”: A Guide to Interpreting the Descriptive Statistics and Correlation Matrices Reported in Management Research

Arthur G. Bedeian


The author of this essay wonders whether in teaching our students the latest analytic techniques we have neglected to emphasize the importance of understanding the most basic aspects of a study’s primary data. In response, he provides a 12-part answer to a fundamental question: “What information can be derived from reviewing the descriptive statistics and correlation matrix that appear in virtually every empirically based, nonexperimental paper published in the management discipline?” The seeming ubiquity of strained responses, to what many at first consider to be a vexed question about a mundane topic, leads the author to suggest that students at all levels, seasoned scholars, manuscript referees, and general consumers of management research may be unaware that the standard Table 1 in a traditional Results section reveals “more than meets the eye!”


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