Title

HARKing's Threat to Organizational Research: Evidence From Primary and Meta-Analytic Sources

Abstract

We assessed presumed consequences of hypothesizing after results are known (HARKing) by contrasting hypothesized versus nonhypothesized effect sizes among 10 common relations in organizational behavior, human resource management, and industrial and organizational psychology research. In Study 1, we analyzed 247 correlations representing 9 relations with individual performance in 136 articles published in Journal of Applied Psychology and Personnel Psychology and provide evidence that correlations are significantly larger when hypothesized compared to nonhypothesized. In Study 2, we analyzed 281 effect sizes from a meta-analysis on the job satisfaction–job performance relation and provide evidence that correlations are significantly larger when hypothesized compared to nonhypothesized. In addition, in Study 2, we documented that hypothesized variable pairs are more likely to be mentioned in article titles or abstracts. We also ruled out 13 alternative explanations to the presumed HARKing effect pertaining to methodological (e.g., unreliability, publication year, research setting, research design, measure contextualization, publication source) and substantive (e.g., predictor–performance pair, performance measure, satisfaction measure, occupation, job/task complexity) issues. Our results suggest that HARKing seems to pose a threat to research results, substantive conclusions, and practical applications. We offer recommended solutions to the HARKing threat.

Publication Title

Personnel Psychology

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