Common-method variance

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In applied statistics, (e.g., applied to the social sciences and psychometrics), common-method variance (CMV) is the spurious "variance that is attributable to the measurement method rather than to the constructs the measures are assumed to represent"[1] or equivalently as "systematic error variance shared among variables measured with and introduced as a function of the same method and/or source".[2] If measures are affected by CMV or common-method bias, the intercorrelations among them can be inflated or deflated depending upon several factors.[3] Although it is sometimes assumed that CMV affects all variables, evidence suggests that whether or not the correlation between two variables is affected by CMV is a function of both the method and the particular constructs being measured.[4]


Ex-ante remedies[edit]

Several ex ante remedies exist that help to avoid or minimize possible common method variance. Important remedies have been collected by Chang et al. (2010).[5]

Ex-post remedies[edit]

Using simulated data sets, Richardson et al. (2009) investigate three ex post techniques to test for common method variance: the correlational marker technique, the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) marker technique, and the unmeasured latent method construct (ULMC) technique. Only the CFA marker technique turns out to provide some value.[2] A comprehensive example of this technique has been demonstrated by Williams et al. (2010).[6]


  1. ^ Podsakoff, P.M.; MacKenzie, S.B.; Lee, J.-Y.; Podsakoff, N.P. (October 2003). "Common method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and recommended remedies" (PDF). Journal of Applied Psychology 88 (5): 879–903. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.88.5.879. PMID 14516251. 
  2. ^ a b Richardson, H.A.; Simmering, M.J.; Sturman, M.C. (October 2009). "A tale of three perspectives: Examining post hoc statistical techniques for detection and correction of common method variance". Organizational Research Methods 12 (4): 762–800. doi:10.1177/1094428109332834. 
  3. ^ Williams, L. J., & Brown, B. K. (1994). Method variance in organizational behavior and human resources research: Effects on correlations, path coefficients, and hypothesis testing. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 57(2), 185-209.
  4. ^ Spector, P. E. (2006). Method Variance in Organizational Research: Truth or Urban Legend? Organizational Research Methods, 9(2), 221-232. doi:
  5. ^ Chang, S.-J.; van Witteloostuijn, A.; Eden, L. (2010). "Common method variance in international business research". Journal of International Business Studies 41: 178–184. doi:10.1057/jibs.2009.88. 
  6. ^ L.J.; N.; F. (July 2010). "Method variance and marker variables: A review and comprehensive CFA marker technique". Organizational Research Methods 13 (3): 477–514. doi:10.1177/1094428110366036. 

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