Mega-correction appears for Florida leadership scholar Walumbwa following six retractions

Fred Walumbwa, via FIU
Fred Walumbwa, via FIU

Fred Walumbwa, the leadership researcher at Florida International University who has retracted six papers for what appear to be problematic data, now has an impressive mega-correction in the form of an “addendum.”

The paper, “Relationships between Authentic Leadership, Moral Courage, and Ethical and Pro-Social Behaviors,” was published in Business Ethics Quarterly in October 2011, by Walumbwa and two colleagues, Sean Hannah and Bruce Avolio.

Here’s the abstract for the paper, which has been cited 18 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge:

Organizations constitute morally-complex environments, requiring organization members to possess levels of moral courage sufficient to promote their ethical action, while refraining from unethical actions when faced with temptations or pressures. Using a sample drawn from a military context, we explored the antecedents and consequences of moral courage. Results from this four-month field study demonstrated that authentic leadership was positively related to followers’ displays of moral courage. Further, followers’ moral courage fully mediated the effects of authentic leadership on followers’ ethical and pro-social behaviors. Theoretical and practical implications for further integrating the work on moral courage, authentic leadership and ethics are discussed.

The addendum, which was issued in June 2014, is long enough — 650 words — to have its own abstract (and is also behind a paywall):

The authors provide this addendum to the following article to provide corrections to the results reported and further explanation of the structural equation modeling techniques utilized …

And how! The first paragraph refers to three errors, the second elaborates on a model the authors used, and the last two describe new tests performed, and their results.

Hannah, the Tylee Wilson Chair of Business Ethics and Professor of Management at the Wake Forest University School of Business, characterized the issues with the paper as “minor reporting errors” that required “clarification”:

The same claimant that has been targeting Dr. Walumbwa’s other articles made claims against that article at BEQ. After his inquiry into the matter, however, the editor on Dec 3, 2013 reported to the authors that they had satisfactorily responded to all the claimant’s claims. The authors and editor did agree that an addendum would be useful to clarify some matters, which did not in any way challenge the findings of the article, and those clarifications were what was published in the addendum …


7 thoughts on “Mega-correction appears for Florida leadership scholar Walumbwa following six retractions”

  1. “The same claimant that has been targeting Dr. Walumbwa’s other articles”

    Or as you might also call him (or her)

    “A reader who spotted problems serious enough to require retraction of six other articles by Dr. Walumbwa and took the time to point this out”

    1. Looking back at the story, when it first broke at RW in February of 2014*, one cringes to read the words of Dr. Mayra Beers, Director of Operations for the CFL: “Individually, each professor on our team — Dr. Mitch Maidique, Dr. Nathan Hiller, Dr. Hock-Peng Sin and now Dr. Fred Walumbwa — has an incredible set of skills, including prolific writing, ground-breaking research, innovative thinking and the ability to transform good leaders to great leaders. But when you put these four together, there is a strength within the College of Business and within the Center for Leadership that cannot be matched elsewhere. These four are set to challenge existing paradigms and rock the leadership development world.” Oh, the irony of what is said…

  2. “Minor reporting errors”? It appears that the original paper misstated the statistical support for their preferred higher-order model, misstated the size of correlations among some variables, and reported two mediation results that cannot both be correct. All three of these are central to the premise and contribution of the paper. The addendum not only fails to really address any of these “minor reporting errors” but adds even further inaccuracies by citing three sources for the support of the higher-order model that appear to not have even examined whether a higher-order factor exists. Can an addendum get an addendum?

    1. Thanks for your comment. We contacted the editor of the journal, who told us the authors simply clarified a footnote in table 2. The first version of the paper was the online version.

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