Retraction-plagued management researcher hit with expression of concern

OrgBehav_ak13The editor-in-chief of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes has issued an Expression of Concern about a 2011 paper that explores the link between ethical leadership and employee performance.

The paper, “Linking ethical leadership to employee performance: The roles of leader–member exchange, self-efficacy, and organizational identification,” is one of seven that were flagged in a report by Arizona State University (ASU) that investigated the corresponding author, Frederick Walumbwa, for possible research misconduct, as we noted in November.

“The fit statistics reported in the article contain many errors,” the notice says. It goes on to say that “it is difficult to understand the implications of these errors unless the raw data is made available” — but that the authors were not able to provide it. Here’s the full text of the expression of concern:

Concern has been raised about the article listed above. The substance of the complaint is that the fit statistics reported in the article contain many errors. The journal has investigated the matter with help of a Committee of statistic experts. The Committee has come to the conclusion that there may indeed be something wrong with the statistics provided. However it is difficult to understand the implications of these errors unless the raw data is made available. Unfortunately, the authors were not able to provide the raw data despite repeated requests. We feel it is important for our readership to be aware of potential issues with the results reported in this article, which is why we are publishing this ‘Expression of Concern’. At this point, we would like to reiterate that authors should be able to provide raw data when requested by the journals and editors. Providing access to data when requested is good scientific practice, and encouraged by this journal.

The ASU report stopped short of charging Walumbwa, now an associate professor at Florida State International University, with research misconduct, but it did conclude that he engaged in “poor research practice.” Walumbwa has racked up seven retractions (including some of the papers noted in the Arizona State report) and a mega-correction.

The current paper has been cited 67 times, according to Thomson Scientific’s Web of Knowledge.

We reached out to Walumbwa for comment and will update this post if he replies. The editor in chief of the journal, however, told us she has nothing to add.

5 thoughts on “Retraction-plagued management researcher hit with expression of concern”

  1. Walumbwa is at Florida International University and not at Florida State University. It is surely very odd that none of the six authors were able to provide a copy of the data. Walumbwa claimed to have lost all of his copies of data but surely his co-authors must have held onto something?

  2. The other editors could open up an inquiry in their respective journals, but this would mean looking into research that accepted under previous editors. Walumbwa has also published with a quite wide-ranging set of co-authors which ostensibly broadens the net in terms of people who are involved– and that may be a hornet’s nest that editors want to avoid. Surely Knight Ridder (now McClatchy)- a media company that prides itself on honest journalism couldn’t get much worse press than him holding their professorship?
    Hopefully this recently accepted JMS went through the proper quality screens? Aryee, S., Walumbwa, F., Mondejar, R. & Chu, C. (2015). Accounting for the Influence of Fairness on Task Performance: Integrating Self-determination and Social Exchange Theories. Journal of Management Studies. 52 (2), 231-252.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.