Is survey data a source of new information, or could surveys just be begging their questions? The authors of this opinion piece suspect that survey data in leadership research do not reflect attitudes to workplace phenomena. Instead, they may just be assessments of the similarity of the language in the applied items. In a recent article in the journal PLOS ONE, this possibility was tested in a new theory called the semantic theory of survey responses (STSR). In a follow-up study, language links leadership to other phenomena such as heroism, in ways that are difficult to entangle by traditional survey research.
Arnulf, Jan Ketil et al. 2015. “A new approach to psychological measures in leadership research.” Scandinavian Psychologist, 2(e4)