Review of Item Response Theory Practices in Organizational Research: Lessons Learned and Paths Forward

Garett C. Foster, Hanyi Min, Michael J. Zickar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


In this article, we review recent psychometric practices to determine how item response theory (IRT) has been used in organizational research. We identified and coded 63 articles that used IRT on empirical data published in industrial-organizational and organizational behavior journals since 2000. Results show that typical usage for IRT conforms to best practices in several ways; however, in other ways, such as testing for and reporting model fit, there is still significant room for improvement. Next, we surveyed academic and practitioner members of the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology (SIOP) on their experiences and attitudes toward IRT. We conclude that IRT is one area where practice outpaces science. There is a cadre of practitioners that consider IRT essential to their professional life. For others, however, IRT is seen as less relevant. Based on our coding analyses and survey results, we provide suggestions on how to better incorporate IRT into organizational research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-486
Number of pages22
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Decision Sciences(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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