A tale of two methods

Lawrence R. James*, Stanley A. Mulaik, Jeanne M. Brett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

742 Scopus citations


The structural equation modeling approach to testing for mediation is compared to the Baron and Kenny approach. The approaches are essentially the same when the hypothesis being tested predicts partial mediation. The approaches differ, however, in how each tests for complete mediation. Disparities in both theory and statistical estimators are identified and discussed. A strategy for future tests of mediation is recommended.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-244
Number of pages12
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


  • Causal models
  • Mediation
  • Structural equations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Decision Sciences
  • Strategy and Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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