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Marketing Education Review

It may seem that the student has formed a hypothesis and

an example, consider the need for a distinction between job

the task remaining would be to design the empirical part of the study. However, to ensure that the hypotheses are inte- grated with the theoretical statement, several steps can be taken.

A major theme of this article is that a number of integra- tion problems can occur that weaken the theory-hypothesis linkage. We use the literature on service quality to show that integration problems can be found in published research. As a cautionary note, service quality has been selected only because it has been used in our seminar. Our remarks are not offered as a critique of any of the studies mentioned; that task is beyond the scope of this article. In addition, although the inclusion of the items that are discussed can generally strengthen a research effort, it could well be counterproduc- tive to place undue emphasis on always including each item. In the early stages of research on a new topic, some of the items may not have been developed.

satisfaction and role conflict. Role conflict is when a sales- person believes that the role demands from role set members are incompatible (Churchill, Ford, and Walker 1990). Role conflict can have negative consequences for the salesperson; thus it would be helpful to distinguish role conflict from the negative feelings of job satisfaction. An explicit statement that job satisfaction excludes role conflict would help define job satisfaction.

In summary, concepts are the building blocks of theories. A formal definition of important concepts in the theory facilitates understanding and measurement. The connotation or domain of each concept, that is, what phenomena the con- cept includes, should be explicitly stated. Also, what the concept excludes, that is, the distinction between related concepts, can help achieve precision. Finally, the extension of a theoretical concept should be a universal concept, that is, apply to numerous settings.

Components of the Theoretical Statement

Written Definition of Concepts

Recognition of three components of theoretical statements is useful. First, the concepts should be defined. Second, the form of the relationship should be noted—for example, as extrinsic satisfaction decreases, the likelihood of seeking anotherjob increases. Third, the theoretical linkage—that is, why the concepts are positioned to be related—should be identified (see 'Table 1).

Definitions of Concepts

A theoretical statement relates X to Y where the X (extrin- sic job satisfaction) and Y are concepts and provide the basic building blocks of theories. A concept abstracts and groups together certain characteristics or properties of objects or things (Osigweh 1989; Zaltman, Pinson, and Angelmar 1973). Concept formation is a difficult task because an ideal concept would be both a universal concept, applicable to every situation in which the concept can be found, and a pre- cise one (Osigweh 1989). As an example, a theoretical defi- nition of the domain of job satisfaction is the following: "all characteristics of the job itself and the work environment that industrial sales[people] find rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying or frustrating and unsatisfying" (Churchill, Ford, and Walker 1974). Theoretical concepts are open to different operational definitions that can be used to measure the con- cept. An explicit theoretical definition of the concept is needed to convey its meaning and facilitate measurement (Hage 1972).

Concept formulation can be accomplished by considering the extension and connotation of a concept. The extension is the class of things to which the concept applies. A broad extension of job satisfaction could have it apply to any type of work—paid, unpaid, white collar, blue collar, profession- al, and so on. The connotation or domain of the concept is the set of characteristics that anything must possess to be denoted by the term. The connotation of job satisfaction offered by Churchill, Ford, and Walker (1974) is broad, because all characteristics of the job and work environment that are found by the salesperson to be satisfying or dissat- isfying are included.

A suggestion for concept formation made by Osigweh (1989) is to define a concept by specifying what it is not. As

A written theoretical definition is an important tool for link- ing theory and hypotheses. Basically, measures of the con- cept in the hypothesis must be part of the domain of the con- cept and clear specification of the domain is a first step in obtaining valid and reliable measures (Churchill 1979). Another reason for developing an explicit theoretical defini- tion is that a modification in the definition can suggest new hypotheses and opportunities for research. As an example, Cronin and Taylor (1992) redefine service quality as an atti- tude based on performance, compared with Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry's (1988) definition of service quality as performance minus expectations. Cronin and Taylor (1992) test a new hypothesis that overall service quality increases as perfonnance increases, in contrast to Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry's (1988) hypothesis that service quality increases as performance exceeds expectations. Concepts should be defined—however, although satisfaction was an important construct in Cronin and Taylor's (1992) service quality study, a definition of satisfaction was not provided. Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1988) did define service quality as "the consumer's judgment about an entity's over- all excellence or superiority" (Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry 1988, p. 15).

Linkages Between Concepts

The theoretical statement "As extrinsic satisfaction decreas- es, seeking another job is likely to increase" states a rela- tionship or linkage between satisfaction and job search. Hage (1972) has suggested that two types of linkages are important: (1) the operational linkage, how the concepts are related, and (2) the theoretical linkage, why the concepts are expected to be related.

The example theoretical statement can be written as fol- lows: X ^ Y, where X is extrinsic satisfaction and Y is job seeking. In this example, the theoretical and operational linkages are both negative. In addition to direction (positive versus negative), a more specific operational linkage could specify the mathematical form of the relationship, such as linear, curvilinear, and so on. The form of the relationship can sometimes be determined by plotting the data from prior

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