On the Use of Balanced Item Parceling to Counter Acquiescence Bias in Structural Equation Models

Bert Weijters, Hans Baumgartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We propose the use of balanced item parcels to account for method effects caused by acquiescent responding. The use of balanced parcels avoids the need to model method effects explicitly and results in a parsimonious specification of measurement and full structural equation models in the presence of unwanted method effects, particularly when a scale consists of a relatively large number of items. Balanced item parcels are sums or averages of individual items consisting of an equal number of regular and reversed items measuring the same construct. When regular and reversed items are combined into parcels, method effects cancel out (assuming that the method effects affecting the regular and reversed items in a parcel are equal in magnitude), and model fit and parameter estimates will no longer be negatively affected by acquiescent responding. We discuss why balanced item parceling works and when it is likely to prove beneficial, and we present a step-by-step procedure explaining how to use balanced item parceling in practice. We also report a brief hypothetical example to illustrate the proposed approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalOrganizational Research Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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