We propose that scholars who are interested in group, organizational, or societal constructs should consider three approaches to designing aggregate measures. The typical approach to aggregate measure design in organization studies is to create measures based on individual-level metric structures, then evaluate whether the individual level measures can be aggregated. We propose that the field continue to use this approach for fundamentally individual-level constructs, but to also make greater use of two alternative approaches that are now only occasionally used. One approach used in cross-cultural research is to aggregate items to the target level, then evaluate measurement structure based on the relationships among items at the target level. Another approach is to aggregate individual-level scales to the target level, then evaluate measure characteristics based on the relationships among scales at the target level. We also recommend that constructing measures based on relationships among items or among scales at aggregate levels offers an approach to studying organizational culture that is distinct from organizational climate. We apply the distinctions between different approaches to aggregate measure design to a recent leadership quarterly article and to the globe project on which that article is based.
Peterson, M. F., & Castro, S. L. (2006). Measurement Metrics at Aggregrate Levels of Analysis: Implications for Organization Culture Research and the GLOBE Project. Leadership Quarterly, 17(5), 506-521. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.leaqua.2006.07.001