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"Traditional" SEM versus piecewise SEM -Costs and Benefits

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Jason Gawke's picture
Joined: 11/25/2017 - 07:18
"Traditional" SEM versus piecewise SEM -Costs and Benefits


I recently came across an article of Lefcheck (2016) covering an alternative way of evaluating SEM models, namely piecewise SEM


The article makes some interesting points on the potential benefits of piecing multiple models together versus traditional SEM that calculates parameter estimates based on the whole observed variance-covariance matrix. For instance, it releases restrictions of the "t-rule" (atleast 5 observations per parameter estimate at the highest-level) and can handle non-normal distributed data.

After some searching I found that piecewise sem is most often used in ecological / evolution / biology type of research. However, I cant find any study in organizational behavior literature or organizational psychology literature (my field of research)

Because I am not an expert in SEM I would love to hear your opinion on this approach, especially regarding 1) is anyone familiar with this approach and have used it in a paper and 2) could it potentially also be usefull for mulitlevel organizational research or is there a drawback to this type of analyses for these kind of settings?

Interested in hearing your thoughts!

Other references:
Shipley, B. (2000). A New Inferential Test for Path Models Based on Directed Acyclic Graphs. Structural
Equation Modeling, 7, 206–218.
Shipley, B. (2009). Confirmatory path analysis in a generalized multilevel context. Ecology, 90, 363–368.
Shipley, B. (2013). The AIC model selection method applied to path analytic models compared using a dseparation
tests. Ecology, 94, 560–564.