Partial least squares (PLS) in Operations Management research: Insights from a systematic literature review

Enrique Bayonne, Juan A. Marin-Garcia, Rafaela Alfalla-Luque


Purpose: The present paper aims to analyze the Operations Management (OM) research between 2014 and 2018 that has made use of Partial Least Squares (PLS) to determine whether the trends shown in previous literature reviews focused on this topic are maintained and whether the analyzed papers comply with the recommendations for reporting.

Design/methodology/approach: A systematic literature review has been carried out of OM articles that use PLS as an analysis tool. A total of 102 references from 45 journals from 2014 to 2018, published in WOS and Scopus, has been analyzed. Bibliometric analysis and a review of the PLS reporting standards applied in the context of OM have been developed.

Findings: PLS is gaining importance and is widely adopted in OM as a statistical analysis method of choice. In general, certain aspects of PLS are correctly applied and adequately reported in the publications. However, some shortcomings continue to be observed in terms of their application and the reporting of results. A detailed comparison has been developed between the current research and previous OM research (as well as previous research on other disciplines) on this topic.

Research limitations/implications: OM researchers making use of PLS should be aware of the importance of correctly reasoning and justifying their choice and fully reporting the main parameters in order to provide other researchers with useful information and enable them to reproduce the performed analysis.

Originality/value: This article builds a study with results based on a greater number of articles and journals than the two previous literature reviews focused on this topic. Therefore, it provides a richer and more up-to-date evaluation of trends in the use and reporting of PLS. Additionally, the present paper assesses whether the studies follow the indications suggested in recent years triggered by significant changes in the standards of reporting results obtained through the use of PLS.


PLS, SEM, PLS-SEM, systematic literature review, OM - Operations Management

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management, 2008-2023

Online ISSN: 2013-0953; Print ISSN: 2013-8423; Online DL: B-28744-2008

Publisher: OmniaScience