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Sunday, April 7, 2019

PLS Applications Symposium; 3 - 5 April 2019; Laredo, Texas (Abstract submissions accepted until 15 February 2019)

PLS Applications Symposium; 3 - 5 April 2019; Laredo, Texas
(Abstract submissions accepted until 15 February 2019)

*** Only abstracts are needed for the submissions ***

The partial least squares (PLS) method has increasingly been used in a variety of fields of research and practice, particularly in the context of PLS-based structural equation modeling (SEM). The focus of this Symposium is on the application of PLS-based methods, from a multidisciplinary perspective. For types of submissions, deadlines, and other details, please visit the Symposium’s web site:

*** Workshop on PLS-SEM ***

On 3 April 2019 a full-day workshop on PLS-SEM will be conducted by Dr. Ned Kock and Dr. Geoffrey Hubona, using the software WarpPLS. Dr. Kock is the original developer of this software, which is one of the leading PLS-SEM tools today; used by thousands of researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, and from many different countries. Dr. Hubona has extensive experience conducting research and teaching topics related to PLS-SEM, using WarpPLS and a variety of other tools. This workshop will be hands-on and interactive, and will have two parts: (a) basic PLS-SEM issues, conducted in the morning (9 am - 12 noon) by Dr. Hubona; and (b) intermediate and advanced PLS-SEM issues, conducted in the afternoon (2 pm - 5 pm) by Dr. Kock. Participants may attend either one, or both of the two parts.

The following topics, among others, will be covered - Running a Full PLS-SEM Analysis - Conducting a Moderating Effects Analysis - Viewing Moderating Effects via 3D and 2D Graphs - Creating and Using Second Order Latent Variables - Viewing Indirect and Total Effects - Viewing Skewness and Kurtosis of Manifest and Latent Variables - Viewing Nonlinear Relationships - Solving Collinearity Problems - Conducting a Factor-Based PLS-SEM Analysis - Using Consistent PLS Factor-Based Algorithms - Exploring Statistical Power and Minimum Sample Sizes - Exploring Conditional Probabilistic Queries - Exploring Full Latent Growth - Conducting Multi-Group Analyses - Assessing Measurement Invariance - Creating Analytic Composites.

Ned Kock
Symposium Chair

Friday, January 4, 2019

Factor-based structural equation modeling with WarpPLS

Dear colleagues:

The link below, for an article forthcoming in the Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), provides a discussion on the limitations of using composites in structural equation modeling (SEM). It also discusses a new factor-based method that builds on the classic partial least squares (PLS) technique developed by Herman Wold. This new method, also presented elsewhere (see ISJ article titled “From composites to factors: Bridging the gap between PLS and covariance‐based structural equation modeling”), addresses those limitations of using composites in SEM.

The article linked above is titled “Factor-based structural equation modeling with WarpPLS”. The discussion in this AMJ article is very applied and, hopefully, conceptually straightforward.

Some of you may be wondering why I am so convinced that, if questionnaires are used for data collection, the resulting data must be factor-based and simply cannot be composite-based. The reason is simple. For question-statements to be devised by researchers, so that indicators measuring latent constructs can be obtained via questionnaires, the mental ideas associated with the constructs must first exist in the minds of the researchers. The direction of causality is clear: from constructs to indicators. This direction of causality gives rise to measurement residuals, which distinguish factors from composites.

Having said that, I believe that we can have what I refer to as "analytic composites", which can be seen as exact linear combinations of indicators. These are unique entities, which are designed to serve specific purposes. Analytic composites are widely used in a variety of fields, including business - e.g., the Dow Jones Industrial Average. With analytic composites, there is no way the original weights can be accurately recovered based on the data. To obtain those weights, one has to either ask the designer or, in the person’s absence, derive the weights from domain-relevant theory.

Remember, the whole point of SEM is to recover the original population parameters based on the sample data collected via questionnaires. The data are the indicators. The original parameters are path coefficients, loadings, weights etc.

In SEM we do not have the original factors at the start of the analysis, we only have the indicators and theory-driven models with structural and measurement components. The new factor-based method discussed in the AMJ article linked above yields correlation-preserving estimates of the factors.

Happy New Year!


Monday, October 15, 2018

Webinar series: Intermediate PLS-SEM using WarpPLS 6.0

Early Registration Ends 10/19: Intermediate PLS-SEM using WarpPLS 6.0.

Discounted $95 USD early registration ends October 19.

Live online 6-session webinar series: Intermediate PLS-SEM using WarpPLS 6.0 software. Webinar sessions on Fridays begin mid-November.

Visit Eventbrite registration site:

Webinar series agenda: (1) Explore different applications of full latent growth; (2) Explore conditional probabilistic queries; (3) Understand and use effective second-order latent variable models; (4) Conduct and report both composite-based and factor-based PLS-SEM analyses; (5) Use consistent PLS factor-based algorithms; (6) Test and control for endogeneity; (7) Understand and use more refined data imputation algorithms other than mean replacement; (8) Explore categorical-to-numeric and numeric-to-categorical conversion; (9) Explore power and minimum sample size requirements with PLS-SEM; and other contemporary intermediate topics.

Includes a certificate of completion signed by Dr. Ned Kock (developer of WarpPLS) and Dr. Geoffrey Hubona (associate professor of MIS and webinar series instructor). Also includes: 3-month fully-featured version of WarpPLS 6.0 software; all webinar series videos for download; all materials, data sets, project files, webinar series slides and readings.

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Webinar series: Introduction to PLS-SEM using WarpPLS 6.0

Check out the online webinar series - Introduction to PLS-SEM using WarpPLS 6.0:

The live webinar series will be presented in six weekly 90-minute onine sessions from 11:30AM EDT to 1:00PM EDT on (mostly) consecutive 2018 Fridays: August 17th and 24th; and September 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th. The audio and video for all of the live webinar sessions will be recorded and those recordings will be made available for permanent download by each registered webinar participant. Each participant who successfully completes the 6-session webinar series will also receive an Introduction to PLS-SEM using WarpPLS Certificate of Completion signed by both Dr. Ned Kock, the original developer of WarpPLS, and by Dr. Geoffrey Hubona, the instructor of this webinar series.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Possible installation problems and the MATLAB Compiler Runtime

The vast majority of WarpPLS users do not have any installation problems, but some users do. One possible cause is an incompatibility between the MATLAB Compiler Runtime and their computer's operating system setup. This is explored in more detail below.

Another possible cause of installation problems is one or more software applications that interfere with the proper running of WarpPLS. There have been reports from users suggesting that the following software applications may do that: Panda Antivirus, Norton Antivirus, and XLSTAT.

Yet another possible cause of installation problems are security software tools (to stop malware) that prevent users from making modifications in the folders in their computers that store data about programs. Closely aligned with this cause are security restrictions placed on computers by their organizations' IT offices.

The MATLAB Compiler Runtime

The MATLAB Compiler Runtime is for MATLAB programs what the Java Runtime is for Java programs, and what the Microsoft .NET Framework is for .NET-based programs. That is, it is a set of executable modules that are called by executable files compiled using MATLAB.

WarpPLS is an executable file compiled using MATLAB, and thus requires the MATLAB Compiler Runtime (version 7.14) to run properly. Like many other runtime libraries, the MATLAB Compiler Runtime has originally been developed in C and C++.

MATLAB does not have to be installed for WarpPLS to run

The MATLAB Compiler Runtime is provided in the self-extracting executable file used for the installation of WarpPLS. It is free of charge. MATLAB does not have to be installed for WarpPLS to run, only the specific MATLAB Compiler Runtime that accompanies WarpPLS.

In theory, the MATLAB Compiler Runtime should allow for a “compile once, run everywhere” approach to programming. That is, code that uses the MATLAB Compiler Runtime would be developed on one operating system, compiled, and then deployed, together with the MATLAB Compiler Runtime, to computers running any operating system.

This approach works well in theory, but not always in practice. This comment applies not only to MATLAB but also to Java and .NET applications – you are probably well aware of this if you are a Java or .NET programmer.

Seek professional IT support if you are using an organizational computer

It is possible that a specific user’s computer configuration will prevent the proper installation of the MATLAB Compiler Runtime, by blocking certain operating system configuration changes (e.g., Windows registry changes), as a security measure. This is often the case when organizational computers are used.

Also, a user may not have administrator rights on a computer, or have limited administrator/power user rights, which may prevent certain operating system configuration changes necessary for the proper installation of the MATLAB Compiler Runtime. Having professional IT support in this type of scenario is a must.

Here are a few steps to take if you are having problems installing and running WarpPLS on a Windows computer:

1) Run WarpPLS as administrator.

Some users solved their installation problems by simply doing this: Right-clicking on the WarpPLS icon and choosing the option to run it as administrator.

2) Reinstall WarpPLS using the larger file containing the MATLAB Compiler Runtime (approximately 170 MB), choosing the option “Repair”.

There have been reported cases in which users cannot start WarpPLS or move beyond WarpPLS’s first screen. This may happen even if the user has a valid license, with the software behaving as though it is not licensed at all. This may also happen before the user acquires a valid license, while trying to use WarpPLS within the trial license period.

A possible solution here that has worked well in the past is to reinstall WarpPLS using the larger file containing the MATLAB Compiler Runtime. When the MATLAB Compiler Runtime installation software pops up, choose the option “Repair”, and proceed with the full reinstallation.

3) Do the above, but change the folder where the WarpPLS program is installed, choosing a folder that is not in a protected area.

As a possible variation to the above, you may change the folder where the WarpPLS program is installed, choosing a folder that is not in a protected area. For example, you may choose the folder “C:\WarpPLS” or the folder “C:\WarpPLS [version; e.g., 6.0]”. Being outside a protected area prevents certain software, such as antivirus software and malware, from interfering with WarpPLS’s execution.

4) Completely uninstall the MATLAB Compiler Runtime and WarpPLS, disable any antivirus software currently running, reinstall the MATLAB Compiler Runtime and WarpPLS, and then re-enable the antivirus software.

To uninstall the MATLAB Compiler Runtime, follow the following procedure (or a similar procedure, depending on the version of Windows you are using): go the “Control Panel”, click on “Add or Remove Programs” or “Programs and Features”, and uninstall the MATLAB Compiler Runtime.

To uninstall the main software program (i.e., WarpPLS), simply delete the main software installation folder. This folder is usually “C:\Program Files\WarpPLS [version; e.g., 6.0]” or “C:\Program Files (x86)\WarpPLS [version]”, unless you chose a different folder for the main software program during the installation process. Then delete the shortcut created by the software from the desktop.

5) Check the "Program Files" and the "Program Files (x86)" directories (assuming that the MATLAB Compiler Runtime is installed on the C drive), to see if one of the following folders is there.

C:\Program Files\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32

C:\Program Files (x86)\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32

If not, make sure that you are logged into your computer with full administrator rights, and reinstall the MATLAB Compiler Runtime. You can do that running the self-installing .exe file (approximately 170 MB) for WarpPLS, which includes the MATLAB Compiler Runtime. Or, contact your local IT support, and ask them to help you do so.

6) Go to the Command Prompt and type “PATH”, to see if one of the following paths shows on the list provided.

C:\Program Files\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32

C:\Program Files (x86)\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32

If not, on the Command Prompt, type one of the following commands, depending on the folder in which the MATLAB Compiler Runtime is installed:

set PATH=C:\Program Files\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32;%PATH%

set PATH=C:\Program Files (x86)\MATLAB\MATLAB Compiler Runtime\v714\runtime\win32;%PATH%

Then type “PATH” again, and make sure that the new path has been added. This will change the Windows registry; a minor and pretty harmless change. If you are concerned about making registry changes yourself, or cannot do that due to limited rights or any other reason, please contact your local IT support, and ask them to help you do so.

7) Try to install WarpPLS on a different computer, and see if it runs well there.

This last step is annoying but important because there are certain computer-specific configuration setups, or even malware allowed in by those setups, that may prevent the MATLAB Compiler Runtime from properly installing or executing. This is rare, but does happen sometimes. Comparing computers can help solve problems like these.

If you can install and run WarpPLS on one computer, but not on another, there may be a computer configuration or malware problem that is preventing you from doing so. If you have access to good-quality local IT support, you should contact it, and ask them to help you identify and solve the problem.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Single missing data imputation in PLS-based structural equation modeling

An important source of bias in structural equation modeling (SEM) employing the partial least squares method (PLS) is missing data. Deletion methods, such as listwise and pairwise deletion, have traditionally been used to deal with missing data. These methods are perceived as leading to selective loss of data and significant related biases. Missing data imputation methods, on the other hand, do not resort to deletion.  Our study suggests that single missing data imputation methods perform better with PLS-SEM than expected based on past research on their performance with other multivariate analysis techniques such as multiple regression and covariance-based SEM:

Saturday, April 14, 2018

A thank you note to the participants in the 2018 PLS Applications Symposium

This is just a thank you note to those who participated, either as presenters or members of the audience, in the 2018 PLS Applications Symposium:

As in previous years, it seems that it was a good idea to run the Symposium as part of the Western Hemispheric Trade Conference. This allowed attendees to take advantage of a subsidized registration fee, and also participate in other Conference sessions and the Conference's social event.

I have been told that the proceedings will be available soon from the Western Hemispheric Trade Conference web site, which can be reached through the Symposium web site (link above).

Also, the full-day workshop on PLS-SEM using the software WarpPLS was well attended. This workshop was fairly hands-on and interactive. Some participants had quite a great deal of expertise in PLS-SEM and WarpPLS. It was a joy to conduct the workshop!

As soon as we define the dates, we will be announcing next year’s PLS Applications Symposium. Like this years’ Symposium, it will take place in Laredo, Texas, probably in mid-April as well.

Thank you and best regards to all!

Ned Kock
Symposium Chair