All about Reactivity

Reactivity simply means changes that come about in the client/system or in the problem due to the act of measurement itself. Reactive measures are those of which the client/system is aware and to which the client/system reacts. When reactivity occurs, the observation or monitoring process leads to change in the problem without any other intervention taking place. Conversely, non-reactive measures are those which do not themselves bring about change in whatever it is you are measuring.


Reactivity in a sense really affects the accuracy of your information. If the problem changes simply because of the measurement, you obviously would have a difficult time evaluating the intervention process and separating out the effects of the recording from the effects of your intervention. Reactivity, in short, affects the accuracy of the information you are recording. In addition, if any changes do occur as a result of reactivity, they often are not mentioned over time, leading to even more difficulty in achieving success in the long run.


There are a number of types of reactivity as well as ways of overcoming or diminishing reactivity. Primary among these ways of overcoming reactivity is attempting to select a measure that is non-reactive or unobtrusive. Our primary guideline in selecting a measure is, when everything else is equal (which, of course, it rarely is), try to use the least obtrusive measure possible. That is, try to use non-reactive measures when you can, or if you are using more than one measure, try to include at least one non-reactive measure.


My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit, Line of Sight