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Jay Thomas, Ph.D., Volume Editor; School of Professional Psychology, Pacific University, OR.
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Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological Assessment, Volume 4, Industrial and Organizational Assessment
John Wiley & Sons
Copyright © 2003
Jay C. Thomas
All right reserved.
JAY C. THOMAS
This fourth volume of the Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological
Assessment (CHOPA) is dedicated to assessment
in organizations. Traditionally, assessment is typically thought
of in terms of evaluating an individual's fitness for hire, promotion,
or similar personnel action. Constructs, instruments,
and methods used for such decisions make up the bulk of
this book. These include tests, inventories, interviews, simulations,
and performance appraisal techniques. Expanding
the concept a little further, the book includes the assessment
of work groups or teams rather than just individuals. Expanding
still further, another facet of assessment is also important;
the employee's reaction to the workplace and organization.
Finally, there is psychological assessment for research purposes
in which the object of decision is not an individual,
group, or organization but, rather, is in regard to the status of
an idea. Regardless of what purpose or purposes motivate
performing an assessment, it is necessary to know the psychometric
properties or development methods of a technique
and, equally important, thetheoretical basis of the assessment
instrument or method.
The need for some means to select, evaluate, and promote
the people who work in large and important organizations
has been recognized for centuries. Over 2,000 years ago the
Chinese government was using tests in the selection of civil
service employees. This practice had grown to the point of a
sophisticated, multiple-hurdle approach by the fourteenth century
(Wiggins, 1973). Interest in the measurement of the attributes
of everyday people was one of the first areas to
develop as scientific psychology began to blossom late in
the nineteenth century, and applications were being made in
the workplace well before World War I (Guion, 1976). By the
mid-twentieth century, psychological assessment was well
established as an important component in personnel decision
making, and the basic concepts underlying instrument development
and validation were recognized.
Assessment of people for the purpose of making personnel
decisions can have significant impact on the lives of those
individuals as well as the organizations sponsoring the assessment.
Frank Landy (cited in Guion, 1998) reported that
as many as 80,000 people have been tested in a single day
for civil service jobs in New York City, many of whom are
bound to be disappointed in their job search. It is well established
that scores on many psychological tests may differ
across ethnic, racial, and cultural groups, as well as between
genders, often leading to different proportions of various
groups being hired or promoted. There may also be a correlation
of score with age on some tests. The format of some
assessment methods may make it difficult for people with
disabilities to perform well, even when the disability itself is
not a barrier to effective job performance. These data have
led to legal constraints on use of assessments in decision
making. The user must ensure that assessment techniques are
job related and free from improper bias. Methods of validating
assessment devices for personnel decisions are beyond
the scope of this book (see Guion, 1998, for a comprehensive
depiction of validation strategies), but each chapter includes
a consideration of past results and current concerns about
score differences and typical accommodations for the disabled.
Beyond legal issues, organizations have found that a
perception of unfairness in assessment techniques can be a
public relations nightmare and can even drive away desirable
applicants. The past few years have seen a new area of research
examining the effects of applicant reactions to assessment
procedures. This burgeoning area is of such importance
that it has been included in this volume as a separate chapter,
even though it does not represent an assessment technique.
Assessment is frequently performed utilizing psychological
tests and inventories, but other methods are equally important
and have the same legal status as tests with regard to
employment and discrimination law. The applicant's personal
history would seem to be relevant for predicting future behavior,
but two difficulties present themselves. One is how
to evaluate prior life and job experience. The other problem
lies in ensuring that such assessments are not biased against
those who have experienced a lack of opportunity or differential
opportunities. Together, these problems have resulted
in some interesting, creative, and important domains of research
and practice, which are presented in Part Three. For
example, reference checks and interviews are nearly universally
used to evaluate job applicants. For many decades both
have been known to have serious shortcomings as assessment
devices unless carefully developed and implemented, in which
case both can be quite useful.
Simulations and job samples are additional methods for assessing
skill, knowledge, and, sometimes, potential. Wernimont
and Campbell (1968) distinguished between "signs" of performance
and "samples" of performance, making the assumption
that samples would provide a more accurate appraisal
with higher criterion-related validity. Simulations, including
assessment centers, and job samples certainly fall into the
sample category. Whether they are consistently more predictive
of performance depends on many factors, but they do
provide different information than most other methods of assessment.
Because they are derived from everyday tasks or
situations, simulations and job samples are sometimes seen
by the public as not being methods of psychological assessment.
They do, however, come with a host of psychometric
issues. Fidelity is one controversial area. Is it more important
to mirror real-life trappings of the job or to design the assessment
procedure to focus on the underlying psychological
factors involved in performance? Face validity and possible
acceptance by examinees and client organizations favor one
form of fidelity, whereas content and construct validity may
be heightened by the other. Of course, the more one emphasizes
psychological over physical fidelity, the more one shifts
from a pure "sample" toward obtaining a "sign." Additional
issues in the use of simulations and job samples include deciding
what to measure, not as simple as it may first appear,
and how to measure it reliably. Since these methods often
employ observers or raters as the source of scores, rater training
to minimize bias is critical.
The "criterion problem" has been with us for more than a
century (Austin & Villanova, 1992) and has yet to be resolved.
The ultimate question in the criterion problem is
"What constitutes success?," and the most important secondary
question is "How is success measured?" This volume
does not attempt to provide an answer to the first question,
although Kaufman and Borman (Chapter 22) review the concept
and measures for Organizational Citizenship Behavior
(OCB), a recent addition to the list of success factors. I once
developed a detailed measure of performance for a client organization
consisting of a checklist of all required job behaviors
as well as behaviors considered poor practice. Although
everyone agreed that the checklists covered job performance
well, everyone also agreed that it failed to distinguish "good"
from "poor" performers. That is, almost all employees would
engage in the required job behaviors almost all of the time.
Those who were considered top performers went beyond
what was required and did whatever was necessary at the time
to advance their unit's or the whole organization's interests.
In some cases the employees considered most valuable actually
exhibited a lower level of specific job skills than those
who were less valuable performers. Clearly, in that case OCB
was an important factor in performance.
How to measure success is a question that, at times, seems
to have been answered, but it continually resurfaces. Landy
and Farr (1980) concluded that the time was ripe for a moratorium
on research into rating formats, ratings being the
predominant method of gaining performance data. The moratorium
has expired, however, as Newman, Kinney, and Farr
(Chapter 20) establish in their chapter. Using performance
ratings involves more than just choosing a format. It involves
an examination of the conditions of rating, the mental processes
of raters, and, of course, training. Who should make
the ratings, and for what purpose, is also a critical question.
Within the workplace people with different roles often observe
different behaviors or, possibly, interpret the same behavior
differently. Psychologists and human resource managers were
quick to identify this difference as opening new facets in
performance assessment and appraisal. Having people above,
below, and to the side in the organization complete a performance
assessment about a given individual is said to provide
important insights into many aspects of work behavior. However,
such systems are complicated to set up and operate, and
the value of multisource ratings (sometimes known as 360
degree) depends on the purpose. Multisource ratings are covered
in Chapter 21.
One of the most pervasive innovations in organizational
theory and practice over the past several years has been organizing
around teams. A team-based organization presents
a different environment than an individually oriented organization.
Although teams present many advantages and operating
challenges to management, they also present some
assessment challenges, presented in Part Six. One of the most
notable challenges is measuring individuals' teamwork skills.
Identifying who is likely to succeed in working in a team
environment and who is not apt to succeed is important from
both selection and development perspectives. A second challenge
lies in measuring a team's performance. Since the basis
for team organization is the team's contribution being supposedly
greater than the sum of individual contributions, both
individual and team performances may need to be assessed.
The subtleties in developing team assessment instruments are
important for a psychologist working with teams or a team
Employee reactions are an important aspect of assessment
in modern organizations. Job satisfaction (see Dawis, Chapter
26) represents the original domain of interest, dating back to
the earliest days of industrial psychology. Satisfaction seems
a simple concept, but the theoretical variations and controversies
over the past three quarters of a century signal that it
is complex, and its place in relation to other critical work
variables such as performance is not yet clear. Employees
react to the organization in ways far exceeding the formation
of attitudes or beliefs about the work environment. The stress
response to organizational stressors can be a critically important
influence on a person's health and happiness (Sutherland
and Cooper, 2002). Connell, Bruk, and Spector (Chapter 25)
present the primary methods of assessing stress within the
organization. Appropriately for a book on psychological assessment,
they concentrate on details regarding psychological
measures, but they also briefly review some of the more common
physiological measures of strain. The assessment of the
social organization is the domain of climate and culture.
Again, this is a vitally important arena for research and practice
around which continual controversy swirls. Svyantek and
Philips (Chapter 28) note that whereas climate is traditionally
measured using quantitative survey measures and culture is
typically assessed qualitatively, the assessment of either construct
is necessarily method bound. Choice of method depends
on purpose, as is the case throughout assessment.
From the perspective of the beginning years of the twenty-first
century we can look back and see assessment ideas that
have proven to be useful and others that represent false starts.
In a few cases we can identify methods that were of value
but have largely been dropped due to changes in the workplace
and in society. This volume of CHOPA attempts to
present the viable branches of assessment as of 2002. The
overarching goal is to inform the reader of the major theoretical
and practical issues attending each form of assessment
and to describe the major, and many minor, instruments or
methods employed within each type of assessment. It differs
from the preceding three volumes in that assessments performed
for organizational or business purposes do not commonly
assume the presence of an underlying pathology in the
person being assessed. In fact, in some cases there isn't even
a person as the primary target of the assessment, but rather
the person's reaction to the organizational environment or the
organization itself. The term assessment is taken in its broadest
possible meaning, the taking of standardized measurements
in order to make decisions. The 27 substantive chapters
cover individual attributes (cognitive abilities, personality, interests),
personal history (biodata), simulations, job performance,
and reactions to the workplace. Reflecting current
trends in organizing work, team skills and the performance
of teams are chapters that probably would not have appeared
had this book been written a decade or so earlier. On the other
hand, the book does not contain chapters about such areas as
clerical aptitudes and sensory motor skills because there is
little, if any, contemporary research or theory being published
on those topics. In addition, the text does not cover such
related topics as job analysis. The assessment of the work
and workplace are important areas of theory, research, and,
certainly, practice, but to attempt to detail all that that entails
would make for an impossibly long book. Thus, the decision
was made to limit the scope of the volume to the assessment
of people, of teams of people, and their reactions to the workplace.
This is consistent with the scope of the other three
volumes in the series.
The success of a science has its foundation in how it solves
the issue of measurement (Domotor, 1992). Success at measurement
breeds a strong science, and a strong science leads
to ever more success in assessment. The science of psychology
has been successful in studying organizations and in generating
fruitful applications, as the authors of each chapter
demonstrate. We will continue to have a strong discipline as
long as science, measurement, and application proceed together
as a unified method for assessment.
Excerpted from Comprehensive Handbook of Psychological Assessment, Volume 4, Industrial and Organizational Assessment
Copyright © 2003 by Jay C. Thomas.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of ContentsHandbook Preface.
1. OVERVIEW (Jay C. Thomas).
SECTION ONE: COGNITIVE ABILITY.
2. GENERAL MENTAL ABILITY TESTS IN INDUSTRY (W. Lee Grubb III, Deborah L. Whetzel, and Michael A. McDaniel).
3. MECHANICAL APTITUDE AND SPATIAL ABILITY TESTING (Paul M. Muchinsky).
4. MULTIAPTITUDE TEST BATTERIES (Dennis Doverspike, Alana B. Cober, and Winfred Arthur Jr.).
5. INFORMATION-PROCESSING TESTS (Winfred Arthur Jr., Dennis Doverspike, and Suzanne T. Bell).
6. THE ASSESSMENT OF CREATIVITY (John W. Fleenor and Sylvester Taylor).
SECTION TWO: BASIC SKILLS.
7. BASIC SKILLS (John M. Cornwell).
SECTION THREE: PERSONALITY, INTEGRITY, AND INTERESTS.
8. WORK APPLICATIONS OF THE BIG FIVE MODEL OF PERSONALITY (K. Galen Kroeck and Kevin W. Brown).
9. SPECIFIC PERSONALITY MEASURES (Paul E. Levy, Richard T. Cober, and Christina Norris-Watts).
10. INTEGRITY TESTING IN THE WORKPLACE (Michael J. Cullen and Paul R. Sackett).
11. MEASURES OF CAREER INTERESTS (Jo-Ida C. Hansen and Bryan J. Dik).
12. ASSESSMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES USING THE OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION NETWORK (O*NET) (P. Richard Jeanneret, Erika L. D’Egidio, and Mary Ann Hanson).
13. THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (Dean E. Frost).
14. LEADERSHIP (Ram N. Aditya).
SECTION FOUR: BIOGRAPHICAL, EXPERIENCE DATA, AND INTERVIEWS.
15. BIODATA (Garnett S. Stokes and Lisa A. Cooper).
16. JUDGMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF JOB-RELATED EXPERIENCE, TRAINING, AND EDUCATION FOR USE IN HUMAN RESOURCE STAFFING (Edward L. Levine, Ronald A. Ash, and Jonathan D. Levine).
17. BEHAVIORAL AND SITUATIONAL INTERVIEWS (Robert L. Dipboye, Kevin Wooten, and Stefanie K. Halverson).
SECTION FIVE: JOB-SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS, SIMULATIONS, AND ASSESSMENT CENTERS.
18. SIMULATIONS AND ASSESSMENT CENTERS (George C. Thornton III and Deborah E. Rupp).
19. WORK SAMPLES, PERFORMANCE TESTS, AND COMPETENCY TESTING (Donald M. Truxillo, Lisa M. Donahue, and Daniel Kuang).
SECTION SIX: ASSESSING JOB PERFORMANCE.
20. JOB PERFORMANCE RATINGS (Daniel A. Newman, Ted Kinney, and James L. Farr).
21. MULTISOURCE FEEDBACK (William K. Balzer, Gary J. Greguras, and Patrick H. Raymark).
22. CITIZENSHIP PERFORMANCE IN ORGANIZATIONS (Jennifer D. Kaufman and Walter C. Borman).
SECTION SEVEN: ASSESSING TEAMS AND TEAMWORK.
23. ON MEASURING TEAMWORK SKILLS (Eduardo Salas, C. Shawn Burke, Jennifer E. Fowlkes, and Heather A. Priest).
24. A THEORY-BASED APPROACH TO TEAM PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT (Robert M. McIntyre and Lara Tedrow).
SECTION EIGHT: EMPLOYEE REACTIONS TO THE WORKPLACE.
25. JOB STRESS ASSESSMENT METHODS (Patrick Connell, Valentina Bruk Lee, and Paul E. Spector).
26. JOB SATISFACTION (Rene V. Dawis).
27. THE MEASUREMENT OF APPLICANT REACTIONS TO SELECTION (Talya N. Bauer, Donald M. Truxillo, and Matthew E. Paronto).
28. ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE AND ORGANIZATIONAL CLIMATE MEASURES: AN INTEGRATIVE REVIEW (Daniel J. Svyantek and Jennifer P. Bott).