Monday, March 05, 2007

New Personnel Psychology--vol. 60, no. 1

March brings the Spring issue of Personnel Psychology and some great material to sink our teeth into.

Let's take a look at the articles relevant for recruitment and assessment (I'll summarize some of the other articles on my general HR blog).

The articles

First up, a study of --wait for it--personality tests. Well, integrity tests really. Using a sample of employees and students from Canada and Germany (thankfully moving beyond the U.S.), Marcus, Lee, and Ashton found that for the overt integrity tests investigated, honesty-humility (as described in the HEXACO model) accounts for more of the criterion-related validity than did the Big 5 dimensions of personality. For the personality-based integrity tests, the results were the opposite. The results were the same regardless of study group or instrument. Specific findings included correlations of -.51 and -.67 between an shortened version of the CPI and self-reported counterproductive work behavior and academic behavior, respectively.

Next, an excellent meta-analysis of situational judgment tests (SJTs) by McDaniel, Hartman, Whetzel, and Grubb. The authors continue the exploration of the difference between SJTs with knowledge instructions (e.g., "What would be the best...") and those with behavioral tendency instructions (e.g., "What would you do..."). The analysis found (as have previous studies) that SJTs with knowledge instructions had higher correlations with cognitive ability, while those with behavioral tendency instructions correlated more highly with personality constructs (Big 5). Criterion-related validity was unaffected by response instruction and was reported at .26 for both types--lower than had been previously reported due to analysis of new data. Results also showed SJTs have (modest) incremental validity over cognitive ability, Big 5, and a composite of the two. Given that previous studies have found larger racial differences with knowledge-based instructions I'm tempted to think this is an overall win for behavioral tendency instructions, but the situation is more complicated than that and most likely depends on the the job (e.g., complexity).

Last but not least, an article on test validity, bias, selection errors, and adverse impact by Aguinis and Smith (full text available here, many other of Aguinis' publications available here). The authors present a framework that integrates the four concepts and describe a computer program (available here) that allows individuals to input test and criterion distributions and analyze the impact on and relationship with selection ratios, adverse impact, and performance levels. Useful but definitely not a casual read.

The books

In addition to the studies listed above (and several others), this issue reviews several books that are worth looking into:

1) A critique of emotional intelligence: What are the problems and how can they be fixed? edited by Kevin Murphy. Intended to be a balanced analysis of this popular concept, the reviewer sees the book as more one-sided (providing fuel for critics). The book features chapters by prominent researchers and practitioners including Landy, Van Rooy, Hogan, and Spector.

2) Assessment centers in human resource management: Strategies for prediction, diagnosis, and development by George Thornton and Deborah Rupp. This one looked good enough that I ordered it--especially since I'm lacking a good book devoted to assessment centers. The reviewer states, "we have a new comprehensive description and expert review of the literature on the practice and evaluation of the assessment center method." I have Thornton's book on simulations which I find very useful.

3) Essentials of personnel assessment and selection by Robert Guion and Scott Highhouse. If I didn't already have Guion's larger tome, I'd probably get this one. The authors state the book is intended for undergraduate and master's level students, and the reviewer says "I believe that the book is just right for first or second year graduate students. It is a handy and compact compendium of fact and best practice."

That's it! As I said, there are other articles in here that I'll summarize in my other blog.

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