Thursday, October 11, 2007

September '07 issue of J.A.P.

The September 2007 Journal of Applied Psychology is out and it's got some research we need to look at...

First, Hogan, Barrett, and Hogan present the results of a study of over 5,000 job applicants who took a 5-factor personality test on two separate occasions (6 months apart). Only 5% of applicants improved their score on the second administration, and scores were equally as likely to change in a negative direction as a positive one. The authors suggest that given these results, faking on personality measures is not a significant issue in real-world settings. Comment: This is faking defined as improving your score to match the job, not faking as misrepresenting yourself consistently over time. Also, I can't help but think of the recent article by Morgeson et al. in Personnel Psych where they argued that faking isn't the issue; it's the low validities we should be concerned about.

Next, De Corte, Lievens, and Sackett present a procedure designed to determine predictor composites (i.e., how much each testing method should be "worth") that optimize the trade-off between validity and adverse impact. The procedure is tested with various scenarios with positive results. You can actually download the executable code here and an in-press version of the article is here (thank you, Drs. De Corte and Lievens!).

Speaking of validity, the next article of interest is by Newman, Jacobs, and Bartram, and looks at the relative accuracy of three techniques for estimating validity and adverse impact (local validity studies, meta-analysis, and Bayesian analysis). The authors describe which method is optimal in different conditions, using measures of cognitive ability and conscientiousness as predictors. They even toss in recommendations for how to estimate local parameters.

Next, a fascinating and useful study of counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs; things like theft, sabotage, or assault) by Roberts, Harms, Caspi, and Moffitt that tackles the issue from a developmental perspective. Using data from a 23-year longitudinal study of 930 individuals, the authors found that individuals diagnosed with childhood conduct disorder were more likely to commit CWBs as young adults. On the other hand, criminal convictions occurring at a young age were unrelated to CWBs demonstrated later on. Job conditions and personality traits had their own impact on CWBs, above and beyond background factors. Great stuff, especially for those of you with a particular interest in biodata and/or background checks.

Last but not least, a study of person-organization (P-O) fit by Resick, Baltes, and Shantz. Using data from 299 participants in a 12-week internship program, the authors found that the relationship between P-O fit on the one hand and job satisfaction, job choice, and job offer acceptance on the other depends on the type of fit (needs-supplies vs. demands-abilities) as well as the conscientiousness of the individual. Good food for thought when thinking about P-O fit, a consistently popular concept.

Honorable mention: This meta-analysis by Humphrey, Nahrgang, and Morgeson of 259 studies that investigated work design impacts on worker attitudes and behaviors. Think behavior is determined solely by individual ability and disposition? Ya might want to take a gander at this study; it'll change your tune. A great reminder that satisfaction and performance are the result of both the individual and his/her work environment. Also available here.

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