Friday, September 10, 2010

Personnel Psychology, August 2010

The August, 2010 issue of Personnel Psychology came out a while ago, so I'm overdue in taking a look at some of the content:

Greguras and Diefendorff write about their study of how "proactive personality" predicts work and life outcomes. Using data from 165 employees and their supervisors across three time periods, the authors found that proactive individuals were more likely to set and attain goals, which itself predicted psychological need satisfaction. It was the latter that then predicted job performance and OCBs as well as life satisfaction.

Speaking of personality, next is an interesting study by Ferris et al. that attempts to clarify the relationship between self-esteem and job performance. Using multisource ratings across two samples of working adults, the authors found that the importance participants placed on work performance to their self-esteem moderated this relationship. In other words, this suggests that whether self-esteem predicts job performance depends on the extent to which people's self-esteem exists outside of their performance. Interesting.

Lang et al. describe the results of a relative importance analysis of GMA compared to seven narrower cognitive abilities (using Thurstone's primary mental abilities). Using meta-analysis data, the authors found that while GMA accounted for between 10 and 28% of the variance in job performance, it was not consistently the strongest predictor. Add this study to a number of previous ones suggesting that one solution to the validity-adverse impact dilemma may be in part to use narrower cognitive abilities (e.g., verbal comprehension, reasoning).

Last but definitely not least, Johnson and Carter write about a large study of synthetic validity (a topic Johnson writes more about in the August issue of IOP). For those that need a reminder, synthetic validity is the process of inferring validity rather than directly analyzing predictor-criteria relationships. After analyzing a fairly large sample, the authors found that synthetic validity coefficients were very close to traditional validity coefficients--in fact within the bounds of sampling error for all eleven job families studied. Validity coefficients were highest when both predictors and criterion measures were weighted appropriately.

So what the heck does that mean? Essentially this provides support for employers (or researchers) who lack the resources to conduct a full-blown criterion validation study but are looking for either (a) a logical way to create selection processes that do a good job predicting performance, or (b) support for said tests. Good stuff.

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