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To Assess or Not to Assess, That is the Question - Essay Example

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Personality: To Assess or Not to Assess, That is the Question To my way of thinking, it is the surprises in human behavior, both good and bad, that I find fascinating and satisfying. In observing myself, it is my creativity, unusual insights, little acts of rebellion, and unwarranted leaps of faith which I feel most define me…
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Download file to see previous pages I am horrified by science fiction futuristic movies with a plot of enforced conformity and predictability. So when I researched the controversy about the use of personality tests to predict who should or should not be hired, who will or will not behave appropriately on the job, I found myself having some strong feelings. A careful reading of quite a few articles eventually helped me to sort out my particular stance on this matter, however. The controversy itself rests on the foundation argument as to whether human behavior can, or cannot, be predicted through personality tests. Psychologists, especially those in organizational behavior and human resources, want an easy way to predict who will or will not be likely to be successfully integrated into a company, be easily supervised, and perform their duties in a non-violent manner (Baglione, Arnold, & Zimmerer, 2009). It costs a lot of money to recruit, train and build skills in an employee, and mistakes are costly for the company. Companies naturally want to avoid preventable waste of resources (Baglione, Arnold, & Zimmerer, 2009). On one side of this argument are those who vigorously argue that personality tests can indeed predict this with reasonable accuracy (Boutelle, 2011), especially when focused on Big-Five Model factors and understood clearly, and therefore they should definitely be used (Hogan, Hogan, & Roberts, 1996). They are ethical and legal, if specifically job-related (Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 1971), and they are thought to increase productivity. Within that side of the argument are those who favor normative tests and those who favor ipsative tests (Bartram, 1996). Among the 22% of companies using personality testing for personnel selction, there is also a faction (9.3%) which favor online tests, either normative or ipsative (Piotrowski & Terry Ar, 2006). On the other side are those who say that personality tests are not good indicators. The reasons given include the tendency of people to fake their answers or cheat by obtaining the answers from a central source; the fuzzy legality and ethics of sorting out people in ways that might reflect mental disorder or other impairment, ethnicity, sexual preference, and other discrimination-protected characteristics forbidden to be used in hiring choices (Morgeson, M.A, Dipboye, J.R, Murphey, & Schmitt, 2007); and various arguments about whether to use normative or ipsative tests. Ipsative tests are considered to be less reliable because you cannot reasonably use factor analysis on them without having artificial results, and the results apply only within a single person and not across a range of people, therefore invalidating them as being useful for determining whether they are a better or worse choice than another employment candidate (Paul, 2010). Furthermore, apparently up until 2010, the only real defense of ipsative testing came from a company with vested interest in selling ipsative tests for personnel selection, or came from people using that company’s data (Paul, 2010). However, this year a doctoral candidate in Spain, Dr. Anna Brown, won a “Best Doctoral Dissertation Prize” from the Psychometric Society for her breakthrough methodology that applies Item Response Theory Modeling to Ipsative test data, and thereby overcomes the psychometric limitations of this type of personality testing (The Psychometrics Society, 2011). Brown concludes that the limitations of ipsative data are overcome in that the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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