Read Personality and Job Performance text version

INTRODUCTION Personality and Job Performance Joyce Hogan, PhD.

The question of whether personality measures are valid predictors of occupational performance has been answered about as well as it can be-- because, in a truly empirical discipline, there is always room for some residual doubt and some minds tolerate ambiguity better than others. As recently as the last 10 years, the conventional wisdom in academic psychology was that personality measures lack validity, are easily faked, and are generally unsuitable for decisions about job performance. Skepticism regarding the usefulness of personality measurement for predicting performance reached a peak during the 1960s with the publication of Mischel's (1968) book, which claimed that (a) there is no evidence that personality is consistent across situations and (b) personality measures explain only a trivial amount of variance in social performance. In addition, in a very influential review, Guion and Gottier (1965) concluded that there was no evidence for the validity of personality instruments. These claims stimulated a new generation of research that ultimately reversed earlier critical conclusions. Nevertheless, there is still some skepticism (Blinkhorn & Johnson, 1990; Reilly & Warech, 1993) and some applied psychologists are not persuaded that personality measurement is useful for understanding job performance. In a review of the personality--occupational performance literature, Hogan, Hogan, and Roberts (1996) concluded that well-constructed measures of normal personality are valid predictors of a wide range of occupational performance, they generally do rot result in adverse impact for minority groups, and they can be linked to performance defined in terms of productivity. With the "whether personality predicts performance" question largely resolved, it is time to begin asking the "why and in what ways" question. The articles contained in this special issue of Human Performance present the current ideas of researchers who have led the revival of personality assessment in industrial--organizational psychology. It is especially gratifying to bring together the leading personality authors who agreed to contribute their most recent work to a single journal issue. As a result, both Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. and I are pleased to be part of the personality--performance celebration. Although the articles rely on empirical analyses it is important to note that all of them also contribute to our conceptual understanding of why personality affects performance.

Copyright© Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998 Human Performance


Rather than abstract each article, I would like to introduce the authors and their intentions. Robert Hogan (with coauthor Dana Shelton) continues to take up the complaint that there are no persuasive conceptual models or theories to explain why personality measures are correlated with job performance. He draws on socioanalytic theory (Hogan, 1983) and argues that people are preprogrammed to seek social solidarity and status during social interaction. These efforts to get along and get ahead translate into individual differences in personality test scores and job performance. I credit Michael Mount and Murray Barrick (in this issue with coauthor Greg Stewart) with leading us out of the empirical darkness (see Barrick & Mount, 1991) and they continue to advance our specific understanding of the Big Five personality factors and relevant interpersonal performances. Timothy Judge (with coauthors Amir Erez and Joyce Bono) writes in the same tradition but with particular emphasis on motivational interpretations. His drive for conceptual understanding represents a sea of change in the narrow empirical approach of his peers. This pair of articles shows the value of paying attention to the nature of the performance criterion and aligning predictors with criteria using the latent construct. I credit Stephan Motowidlo and Walter Borman for articulating a model of contextual performance (see special issue of Human Performance, 1997, Volume 10, Number 2) that has opened some very interesting avenues for the otherwise monolithic view job performance. Myself and Suzan Rybicki teamed with Motowidlo and Borman to examine personological and individual differences in contextual performance. We found that in jobs where incumbents have little room for advancement, contextual performance is predicted by conscientiousness; however, where advancement is possible, contextual performance is predicted by ambition/surgency. The socioanalytic interpretation of "getting along and getting ahead" explain these results nicely. Perhaps the most frequent criticism of personality measures in applied settings is that they are easily faked. This issue seems to surface every 10 years. The issue is back and we turn for guidance once again to those who have been central to the debate over the last decade. Previously, Leaetta Hough made the points--and she was the first to do this--that (a) when instructed, people can fake some of their personality scores; (b) the base rate of faking during the application process is virtually nonexistent; and c) even when faking is evident, criterion-related validities change only slightly (Hough, Eaton, Dunnette, Kamp, & McCIoy, 1990). In a new analysis, Hough examines strategies for dealing with intentional distortion and their effects on criterion-related validities, subgroup differences, and selection decisions. Deniz Ones and Chockalingam Viswesvaran extend their earlier inquiries about the effects of social desirability on various dimensions of

Copyright© Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998 Human Performance


performance in response to the latest complaints raised by well-intentioned skeptics (see Ones, Viswesvaran, & Reiss, 1995). The sheer amount of data that Ones and Viswesvaran bring to their research questions is impressive and, in my view, has set new standards for drawing empirical generalizations. Although they conclude that controlling for social desirability leaves the operational validity of personality measures intact, they correctly move the discussion to the question of why. Perhaps as researchers such as Hough, Ones and Viswesvaran develop a conceptual, not mathematical theory of item responding, we can avoid the 10-year faking plague. I am especially pleased to include articles from an international perspective on personality and performance. Jesus Salgado may be the most visible Big Five personality researcher in Europe. His research on personality assessment and job performance in the European Community is a benchmark for demonstrating relevant cross-cultural applications. He confirms findings from applied psychologists in the United States and shows how careful attention to measurement meaning and methodology can provide international generalizability of results. Hunter Mabon, an economist, test publisher, and journal editor, brings the economic perspective to the topic of personality and performance in the form of utility analysis. Although utility analyses have had a mixed record of acceptance in the United States, Mabon' s approach has had considerable influence in Europe. I arc delighted to introduce his work to a community of readers who may not otherwise have the opportunity to consider it. The Human Performance editorial board, the editors at Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., and I hope you find this special issue interesting, useful, and informative; we are sure you will enjoy reading these articles as much as we did.

Copyright© Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998 Human Performance


REFERENCES Joyce Hogan Editor

Barick, M. R., & Mount. M. K. (1991). The Big-Five personality dimensions in job performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44. 1 --26. Blirkhorn, S., & Johnson, C, (1990). The insignificance of personality testing. Nature, 348, 671--672. Guion, R. M., & Gottier, R. F. (1965). Validity of personality measures in personnel selection. Personnel Psychology, 8, 135--164. Hogan, R. (1983). A socioanalytic theory of personality. In M. M. Page (Ed.), 1982 Nebraska Symposium on Motivation (pp. 55--89). Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. Hogan, R., Hogan, J., & Roberts, B. W. (1996). Personality measurement and employment decisions. American Psychologist, 51, 469--477. Hough. L. M., Eaton, N. K., Dunnette, M.D., Kamp, J. D., & McCloy, R. A. (1990). Criterion-related validities of personality constructs and the effect of response distortion on those validities. Journal Applied Psychology, 75,581--589. Mischel, W. (1968). Personality and assessment. New York: Wiley. Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Reiss A. D. (1996). The role of social desirability in personality testing for personnel selection: The Red Herring. Journal of Applied Psychology, 81, 660--679. Reilly, R. R., & Warech, M. A (1993). The validity and fairness of alternatives to cognitive tests. In L. C. Wing & B. R. Gifford (Eds.), Policy issues in employment testing (pp. 131--224). Norwell, MA. Kluwer Academic.

Copyright© Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 1998 Human Performance



Personality and Job Performance

4 pages

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate


You might also be interested in

Microsoft Word - Appendix F. ICC Assessment Tools_87-94_.doc
Personality facets and RIASEC interests: An integrated model
List of Assessments.xls