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APPLIED PSYCHOLOGY: AN INTERNATIONAL REVIEW, 2004, 53 (2), 237259

BARTRAM Original ASSESSMENT Articles IN ORGANISATIONS Blackwell Oxford, Applied APPS 0269-994X April 0 1 2 53 00 International 2004 UK Psychology: Publishing Association an LtdInternational for Applied Review Psychology, 2004

Assessment in Organisations
Dave Bartram*
SHL Group plc, UK

Cet article aborde les pratiques actuelles et les tendances mergentes de lvaluation dans les organisations. Une attention particulire est accorde a lvaluation en vue du recrutement et de la selection, l o lapparition de la mta-analyse a fondamentalement chang la conception que lon pouvait avoir des tests psychologiques et autres techniques de slection. On analyse aussi limpact dInternet sur les pratiques de slection. En ce qui concerne lvaluation postembauche, lobligation pour les organisations dassumer des changements rapides est raporte limportance de la modlisation des comptences. Quelques points-cls de lvaluation post-embauche sont passs en revue (leadership, feedback 360). Des perspectives pour la nouvelles recherches sont esquisses; il sagit de crer des thories et des modles plus pertinents, mais aussi de progresser dans les tudes de validit partir les donnes existantes. Finalement, on saperoit que lessentiel de la littrature actuelle sappuie sur des recherches ralises aux Etats-Unis, un peu au Royaume Uni ou dans dautres pays dEurope. Beaucoup de ces recherches sont limites dans leurs possibilits dapplication en ce sens quelles ont t mences sur de grandes organisations. On insiste sur le manque de travaux interculturels et sur la ncessit de sintresser lensemble des organisations de travail (des grandes aux petites, des enterprises locales aux multinationals, aux secteurs public et priv). The article considers current practice and merging trends in assessment in organisations. Particular attention is paid to assessment for recruitment and selection, where the use of meta-analysis techniques has radically changed the way in which psychological tests and other selection techniques are viewed. The impact of the Internet on selection practice is also discussed. For posthire assessment, the impact of the need for organisations to undergo rapid change is considered in relation to the importance of competency modelling. Some key areas (leadership, 360-degree feedback) of post-hire assessment are reviewed. Issues for future research are outlined. These include the need for better theory and models, together with the need to move ahead of a reliance on old data sets. Finally, it is noted that much of the current literature is based on research in the United States (with some from the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe). Much of the research is also limited in applicability in that it is based on large organisations. The need for more cross-cultural studies

* Address for correspondence: Dave Bartram, SHL Group plc, The Pavilion, 1 Atwell Place, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0NE, UK. Email: Dave.Bartram@shlgroup.com International Association for Applied Psychology, 2004. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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and the need to cover the full range of work organisations (large to small; local to global; private to public sector) is emphasised.

INTRODUCTION
Assessment is carried out by organisations as a means of measuring the potential and actual performance of their current (post-hire assessment) and potential future employees (pre-hire assessment). Measurement is important because it enables organisations to act both tactically and strategically to increase their effectiveness. Pre- and post-hire assessment practices are typically referred to as assessment for selection and recruitment, and assessment for development and performance management, respectively. While organisations make considerable use of objective assessment techniques for both, by far the most extensive literature is on the validity of assessment methods for recruitment and selection. Most research on post-hire interventions tends to focus on the efcacy of training or development interventions rather than the assessments associated with them. The main area of post-hire assessment where instrumentation has been researched in some detail is that of management and leadership assessment. In most other areas, there has been a tendency for organisations to be far less concerned about the quality and validity of the tools they use for post-hire assessment (e.g. for 360-degree feedback) than they are about those they use for selection. The present paper will consider both pre- and post-hire assessment. While the main focus will be on the former, aspects of post-hire assessment will also be addressed. In particular the paper addresses the issue of the need for a generalisable conceptual framework for assessing behaviour in the workplace.

ASSESSMENT FOR SELECTION AND RECRUITMENT


The present paper will not attempt to provide a detailed review of selection assessment practices as there have been a number of excellent reviews published recently that cover this area (Murphy & Bartram, 2002; Robertson, Bartram, & Callinan, 2002; Robertson & Smith, 2001; Hough & Oswald, 2000; Salgado, 1999). A common feature of these reviews is their emphasis on the way in which the meta-analytic procedures developed by Hunter and Schmidt (1990) have revolutionised thinking in this area. Selection tools that have become traditional within our Western culture include application forms (open or structured), tests of knowledge and skill, tests of ability and personality, interviews (more or less structured), and various assessment centre exercises (in-baskets, leaderless group discussions, group problem solving exercises, etc.). Schmidt and Hunter (1998) provide a useful list of validity estimates from meta-analysis studies for a range of different selection assessment tools.
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General Ability and Personality


While the importance of general ability as a predictor of job performance has been long accepted, meta-analysis research has resulted in the realisation that other tools are also of importance (notably personality questionnaires). What is more, the research has shown that variations in validity coefcients from one study to another, which used to be attributed to situational specicity, are due largely to various sources of error in the data. When these are taken into account, the research has shown that personality questionnaires, ability tests, structured interviews, and biodata all have good validity and that this validity is generalisable. That is, measures of general ability and measures of some of the Big Five (Norman, 1963; Barrick & Mount, 1991; Digman, 1990; Matthews, 1997) personality variables (notably, conscientiousness) appear to be generally valid for all jobs. The main factor moderating the validity of general ability as a predictor of job performance and training performance is the complexity of the job: validity increases as job complexity increases. One of the major changes in the past decade has been the emergence of evidence in the academic literature to support the use of personality assessment for selection. There is now a very extensive literature on this topic and the validity of personality attributes for predicting job performance is well supported. This is an area where research has followed practice. For a period of time the received wisdom in the academic world was that personality questionnaires had little if any validitywhile practitioners continued to use personality measures as part of their selection measurement toolkit. Following the development of meta-analytic techniques and the publication by Barrick and Mount (1991) of their landmark paper, this view changed. Subsequently, a large body of evidence has been published (Barrick, Mount, & Judge, 2001; Borman, Penner, Allen, & Motowildo, 2001; Hermelin & Robertson, 2001) attesting to the importance of personality attributes in work. What is more, Robertson and Kinder (1993), Saville, Sik, Nyeld, Hackston, and MacIver (1996), and Robertson and Callinan (1998) have shown how substantial increases in validity can be obtained by the a priori prediction of patterns of relationship between personality variables and criterion behaviours. Recent work by the present author has shown that where there is a careful a priori matching of relevant personality attributes to specic work performance criteria, very high validities can be obtained. Correlations between composites using scores on scales of the OPQ32i (Occupational Personality Questionnaire; SHL, 1999) and ratings of work behaviours on the 16 scales of the Inventory of Management Competencies (SHL, 1993) show an average validity of around .48 (uncorrected) and range from .29 to .69 (zero-order correlations).
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Murphy and Bartram (2002) conclude that:


There is evidence that a variety of personality characteristics are consistently related to job performance. In particular measures of agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience appear to be related to performance in a wide range of jobs. Average validities for measures of these traits are typically not as high as validities demonstrated by cognitive ability tests, but the evidence does suggest that personality inventories can make a worthwhile contribution to predicting who will succeed or fail on the job.

As personality measures tend to be independent of measures of ability, they can add signicant increments to the overall validity of any selection battery. The most powerful combination, on the basis of current evidence (Ones, Viswesveran, & Schmidt, 1993; Ones & Viswesveran, 1998), is that provided by ability tests and measures of integrity or conscientiousness. Together these provide (adjusted) validities around .65. Ones and Viswesveran (2001) have shown that, paradoxically, while measures of integrity provide better prediction of job performance than honesty criteria, the reverse is the case for Conscientiousness. A possible explanation for this is that Conscientiousness is actually a narrower measure than that provided by integrity tests. The latter may well provide an assessment of what Digman (1997) has termed the Alpha Factor, which brings together Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and Emotional Stability. Digman (p. 1249) argued that factor alpha represents the socialization process itself . . . concerned with the development of impulse restraint and conscience, and the reduction of hostility, aggression, and neurotic defense. Finally, personality measures have the advantage of reducing adverse impact. A major concern over the use of ability tests is that they tend to show large group differences, with blacks scoring from .5 to 1.0 SD lower on average than whites (Roth, Bevier, Bobko, Switzer, & Tyler, 2001). Such differences can result in adverse impact (i.e. the selection of a disproportionate number from one group relative to another) if applicants are selected on the basis of ability alone. Research has shown, however, that when ability and personality measures are combined, the group differences on composite score measures are greatly reduced, generally to a level where adverse impact is no longer a problem (Baron & Miles, 2002). Though the above discussion has focused on ability and personality testing, meta-analysis has also claried issues of validity in relation to a range of other selection tools. For example, it is now clear that the interview, once dismissed by academic psychologists as having no validity, can have good validity if it is appropriately structured and criterion referenced. While meta-analysis has revolutionised thinking in the area of personnel selection, it is important to keep in mind a number of caveats.
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First, meta-analysis outcomes are dependent on the data sets used. It is probably true to say that, in the past ten years, we have now exhausted the information that can be drawn from the body of studies that exists in the literature. Second, meta-analyses are historical. That is, they draw general conclusions from historical bodies of data. These data sets were collected, by and large, at a time when measures of criterion performance were weak, and when the formal use of instruments like personality questionnaires was not encouraged. Hence there is a danger of using their results to shape current and future practice in a way that holds back progress if one is not careful. Third, there is a danger that people will rely on the results of metaanalyses as somehow dening the validity of procedures, and regard it as unnecessary to do further validity studies. Finally, the data sets used in these analyses are drawn predominantly from the United States. While the general pattern of results has been supported by some more recent analyses (Salgado, 1998; Salgado, Anderson, Moscoso, Bertua, de Fruyt, & Rolland, 2003) that have looked at European data sets, it is important to consider how selection and recruitment practices differ around the world.

International Variations
With globalisation, international companies have had to try to decide how to implement assessment practices on a worldwide scale. Local companies are also now competing in their national markets with global multinationals. As such, they are under pressure to adopt the practices of the big players. Employee selection is probably the area where both formal and informal assessment methods are most intensively used by organisations. It is also the area that has most exposure, in that organisations are assessing people who are external to the organisation. As a consequence, the assessment practices adopted are very public and will affect the image of the company. They can have either positive or negative public relations value. It is of interest to study differences in assessment practices between countries for two reasons. First, it provides a potential basis for comparing the effectiveness of alternative approaches to assessment and provides the basis for practitioners in each country to reect on the value of the practices they use. Second, it is becoming increasingly important because of the globalisation of industry and the world of work. International organisations are now seeking to adopt common selection and recruitment practices across different countries. Organisations who are seeking to grow their business in new markets will be concerned both to recruit the best local managers and workers in that market and to identify people on their current staff who
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will operate effectively as expatriates to kick-start growth in such markets. Should they adopt local practices in selection assessment or should they impose their head ofce practices on this new environment? Various national and international surveys of the use of these methods were published in the 1990s (Shackleton & Newell, 1991, 1994; Rowe, Williams, & Day, 1994; DiMilia, Smith, & Brown, 1994; Gowing & Slivinski, 1994; Funke, 1996; Levy-Leboyer, 1994; Bartram, Lindley, Foster, & Marshall, 1995; Ryan, McFarland, Baron, & Page, 1999). Unfortunately most of these studies tend to cover only a single country or group of countries in the developed world (typically, North America, Europe, and Australia) and most rely on postal surveys with low return rates. Levy-Leboyer (1994), in her review of surveys of selection practices in Europe, noted that all countries tend to use application forms and interviews. France is unusual in placing a high reliance on graphology as a screening method and in not giving much credence to third-party references. Situational tests and assessment centres are used more in the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands than in France or Belgium, but there are also generally higher levels of test use in France, Belgium, Spain, and the UK than in the other countries. Schuler et al. (in a 1993 study reported in Funke, 1996) found very high levels of use of structured interviews in the Benelux countries and the UK, with less in Germany. In Germany they found very little use of personality or performance testing compared to Spain, Benelux, and the UKwith France in-between. The use of objective assessment techniques (tests, structured interviewing, assessment centres) raises issues of training. Many authors, for example, have expressed concerns about the indiscriminate use of tests in countries where there is little if any provision for training in these methods (e.g. OGorman, 1996, with reference to Australia; Engelhart, 1996, with reference to France; Henley & Bawtree, 1996, with reference to the UK; and Smith & George, 1992, with reference to New Zealand). It is in response to these concerns that the British Psychological Society established the procedures for Certication of Competence in Testing for people working in occupational testing (Bartram, 1995). More recently the International Test Commission has published international guidelines for test use (Bartram, 2001; International Test Commission, 2001). The various surveys listed above are interesting in that they tell us something about how countries differ. But they are limited in that they almost all only concern large organisations (1,000 or more employees), they rely on postal surveys that often have very low response rates, and they say nothing about why these differences in practice occur. An exception to the postal review methodology is a study reported by Bartram et al. (1995). They carried out detailed face-to-face interviews with recruiters using a structured sampling technique covering small businesses
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in the UK. This research focused on the question of how young people are selected for employment by small businesses. It is often forgotten that the majority of people work for small companies. In the UK at the time of this research, over 88 per cent of businesses employed fewer than 25 people and 73 per cent employed fewer than ten. About one-third of all employed people work for small businesses, yet very little attention has been paid to their recruitment and assessment practices. The research conrmed the prediction that small rms would carry out assessment in a very casual and informal fashion. The impression gained from the psychological literature, that assessment in industry is objective and well formalised, is a misleading one. Actual practice differs considerably from what assessment specialists would dene as best practice. It is also interesting to consider what recruiters assess and their perceptions of the worth of various assessment methods. The Bartram et al. (1995) study and subsequent work (Coyne & Bartram, 2000) has shown that the most important personal characteristics for employers are: honesty, integrity, conscientiousness, interest in the job, and the right general personality. Research by Scholarios and Lockyer (1999) with small consultancy rms in Scotland again found an emphasis on the importance of honesty and conscientiousness, with general ability as the third most important attribute. These psychological attributes are regarded as more important than qualications, experience, or training. One of the main reasons given by employers in the Bartram et al. (1995) study for their reliance on the interview was that they thought this was the best way for them to judge an applicants personal qualities. This emphasis on the importance of personal qualities probably accounts for the growing use of personality tests, measures of emotional intelligence and honesty and integrity testing by mediumsized and larger organisations together with the relative lack of emphasis given to formal educational and work-related qualications (Jenkins, 2001). Why do recruiters focus on these particular characteristics? Evidence suggests that these are characteristics that they see as relatively difcult to change and high risk areas. A person can be trained to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to do a job, but their attitude, their way of dealing with other people, their honesty, are seen as characteristics that are immutable. This is highlighted in small rms where the impact of one person on the performance of the business as a whole can be very considerable. Campbell, Lockyer, and Scholarios (1997), who studied medium- to small-sized rms (most of their sample employed fewer than 200 people), also found that such organisations tended not to use objective assessment techniques (such as psychological tests) and also tended not to use assessment centres (because of their cost). While Boyle, Fullerton, and Yapp (1993) show that use of assessment centres is mainly conned to large rms, there is some evidence from an
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Institute for Recruitment Studies survey (IRS, 1997), that medium-sized rms are making increasing use of these techniques. In the most extensive of the published surveys of international selection practices, Ryan et al. (1999) attempted both to increase the breadth of coverage of practices around the world and to explore some possible explanations of why they differ. Through a postal survey, they mailed 300 organisations employing more than 1,000 people in each of 22 countries (i.e. n = 6,600 in total), including Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and South Africa. A total of 959 usable responses were obtained. Cultural norms for each country on Uncertainty Avoidance and Power Distance were obtained from Hofstedes (1991) data. The Ryan et al. study is worth considering in some detail as it directly focuses on the issues of how practices differ between countries and whether such differences can be related to differences in cultural norms. They found that between-nation effects could explain a modest proportion of variance in stafng practices. In particular, they found that national differences accounted for a substantial proportion of the variance in the use of xed interview questions (43% of the variances), and in using multiple methods of verication, testing, and number of interviews (over 10% of the variance in each case). In relation to the predictions based on Hofstede, some interesting results were found. Those cultures high in Uncertainty Avoidance tended to use fewer selection methods, do rather less verication and background checking, but use more types of tests and use them to a greater extent, and conduct more interviews with candidates. They were also more likely to use xed sets of interview questions and more likely to audit their selection procedures in some manner. Less clear results were found in relation to expected effects of Power Distance differences. While countries high on this scale were less likely to use peers as interviewers, peers were more likely to be involved in hiring decisions in some other way (possibly because of the impact of unionised labour in such countries). Future research needs to tackle the difcult questions of sampling. Ryan et al. had very different response rates from different countries. There were also geographical gaps: South America, East and West Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa. Arguably these are the areas where we would expect to nd the greatest cultural differences and are key emerging markets for multinationals. It is also possible that other cultural frameworks would have provided different views of the data (e.g. Schwartz & Bilsky, 1987; Smith, Dugan, & Trompenaars, 1996). Nevertheless, this study provides a valuable starting point for future research in this area. What the various research studies on recruitment practice have shown is that there is wide diversity in the use of assessment methods in organisations both within and between countries. This diversity is very much a function
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of both organisation size and culture. Small organisations have neither the resources nor the people with the necessary specialist skill and knowledge to devote to testing and assessment. When comparing practices in different countries, it is important that we do not compare the practices of small rms in developing countries with those of large ones in developed countries. Small rms in the UK, for example, rely heavily on personal recommendation and family and friendship network connections for nding new employees. This sort of practice is often, wrongly, seen as occurring only outside the North American and European economic areas. Ryan et al.s study is important for showing clearly that national and cultural factors do account for substantive proportions of variance in difference in selection practices. Such differences raise questions for international organisations seeking to carry out fair recruitment campaigns across a number of different countries. Should they impose the same practices on all countries? If they do, then these practices will be more familiar in some countries than others, and more acceptable (both to applicants and recruiters) in some than others. The alternative is to set quality standards for the recruitment process that do not prescribe methods as such, and leave each country to adopt the methods it is most comfortable with so long as the outcome is one that meets the quality standard. Despite the variations in assessment practice, there does appear to be good agreement across organisations and cultures on the importance of personal qualities, on the importance of a persons values, and the degree to which a new recruit will t the culture of the organisation.

ASSESSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE

Competency-Based Assessment
The competency approach to selection and assessment is one based on identifying, dening, and measuring individual differences in terms of specic work-related constructs that are relevant to successful job performance. Over the last 25 years this approach has gained rapidly in popularity, due partly to the way in which the concepts and language used have currency within the world of human resources management. The proling of jobs in terms of competency requirements has increasingly supplemented or replaced more traditional task-based job analysis, most noticeably in countries outside the United States. Competency proling differs from job analysis in that the focus of the former is on the desirable and essential behaviours required to perform a job, while the latter focuses on the tasks, roles, and responsibilities associated with a job. These are complementary ways of looking at the same thing, with the competency analysis providing a person specication and the job analysis a job description. The
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main advantage of the competency modelling approach has been its success in building the models that lay the foundations for organisation-wide integrated human resources applications. The problem with competency as a construct is that there is considerable confusion and disagreement about what competencies are and how they should be measured (Shippmann, Ash, Battista, Carr, Eyde, Hesketh, Kehoe, Pearlman, Prien, & Sanchez, 2000). Competency-based assessment has also suffered in the past from being used and developed by a wide range of practitioners many of whom had not had a psychologists background of training in scientic method and measurement. However, Shippmann et al. (2000) note that there is evidence of increasing rigour in the competency approach. Bartram, Robertson, and Callinan (2002) dene competencies as sets of behaviours that are instrumental in the delivery of desired results or outcomes. In terms of this denition, competencies relate to behavioural repertoires: the range and variety of behaviours we can perform, and outcomes we can achieve. A competency is not the behaviour or performance itself but the repertoire of capabilities, activities, processes, and responses available that enable a range of work demands to be met more effectively by some people than by others. This approach is elaborated in Kurz and Bartram (2002).

Models of Job Competency


Most of the work on dening models of job performance has focused on the managerial area. There are some exceptions, such as Hunts (1996) work on entry-level jobs in the service industries, and analyses of the competencies required for jobs in the military (e.g. the work of Campbell, McHenry, & Wise, 1990, on Project A). In relation to managerial competencies, Tett, Guterman, Bleier and Murphy (2000) reference 12 different models from the academic literature dating back to Flanagan (1951). They also note that while there is considerable overlap in terms of content between these various models, there are also marked differences in detail, description, denition, emphasis, and level of aggregation. The merging of the academic and practice-based approaches to competency models can be found in the recent development of hierarchical approaches to model building. General high-level constructs can provide the basis for accounting for major portions of variance in performance, while more detailed dimensions are required for everyday use by practitioners. Even more nely grained constructs may be required for the detailed competency proling of jobs. Tett et al. (2000) developed a taxonomy of 53 competencies clustered under nine general areas. These 53 competencies were derived from the
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results of subject matter experts sorting 147 behavioural elements. The nine general areas were: Traditional functions; Task orientation; Dependability; Open-mindedness; Emotional control; Communication; Developing self and others; Occupational acumen and Concerns. Borman and Brush (1993) propose a structure of 187 behaviours mapping on to 18 main dimensions, which in turn map to four very broad dimensions: Leadership and supervision; Interpersonal relations and communication; technical behaviours and mechanics of management; and useful behaviours and skills (such as job dedication). This structure has been supported by subsequent meta-analysis research (Conway, 1999). Kurz and Bartram (2002) describe a job competency framework which also adopts a three-tier structure. The bottom tier of the structure consists of a set of 112 component competencies. These 112 component competencies were derived from extensive content analyses of both academic and practice-based competency models. This analysis covered managerial and non-managerial positions. As a consequence, the content of the components covers a wider domain than that addressed by Tett et al. in their work on managerial competencies. The framework articulates the relationships between these components, their mapping on to a set of 20 competency dimensions (the middle tier) and their loadings on eight broad competency factors (the top tier in their Table 1). These models provide the basis for the development of the measures of behaviour at work that are needed if we are: To assess the general value of trait measures in applications like personal development, potential for leadership, assessment for promotion and so on. To get a better-articulated model of criterion measures for the validation of selection and recruitment procedures. In the past, there has been a tendency to use tools in selection (and for posthire assessment) that were designed to provide coverage of some particular psychological attribute domain (e.g. personality) rather than having been designed to provide coverage of the relevant criterion domain. A better understanding of the factorial structure of the domain of criterion behaviours will help us to better design predictors both in terms of coverage and validity. As noted earlier in this article, two factors came together to create the shift in attitude relating to the validity of personality assessment. One was the availability of meta-analysis techniques. The other was the Big Five taxonomy. This allowed various different instruments to be mapped on to
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a common structure for the purposes of analysis, and issues of generalisability to be explored across different instrument structures. A similar issue arises in relation to assessing behaviours in the workplace. So long as there is nothing comparable to the Big Five for this domain, we will continue to face the problem of trying to aggregate the results from studies that use criterion measures that are not comparable with each other. However, evidence is beginning to emerge that there may be a small number of broad factors that account for most of the variance in criterion workplace behaviors. The research reported in Kurz and Bartram (2002) supports the view that variance in competency measures can be accounted for by eight broad factors. Correlations between competency measures and measures of psychological attributes suggest that these eight factors reect the psychological constructs that underlie competencies. Specically the trait markers for the eight competency factors can be identied as: g or general reasoning ability the Big Five personality factors two factors relating to motivation factors: need for achievement and need for power or control. This Great Eight structure has been replicated in a number of different data sets including analysis of the ratings of 54 competencies in the OPQ32 UK national standardisation sample data (SHL, 1999), analysis of job applicant data collected over the Internet in the USA (n = 26,000), from Swedish data, and from analyses of data obtained from two generic 360-degree competency inventories. This model suggests that optimal selection batteries will be those that provide coverage of general ability, the Big Five personality factors and two broad motivation factors. Meta-analyses of selection data have already supported the importance of the ability and personality domains. The fact that motivation factors have not emerged from meta-analyses is a reection of the fact that there are very few studies in the literature that contain systematic measures of motivation. We should now be designing new validity studies that start from a consideration of the criterion domain rather than from the availability of classes of predictor instrument. Assessment in organisations tends to be focused around competency models. The use of personality questionnaires and other trait-based measures is generally carried out within the context of assessing competency potential rather than for any direct interest in the traits themselves. Trait measures tend to be used in Development Centres as part of the process of exploring peoples potential for future development. More generally, assessment of behaviour and of performance is more direct; relying on instruments designed to measure samples of behaviour rather than signs of underlying traits.
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Leadership and Leadership Assessment


Following the work of people like Fiedler (1967) and Vroom (Vroom & Yetton, 1973), who considered the behaviours that predict effective outcomes are dependent upon various situational contingencies, attention has shifted back to focus on the individual characteristics of leaders. The increasing levels of uncertainty and change within organisations have made situational models very difcult to uphold. Working in the political leadership context, Burns (1978) developed the concept of transformational leadership to identify those qualities in a leader that inspire others to work beyond their own self-interest for the common good. In contrast, others operate by transactions: offering people something in return for their efforts. This distinction between transactional and transformational leadership attributes has been applied to organisational leadership by Bass (1985), and forms the basis for one of the most widely used leadership questionnaires in this area (the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire; Bass, & Avolio, 1990a, 1990b). Concerns have been expressed (see Bryman, 1996) over the generalisability of Basss work, as it has been based on US top managers in the private sector. The extent to which the same notions are relevant for lower level managers or supervisors, and the extent to which they apply to countries with cultures different from the USA is an open question. Work in the UK with managers from a range of levels from both public (Alimo-Metcalfe & Alban-Metcalfe, 2001) and private sector organisations (Alban-Metcalfe & Alimo-Metcalfe, 2002) has resulted in a rather different set of priorities being assigned to the various transactional and transformational attributes described by Bass. The Global Leadership and Organisational Effectiveness (GLOBE) Research Program consists of a network of 170 social scientists and management scholars from 62 cultures across the world (House, Hanges, RuizQuintanilla, Dorfman, Javidan, Dickson, Gupta, & GLOBE, 1999; House, Javidan, & Dorfman, 2001). They are working in a coordinated long-term effort to examine the inter-relationships between societal culture, organisational culture and practices, and organisational leadership, and are seeking an empirically based theory to describe, understand, and predict the impact of cultural variables on leadership and its effectiveness. So far, they have identied six global leadership dimensions of which four are universally endorsed across cultures (Charismatic/valued-based leadership; Teamorientated leadership; Humane leadership; and Participative leadership) and two are not (Self-protective leadership; Autonomous leadership). They also describe 21 specic leader attributes and behaviours that are universally viewed as contributing to leadership effectiveness and eight specic leader attributes were universally viewed as impediments to leadership effectiveness. Interestingly, 35 specic leader attributes were identied as contributors in
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some cultures and impediments in others. However, the GLOBE project has only asked about the perceived desirability of behaviours. It is an open question as to whether such behaviours are also effective in facilitating organisationally desired outcomes.

EMERGING TRENDS
From what has been said earlier, it is clear that a number of factors are impacting the role of assessment in and by organisations. These can be divided into some general issues and others which are more specically associated with pre- or post-hire assessment.

General Issues
Meta-analysis and validity generalisation have had a major impact on thinking and practice in the eld. The emphasis on small local validation studies has been replaced by a focus on the need to consider aggregated data sets, where various sources of small-sample error have been taken into account. The strengths and weaknesses of this approach have been discussed (see also, Murphy, 2000). A current limitation of this literature is its reliance on old data sets. These do not reect current thinking on the structure and breadth of the criterion space. It will be some time before there are sufcient well-designed studies completed which provide the range of prediction measures needed to fully evaluate the potential upper limits on validity for assessment in selection. A second general issue is that associated with the growth in the use of objective assessment in developing countries. Multinationals operate worldwide; increasingly they are looking to use the same techniques in developing nations for selection and development as are used in the so-called developed world (tests, Assessment and Development Centres, structured interviews, biodata inventories and so on). These raise issues of local user competence as well as cultural appropriateness. One consequence of this trend has been the development of black box solutions. Such solutions seek to de-skill the user requirements by providing a computer-based expert system that guides use through the process of job analysis and competency proling; selects and congures a battery of relevant tests and provides the user with a merit list of applicants, sorted by their performance on the tests in relation to the job requirements. Such systems will also, typically, provide the user with reports that give an interview structure and identify key areas for questioning. While such systems put the knowledge and skill of the expert I /O psychologist into the hands of line managers, concerns have been raised about the impact of this on the future role of I/O psychologists in assessment in organisations.
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Pre-Hire Issues
This review has shown that not only do employers value honesty and conscientiousness above all other attributes, but also that meta-analyses have shown that these attributes are well measured by integrity tests and personality questionnaires. More and more organisations want to assess employee dependability, especially in blue-collar and lower level whitecollar positions. While research tends to show that both covert and overt measures of honesty do have generalisable validity, there is a range of ethical and legal concerns about their use. Outside the United States, professional concerns are expressed about the use of overt honesty measures, while less concern is shown over the use of personality attributes like conscientiousness. Within the United States, the opposite appears to be the situation, where overt questions are preferred to what would be regarded as the covert use of personality to infer honesty. As noted earlier, it is paradoxical that the measures of conscientiousness actually appear to assess honesty better than general job performance while the reverse is the case for integrity tests. Future research needs to better understand the mechanisms behind these patterns of prediction. The ethical issues would seem to be more about how these instruments are used than whether they should be usedso long as their job relevance can be supported. Probably the biggest change in recruitment and selection practice in the past few years has been brought about by the use of the Internet. Use of the Internet as the medium for job search and making job applications is rapidly replacing the traditional paper-based application procedures. Details of how this technology has impacted on assessment practice are reviewed in Bartram (2000), Lievens and Harris (2003), Robertson, Bartram, and Callinan (2002), and Stanton (1999). From the assessment point of view, one impact has been the pressure on test developers to design fast, open access instruments that still meet good psychometric measurement criteria. This has resulted in the emergence of four key research areas. In order to ensure better test security and provide the ability to refresh test content on a regular basis, there has been a rapid increase in the application of item and test generation methodologies (Irvine & Kyllonen, 2002). A practical example of this is provided by Baron, Miles, and Bartram (2001). The increasing use of computerised testing has resulted in research on the equivalence of computer and paper-and-pencil tests. In general, this has produced generally positive results indicating that tests, especially un-timed self-report measures, need not be affected by this change of medium (Bartram, 1994; Donovan, Drasgow, & Probst, 2000; Neuman & Baydoun, 1998). However, highly speeded ability tests (such as clerical checking tasks) may need re-norming as the ergonomics
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of the test can signicantly affect the speed with which people can perform the task. While organisations are looking for means of increasing test security and protecting tests from compromise through coaching, at the same time they are wanting to make assessment procedures more open and less constrained by the need to provide supervision, and more accessible to line managers or hiring managers with little or no expertise in testing. This has increased the need for research on the impact supervision has on performance in assessment situations, on how one can maintain validity under conditions of reduced control, and on how effectively selection solutions can be black-boxed for use by relatively inexperienced line managers. Finally, there is increased interest in the search for valid predictors that minimise adverse impact. Organisations are increasingly concerned about potential litigation and the socio-political implications of selection practices. In the past, attention tends to have focused on the problems associated with the use of ability tests, rather than the overall selection assessment strategy. We are now seeing how, with the judicious use of combinations of instruments, the bottom line risk of adverse impact can be greatly reduced. While meta-analyses might imply that the only tools one needs are an ability test and an integrity test and that these could be used for all jobs without any job analyses being needed, the reality is different. As argued earlier, meta-analysis has provided some important breakthroughs, but it has its limitations. Selection is a process of negotiation between applicants and hirers. Assessment techniques have not only to work, but also to appear relevant and acceptable. In a study comparing paper-and-pencil, computerised, and multi-media versions of a test (Richman-Hirsch, Olson-Buchanan, & Drasgow, 2000), managers rated the multi-media version as more valid and had more positive attitudes towards it than did those completing the other versions. Assessment procedures are seen as reections of an organisations values and culture. The choice of which tools to use and how to apply them is governed by more than just considerations of psychometric quality.

Post-Hire Assessment Issues


The most signicant change within the workplace has been the development of more rigorous approaches to competencies, and the growing emphasis on the importance of competencies rather than specic job skills. Globalisation and the speed of change within organisations is moving the emphasis away from selecting people to do a specic job and towards selecting people
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who have the qualities necessary to work exibly and adaptively within an organisation. This in turn has pushed the emphasis away from task-based job analysis as the basis for developing person specications, towards the use of competency modelling. Competency models provide the means whereby an organisation can integrate the tactical and strategic use of assessment. As discussed earlier, there is a growing consensus on the nature and structure of the competency domain. The Great Eight factors provide a useful starting point for relating assessments of traits to measures of workplace behaviours. This emphasis on the need for a exible workforce has increased the use of assessment for development purposes within organisations. Approaches such as 360-degree feedback are becoming increasingly common. The logistical difculties of carrying out a 360-degree assessment have been largely overcome by the development of Internet-based solutions (Bartram, Geake, & Gray, in press). In contrast to pre-hire assessment, post-hire approaches are characterised by the use of multiple sources: most leadership assessment instruments, for example, involve both self-ratings and peer or subordinate ratings. We are also seeing an increasing use of assessment instruments for organisational development (OD) applications: Identifying organisational culture and values, looking at value t between individuals, groups, and the organisation and so on. These raise issues of the impact of cultural and national differences between organisations, which are being addressed using models developed for cross-cultural analysis (e.g. Hofstede, 1991; Smith et al., 1996; Schwartz, 1999).

AREAS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH


Much of our research data on assessment in organisations is from large organisations and comes from the United States or, to a lesser degree, Europe. We need to broaden this view. Further cross-cultural studies are needed to consider the potential differential impact of assessment practices both pre- and post-hire. Evidence is accumulating through validity generalisation meta-analyses and other work that much of the variance in workplace behaviour can be predicted by eight main factors (the Great Eight). These have been identied through various research programmes and cover the Big Five personality factors, g or general cognitive ability, and two motivational factors: the need for control and the need for achievement. Future research is needed that builds on these models. To date, most of the emphasis in assessment in organisations has been on the measurement of predictorspersonality scales, ability, etc. Very little systematic research has been carried out on the nature and properties of criterion measures. The competency approach
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provides a way forward in developing a generalisable structure of factors that can be used to measure workplace behaviours, and so provide a common structure for future validation studies. In so doing, it is important to draw a distinction between two categories of criterion: workplace behaviours (as addressed by competency models) and outcomes (performance judged against the achievement of goals or objectives). Schneider (1996), reviewing a series of papers on personality and work, noted that:
. . . knowing that Conscientiousness correlates with various performance criteria across a wide variety of jobs and in a wide variety of settings is not equivalent with understanding the behaviour that is emitted by those who are conscientious. Campbell (1990) is correct when he notes that we have focused on outcomes of behaviour as correlates of personality (and other predictors) and have relatively little insight into the behaviour that intervenes between the personality and the outcome. In the absence of such information, we have no understanding of the process by which personality becomes reected in outcomes. This lack of information leaves us relatively impotent so far as interventions in the workplace are concerned. ( pp. 291292)

He goes on to point out that It is behaviour, not personality that causes outcomes. This important distinction has been missed in much research on assessment in organisations over the past decade. Future research needs to be guided by better models and by theory. We should be seeking to understand the dynamics of the processes that relate attributes to behaviours, and how behaviours can be shaped to produce outcomes that meet organisational goals. Without demeaning the very real contribution made by the metaanalytic literature, we need to be less driven by the pure empiricism that can characterise such approaches and the concomitant recycling of data from the past, and focus more on building a sound theoretical base from which to model the processes that lead from individual behaviours to organizational effectiveness.

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