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September, 1999

SITUATIONAL
JUDGMENT INVENTORY
(SJI)

STUDY GUIDE

Copyright © 1999 by BellSouth


All rights reserved. Printed in the U.S.A.

AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

BellSouth will consider requests for testing accommodations from individuals covered by the Americans
with Disabilities Act. Documentation of the need for the accommodation may be required
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY (SJI)

Overview
The materials in this review booklet are designed to assist you in preparing for the Situational
Judgment Inventory (SJI) by giving you some insight into the types of questions you will see on the
actual test. The SJI contains descriptions of problem situations that typically happen in large
organizations. These situations deal broadly with matters that involve general management.

Competencies Measured
The SJI measures interpersonal problem solving, communication, and social influence across a
broad range of situations similar to those encountered on the job by entry level managers. The
competencies measured by the SJI are similar to what researchers have called “Tacit Intelligence,”
or in other words “Common Sense” or “Street Smarts.” This is in contrast to the “Book Smarts”
typically measured in cognitive ability tests.

Test Description
You will have 70 minutes to complete the SJI. The SJI presents thirty situations and each problem
has five alternative actions that might be taken to deal with the problem. You are to make two
judgments for each problem.

First, decide which alternative you would MOST LIKELY take in response to the problem. It
might not be exactly what you would do in that situation, but it should be the alternative that comes
closest to what you would actually do.

Second, decide which alternative you would be LEAST LIKELY to take in that situation.

Indicate your responses by placing an “X” over the letter of the alternative, from A to E, on the
corresponding line on your answer sheet, as demonstrated below:

1. Most Likely A B C D E

2. Least Likely A B C D E

A sample test, answer sheet, scoring instructions, and development recommendations for the SJI
are provided on the following pages. To simulate the timed aspect of the test, allow yourself 18
minutes for the 8 problem situations on this practice test. Taking this practice exam will assist you
in preparing for the SJI by giving you further insight into the types of questions you will see on the
actual test, and help focus your review of the basic skills needed to do well on the test.

SJI 2 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST

Answer Sheet
Draw an “X” over the letter representing your Most Likely and Least Likely response to each
situation.

1. Most Likely A B C D E

2. Least Likely A B C D E

3. Most Likely A B C D E

4. Least Likely A B C D E

5. Most Likely A B C D E

6. Least Likely A B C D E

7. Most Likely A B C D E

8. Least Likely A B C D E

9. Most Likely A B C D E

10. Least Likely A B C D E

11. Most Likely A B C D E

12. Least Likely A B C D E

13. Most Likely A B C D E

14. Least Likely A B C D E

15. Most Likely A B C D E

16. Least Likely A B C D E

SJI 3 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST
1. Most Likely Response 2. Least Likely Response

You are going through an especially busy period at work. You have several things going at the
same time and they all demand your attention. You find yourself beginning to lose track of events
and details. You would…

(A) Allocate specific times during the day for certain tasks and work only on them during those
times.

(B) Tell your manager about your heavy workload and ask for some assistance.

(C) Explain your situation to your coworkers and ask for their assistance.

(D) Take a short break to relax and clear your mind before returning to work.

(E) Make a list of things to do, prioritize them, and do them in the order of importance.

3. Most Likely Response 4. Least Likely Response

You have been assigned to take over a six-month project from someone else who recently quit.
There are two months to go on the project and it is three weeks behind schedule. Two other people
are working with you on this project. You would…

(A) Meet with the project team and discuss with them whether you should try to meet the deadline
or get an extension.

(B) Tell the project team you are going to try to make the deadline and ask them to help you
develop a plan that will get the project back on track.

(C) Work as hard as necessary, including overtime, to get the project done by the deadline.

(D) Try to get an extension on the project deadline.

(E) Ask your manager to assign more people to help you complete the project by the deadline.

SJI 4 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST
5. Most Likely Response 6. Least Likely Response

It is early Tuesday afternoon. You are preparing a presentation for senior managers scheduled for
early Wednesday morning. You have about five hours of work left to put the final touches on your
presentation. Suddenly, a major crisis erupts in one of your other assignments. It will take you
about six hours to resolve and it must be resolved by first thing Wednesday morning. You
would…

(A) Resolve the crisis first; then work late that night to put the final touches on your presentation.

(B) Ask your manager to assign you someone to help in resolving the crisis.

(C) Outline a plan for resolving the crisis and get someone else to handle it for you.

(D) Ask the senior managers to reschedule your presentation meeting for a later time.

(E) Resolve the crisis and not bother with final touches to the presentation.

7. Most Likely Response 8. Least Likely Response

You and someone from another department are jointly responsible for coordinating a project
involving both departments. This other person is not carrying out his share of the responsibilities.
You would….

(A) Discuss the situation with your manager and ask him to take it up with the other person’s
manager.

(B) Remind him that you need his help and that the project won’t be completed effectively without
a full team effort from both of you.

(C) Tell him that he is not doing his share of the work, that you will not do it all yourself, and that
if he doesn’t start doing more, you’ll be forced to take the matter to his manager.

(D) Try to find out why he is not doing his share and explain to him that this creates more work for
you and makes it harder to finish the project.

(E) Get someone else from his department to help with the project.

SJI 5 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST
9. Most Likely Response 10. Least Likely Response

Two of your peers (you are not their manager but you all work for the same manager) dislike each
other and are constantly arguing. Their attitude toward each other creates an uncomfortable feeling
of hostility and tension. You would…

(A) Tell your manager about the problem and let him deal with it.

(B) Discuss the problem with your other peers and try to work out a way to deal with this.

(C) Ignore this and do nothing about it.

(D) Talk to each of these people individually and let them know their attitude toward each other is
creating a disturbance.

(E) Encourage them to talk over their differences and try to get them to get along better.

11. Most Likely Response 12. Least Likely Response

Your manager assigns you responsibility for developing a new procedural system that would be
used by three other departments besides your own. The first thing you would do is…

(A) Develop a preliminary outline for the new procedure and present it to members of the other
departments for discussion.

(B) Establish contacts in other departments and identify individual representatives who will work
with you in developing the new procedure.

(C) Learn about specifics of the procedures currently in use in all departments.

(D) Learn about what needs and expectations the departments have for this procedure.

(E) Set up an advisory committee consisting of representatives from other departments who will
review and comment upon the new procedural system that you will develop.

SJI 6 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST
13. Most Likely Response 14. Least Likely Response

While in a meeting with your manager, you learn about a problem related to a project headed up by
one of your coworkers. You are not involved in that project. Later, you have an idea for a way to
resolve the problem, but it would take a couple of days to develop the idea fully and make sure it is
feasible. You would…

(A) Take the time necessary to develop the idea. If it turns out to be feasible, present it directly to
your coworker.

(B) Tell your manager immediately about your idea. Ask her if it would be worthwhile for you to
spend a couple of days developing it.

(C) Tell your coworker immediately about your idea. Offer to help by spending a couple of days to
develop it.

(D) Take the time necessary to develop the idea. If it turns out to be feasible, present it to your
manager.

(E) Tell your coworker immediately about your idea. Give him enough information to let him
develop it if he wishes.

15. Most Likely Response 16. Least Likely Response

You have been counting on someone to look up some information to double-check facts that you
will assume to be true in the next step of your work. The person does not come through, though,
and you do not have the confirmation of your facts as you had planned. You are fairly certain that
your facts are correct and you could proceed without the confirmation. On the other hand, you
could put in about 20 extra hours looking up the confirming information yourself. You would….

(A) Put in the 20 extra hours looking up the information yourself.

(B) Contact the person who was supposed to do this for you and try to get him to look up the
information for you now.

(C) Proceed without the confirmation.

(D) Contact the person who was supposed to do this for you and suggest you share the work
involved in looking up the information.

(E) Ask other people to help you look up the information.

SJI 7 Sep.’99
SCORING INSTRUCTIONS
Using the attached “Score Key”, give yourself the appropriate points for each item response.

Example:

Answer Sheet

Draw an “X” over the letter representing your Most Likely and Least Likely response to each
situation.

1. Most Likely A B C D E

2. Least Likely A B C D E

Score Key
Your
Points

1. Most Likely A B C D E 0

Point value 0 -1 -1 0 +1

2. Least Likely A B C D E +1

Point value 0 +1 +1 0 -1
TOTAL: +1

SJI 8 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST
Score Key
Your
Points

1. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 -1 -1 0 +1

2. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 +1 +1 0 -1

3. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value -1 0 +1 0 0

4. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value +1 0 -1 0 0

5. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value +1 0 +1 -1 -1

6. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value -1 0 -1 +1 +1

7. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value -1 +1 -1 0 -1

8. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value +1 -1 +1 0 +1

9. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 0 -1 +1 +1

10. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 0 +1 -1 -1

SJI 9 Sep.’99
SITUATIONAL JUDGMENT INVENTORY – PRACTICE TEST

Score Key
Your
Points

11. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value -1 +1 0 0 0

12. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value +1 -1 0 0 0

13. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 0 0 -1 +1

14. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value 0 0 0 +1 -1

15. Most Likely A B C D E

Point value +1 +1 -1 +1 0

16. Least Likely A B C D E

Point value -1 -1 +1 -1 0

Total: _____

SJI 10 Sep.’99
How Did I Do?
The Practice Test questions are very similar to—but not the same as—the questions you’ll see on
the real test. Your Practice Test score will give you a good idea of how well you could expect to
do on the real test but of course, only your score on the real test counts.

Find your score level in the table below to get a good idea of how well prepared for the test you are
right now.

If your Practice Test score


was . . . then . . .

11 - 16 Congratulations! You are ready to take the real


test and should have an excellent chance of
qualifying. Although your score on the practice
test indicates that you are ready for the real test,
it probably wouldn’t hurt to review the
development recommendations listed on the
next page to further develop your skills.

6 - 10 You did pretty well, but probably need a little


development. If you took the real test now, you
would have a fair chance of qualifying. Please
refer to the development recommendations
listed on the next page to further develop your
skills.

Below 6 Your score indicates that you need considerable


development on your decision-making skills
before taking the test. Please refer to the
development recommendations listed on the
next page to get ideas on how to start enhancing
your interpersonal problem solving and
decision-making skills.

SJI 11 Sep.’99
SJI: DEVELOPMENT RECOMMENDATIONS
If the results of the SJI indicate that you need development in the areas of interpersonal problem
solving, communication, and social influence, the following are suggestions about where you
might find help in enhancing these skills. Remember that the most valuable way to learn is
through personal and professional activities you’re already involved in.

Work with your supervisor or mentor to identify which of these suggestions would benefit you the
most. Think about how you use these skills and how you can be more effective. Then work with
your supervisor or mentor to customize a plan that meets your specific needs and has specific target
dates for completion, if possible.

Suggestions Appropriate For All Candidates


Successful Manager’s Handbook*
Thinking Skills, pages 709–786
Manage Disagreements, pages 282-296
Communication Skills, pages 121-195
Administrative Skills, pages 78-118
Leadership Skills, pages 299-419
Interpersonal Skills, pages 199-296

Other learning opportunities


• Books, videos and audiotapes (see the list at the end of this section)
• Volunteering in community activities and projects is a good way to gain exposure to changing
plans, different personalities, and multiple priorities.
• Analyze problems from different perspectives. Be as objective as possible, and try to
understand the other people’s reasons for behaving as they do.
• 360 Feedback process
• Conferences, seminars and training classes offered by the American Management Association
(AMA) and similar organizations
• On-line searches using key words
• Identify work problems as they arise in your job. Search for alternative solutions to problems.
Document the problems, list all of the possible solutions, and evaluate them before making a
decision.

*To order this publication, call Personnel Decisions Inc. at 1-800-633-4410.


(BellSouth employees receive a discount.)

SJI 12 Sep.’99
Additional resources for current BellSouth employees:

BellSouth Leadership Institute (BSLI) courses**


• Problem Analysis and Decision Making (MT 817)
• The Consultative Process (MT 128)
• Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (MT 331)
• Constructive Contention/Conflict Resolution (MT 127)
• Managing Interpersonal Relationships (MT 024)
• Enhancing Personal Effectiveness (MT 612)

OPAL/Byte-Sized Learning (http://hris.bis.bls.com/bsli)


• Productivity • Meetings
• Teams • Coaching
• Conflict • Change
• Collaborating • Core Interpersonal Skills
• Performance Management • Delegation

**See your supervisor to enroll in these courses.


If you need a BSLI catalog or have questions about OPAL, call 1-800-828-5676.

SJI 13 Sep. ’99


Here is a list of books, magazines, audiotapes and videotapes that can provide additional
information. While this is NOT a comprehensive or complete list of resources, it is a good
starting point. Look for other sources of information in bookstores, libraries and through
on-line searches of key words.

Books and Magazines


• Creative Decision Making: Using Positive Uncertainty, by H. B. Gelatt (1991)
• The Manager’s Troubleshooter: Pinpointing the Causes and Cures of 125 Tough Day-to-
Day Problems, by Carr and Albright (1997)
• Learning to Manage Conflict; Getting People to Work Together Productively, by D.
Tjosvold (1993)

Audiotapes
• Coping with Difficult People, by R. Bramson (1992)
• Zapp! The Lightning of Empowerment, by W. Byham (1990)
• The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by S. Covey (1989)
• Art of Negotiation, by G. Nierenberg (1989)
• You Can Negotiate Anything, by H. Cohen (1990)

Videotapes
• Assertiveness Training for Professionals, by H. Rhodes
• Looking At It From Every Angle, by R. Mallis
• Styles of Leadership, by Roundtable Films

Development recommendations are continually updated. You can find the latest
recommendations by locating the S J I handbook on the Internet at
http://www.bellsouth.com/employment/test_guides.html

SJI 14 Sep. ’99