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The impact of the test-taking context on responding to personality measures

Hoft, H. (2008) The impact of the test-taking context on responding to personality measures.

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Abstract:At first, this article reviews the controversial existent literature on personality testing in selection contexts. Examples of studies conducted by authors who believe that personality instruments lack validity are given, as well as studies by researchers who concluded the opposite and recommend their use as a selection instrument. A current discussion evoked by the publication of an article by Morgeson et al. on the occasion of a panel discussion at the 2004 SIOP conference in Chicago on exact this issue is summarized. Besides, a study which focuses on faking personality measures in selection settings is presented. The research sample consists of 922 data-sets referring to a Dutch ICT Service Organisation. The scores on two personality measures are compared in two different contexts: selection and development. The used measures, the Workplace Big Five and the Connector P, are both online instruments that give global insight into a candidate’s personality and his/her disposition for developing certain competencies. The 144 and 82 items respectively, refer to behaviour that is relevant for the work situation, based on the Big Five personality model with its basic characteristics Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The results of the conducted study show that applicants, compared to non-applicants, tend to inflate their scores significantly on certain Big Five factors. The effect sizes are the highest for Conscientiousness with d-values up to 0.94 standard deviations and independent of variables as occupation and gender. If applicants manipulate their scores on the other Big Five factors mainly depends on their occupation. It seems like respondents are aware of the demands of the desired job and adjust their scores accordingly.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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