The Use of Psychological Tests: A Guide for Management

By Orpen, Christopher | Management Services, March 1998 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The Use of Psychological Tests: A Guide for Management


Orpen, Christopher, Management Services


The field of psychological testing is a controversial one which is little known and understood by the general public. Management are also often at a loss about how to value the advice given by so-called experts in psychological testing. The following short article is an attempt to offer a few guidelines about the possible help that psychological tests may provide.

In the first place, it should be noted that it is impossible to tell whether a certain psychological test will work in a particular situation unless an objective research study has been carried out. When the many studies into this question are carefully examined, it can be seen that for the most part psychological tests do work. By this industrial psychologists simply mean that the use of psychological tests usually results in some significant degree of improvement over other methods.

In this respect, psychological tests are evaluated, not in terms of whether they achieve perfection, but instead whether the ratio of successes to failures in personnel selection is better after using the tests than it was before. For instance, if the labour turnover in a given department has been 25 percent per year among employees placed by previous methods, and it is found that new employees placed by psychological tests consistently show a turnover of only 20 percent per year, and if the expense of administering the testing programme is less than the amount saved by the reduction in labour turnover, then the testing programme would be considered a sound investment - even though it did not achieve perfection in reducing labour turnover to zero. When psychological tests are examined in this light it can definitely be said that they work. However, not all tests or products are equally effective.

Background Questionnaires

The greatest success industrial psychologists have had so far is with the personal background questionnaire or, the weighted application blank in which the applicant is asked about his hobbies, school performance, previous jobs, attitudes towards past experiences etc. However, instead of answering in his own words (as he would in an interview) the applicant checks one of several alternative answers in the questionnaire. There is a growing body of evidence that questionnaires of this nature - if they are developed and analysed in accordance with standard research procedures - can result in the selection of better employees and reduce labour turnover.

In the development of a weighted application blank, the industrial psychologist first determines the extent, if any, of the relationships between responses to the items in the questionnaire (or blank) and some criterion of the employee's success on the job. Items which are shown to be related to the criterion (or criteria), such as industrial productivity for supervisors' ratings, are then weighted to reflect the extent of this relationship and the total questionnaire is 'scored' by summing the weights of responses to the items.

It should be stressed that in the development of such weighted application blanks only those questions are retained which have been proved to be related to the job success.

For instance, a question regarding number of children would only be included if, say, applicants with many children perform much better than applicants with few children (or vice versa). If there is no difference between the performance of applicants with few or many children, this item would be dropped.

It is not possible to structure a weighted application blank that will be usable for all jobs in a given organisation or even for similar jobs in different organisations. Every selection programme presents a unique set of problems with respect to the phrasing of items to be included in the blank and the weighting of responses to these items. However, when weighted application blanks are specially tailored to meet the needs of a specific set of jobs in a given firm, the results are impressive.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Use of Psychological Tests: A Guide for Management
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.