Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

An Investigation of the Predictive Validity and Economic Utility of the Assessment Center for the High-Management Level

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science

An Investigation of the Predictive Validity and Economic Utility of the Assessment Center for the High-Management Level

Article excerpt


Final ratings on twenty - five assessment dimensions were obtained for 382 candi dates for high level management positions in an Israeli corporation. They were determined by a n assessment center process, two overall clinically derived assessment scores and an overall mechanically derived assessment score. For 49 of the assessees, scores were also available o n a battery of paper - and - pencil cognitive tests administered at the preemployment stage. F or all candidates, data were obtained on two criterion measures over a period of four years.

In contrast to previous assessment center research, both the general intell igence rating formulated in the assessment center and the scores on the cognitive tests were f ound to be predictively invalid, while the personality measure proved valid. Despite the m odest coefficients of predictive validity found for the other assessment center predictors, the eco nomic utility analysis performed with an amended formula demonstrated a considerable cost - ef fectiveness for the assessment center program.

Implications of the findings are discussed with a focus on the practical an d economic value of the assessment center.


Trois cent quatre - vingt - deux candidats a des postes de cadre superieur dans une societe israelienne ont ete soumis a une evaluation finale fondee sur 25 dimensions reliees a l'emploi. Ces evaluations ont ete produites a l'aide d'un processus utilise dans un centre d'evaluation, de deux notes globales obtenues c liniquement et d'une note globale calculee mecaniquement. On disposait aussi des resultats d'une batterie de tests cognitifs papier - crayon qui avaient ete administres a 49 can didats avant leur embauchage. Dans le cas de tous les candidats, des donnees ont ete recueillies en mesurant deux criteres sur une periode de quatre ans.

Contrairement aux autres recherches sur les centres d'evaluation, l'evaluat ion de l'intelligence globale produite par le centre d'evaluation et les notes obtenues par les candidats aux tests cognitifs se sont revelees non valides sur le plan predictif, ce qui n 'a pas ete le cas de la mesure de la personnalite. Malgre les coefficients peu eleves de la validite predictive, etablis pour les autres predicteurs du centre d'evalu ation, l'analyse de l'utilite economique effectuee au moyen d'une formule modifiee a demontre l'importante rentabilite du programme du centre d'evaluation.

Il est question des implications des conclusions de la recherche et, tout p articulierement, de la valeur pratique et economique des centres d'evaluation.

Since the early 1970s, assessment centers have been a popular method for gauging an individual's chances of performing successfully in a managerial position. This trend can be attributed to the assessment center's ability to yield a more accurate and riche r description of the applicant's qualities than traditional procedures such as the interview, pap er - and - pencil psychological tests, graphology. In addition to examining skills and aptitudes, the assessment center also simulates the candidate's ability to adjust to a number of situation s he or she is likely to confront in the organization.

These advantages notwithstanding, no scientific conclusions can be drawn un less it can be shown empirically that they are supported by convincing evidence. For this reas on, a central question regarding assessment centers has constantly been raised: Do they reall y predict later performance on the job?

Given the importance of this question, it is no wonder that so many studies have investigated the predictive validity of the assessment center (e.g., Borman, 1982; Hinrichs, 1978; Konz, 1988; Moses and Boehm, 1975; Outcalt, 1988; Tziner and Dolan, 1982). Most of th e existing research, however, employed either contaminated criteria such as career progress (Moses and Boehm, 1975) or salary progress (Bray and Grant, 1966; Mitchel, 1975), or subjec tive criteria such as supervisor ratings (Outcalt, 1988; Tziner, 1984). …

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