The Challenge of Aggregating
Studies of Personality
Mitchell G. Rothstein
R. Blake Jelley
The University of Western Ontario
Individual differences are generally recognized as central concerns to many industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists (Goffin & Helmes, 2000; Mount & Barrick, 1998; Murphy, 1996). In the past decade, there has been a dramatic resurgence of research interest in personality-job performance relations and increased consideration of other noncognitive individual difference variables (Murphy, 1996). Meta-analytic studies are often considered fundamental catalysts of this revival (e.g., Goffin, Rothstein, & Johnston, 2000; Hogan, 1998; Hogan, Hogan, & Roberts, 1996; Hough, 1997; Hough & Oswald, 2000; Irving, 1993; Mount & Barrick, 1995; Murphy, 1996, 2000). Indeed, Barrick and Mount's (1991) meta-analysis was Personnel Psychology's most highly cited article of the 1990s (Mount & Barrick, 1998). A decade after its publication the influence of this work does not appear to be diminishing, as citations to this article have accumulated to almost 400 (Institute for Scientific Information, 2001).
Other personality-job performance meta-analyses published in the early 1990s (i.e., Hough, 1992; Hough, Eaton, Dunnette, Kamp, & McCloy, 1990; Tett, Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991) have received interest and stimulated discussion that has “illustrated that there are complex methodological and theoretical issues that must be considered when conducting research in this area” (Mount & Barrick, 1998, p. 853). In this chapter, discussed are the key challenges and