Basic Psychometric Properties of a Preemployment Honesty Test: Reliability, Validity, and Fairness
DENNIS S. JOY
The general purpose of the Personnel Selection Inventory (PSI) is to identify job applicants who are likely to exhibit counterproductive behaviors on the job that hinder, deter, or detract from normal job productivity or company profitability. The PSI Honesty scale was specifically designed to measure employment applicants' attitudes toward theft and the likelihood they would engage in theft on the job. It is one of the leading integrity tests in terms of both quality and quantity of scientific research (cf. O'Bannon et al., 1989; Sackett, Burris & Callahan, 1989).
The PSI is the result of over 15 years of research by psychologists, criminologists, and legal experts. This research shows that typical employee thieves have a certain cluster of attitudes, values, and beliefs about theft that clearly distinguish them from employees who do not engage in theft. Employees who steal tend to view themselves as average people in a basically dishonest world. These individuals project their own dishonesty and thus see theft as prevalent. This allows them to rationalize that everyone steals, so they feel they are acting according to accepted norms. The typical dishonest employee is also more tolerant of theft in others and holds less punitive attitudes about theft. Dishonest employees are more tempted to steal, ruminate more about theft-related activities, exhibit more interthief loyalty, and more readily accept common rationalizations for their theft. The PSI Honesty scale measures these attitudinal predispositions.