What Are the Alternatives to Honesty Testing?
Different professionals come to the problems associated with employee honesty with different approaches and skills. Accountants tend to emphasize financial control systems including audits. Internal security personnel are likely to stress surveillance and investigation. Organizational behavior specialists may well attempt to improve job satisfaction and foster a climate or culture that promotes honesty.
Honesty testing can be used, as we have noted, in conjunction with these approaches to aid investigations and to measure honesty climate or culture. However, its major purpose is not to cope with problems created by those already hired, but rather to screen out those who are likely to create these problems, so that they never are employed in the first place. It is the alternatives available for this purpose that are considered in this chapter. In addition to polygraph testing these include reference checks, background investigations dealing with such factors as criminal records and credit ratings, drug testing of a physiological nature, application blanks and biodata focused on honesty, integrity interviewing, and personality assessment generally.
The Model Guidelines for Preemployment Integrity Testing ( Association of Personnel Test Publishers, 1991) reviews a number of these alternatives and concludes that "professionally developed integrity tests are the most valid screening method for predicting theft criteria." We propose here to take a deeper look at issues of this kind, in an attempt to achieve a balanced judgment.
For many years the preferred approach in a large number of organizations to identifying problems of theft, alcohol and drug use, sabotage, and violence in