Ryne A. Sherman
Chief Science Officer at Hogan Assessment Systems
The Past and Future of Personality Assessment
Abstract (Ryne A. Sherman & Robert Hogan):
Personality assessment began during WWI as a solution to the problem of how accurately and efficiently to screen large numbers of job candidates. Decades of research show that well-validated personality assessments provide the fairest, most accurate, and most efficient way to make personnel decisions. Despite the undeniable practical value of personality assessment, academics substantially disagree about its meaning and goals. For example, trait theory, the dominant academic perspective, contends that traits exist inside of people, that these traits cause behavior, and the goal of assessment is to measure these traits. For this perspective, the two major issues concern: (a) the structure of traits (e.g., Big 5, HEXACO); and (b) faking on assessments. However, other views (e.g., Socioanalytic Theory; Functional perspectives) contend that traits are simply observable patterns in others’ behavior, that these behaviors reflect actors’ agendas, and that the goal of assessment is to predict performance outcomes. For these perspectives, the major issue concerns predicting important outcomes, not understanding trait structure or faking. This talk illustrates the critical difference between these views by highlighting the concept of Ambition, a behavior pattern associated with career success that is curiously missing in Five-Factor Model frameworks. I suggest that trait perspectives ignore this important variable for ideological and not empirical reasons. Finally, I note that deciding whether assessment concerns measuring traits or predicting outcomes will crucially determine the future of assessment.
Ryne A. Sherman, Ph.D., is the Chief Science Officer at Hogan Assessment Systems. Prior to this he was an associate professor of psychology at Florida Atlantic University and Texas Tech University for seven years, teaching personality, social, and IO psychology. He received his B.A. magna cum laude in Psychology and History from Monmouth College and his Ph.D. in Personality / Social Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Sherman is an expert on personality assessment, leadership, and organizational effectiveness. He is co-host of the Science of Personality Podcast which exposes listeners to the latest research on these topics. His research on personality and its interaction with everyday situations was awarded federal support from the National Science Foundation. He has received numerous awards for his research including being names a "Rising Star" in 2016 by the Association for Psychological Science and a SAGE Young Scholars award in 2018.
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