Which Personality Attributes Are Most Important in the Workplace

El profesor Paul Sackett, catedrático en la Universidad de Minnesota, es un reconocido experto en Psicología de las Organizaciones y en Metodología. Con motivo de su visita en Madrid para participar como conferenciante en el VII Seminario de la Cátedra MAP, impartirá también una charla sobre su investigación actual, el día 25 de Junio, jueves, en dos sesiones, en horario de 16:00 a 18:00 horas en el Seminario 1 de la Facultad de Psicología de la UAM. Resumen de las dos sesiones de la conferencia: Which Personality Attributes Are Most Important in the Workplace?
Employees face a variety of work demands that place a premium on personal attributes, such as
the degree to which they can be depended on to work independently, deal with stress, and
interact positively with coworkers and customers. We examine evidence for the importance of
these personality attributes using research strategies intended to answer three fundamental
questions, including (a) how well does employees' standing on these attributes predict job
performance?, (b) what types of attributes do employers seek to evaluate in interviews when
considering applicants?, and (c) what types of attributes are rated as important for performance
in a broad sampling of occupations across the U.S. economy? We summarize and integrate
results from these three strategies using the Big Five personality dimensions as our organizing
framework. Our findings indicate that personal attributes related to Conscientiousness and
Agreeableness are important for success across many jobs, spanning across low to high levels
of job complexity, training, and experience necessary to qualify for employment. The strategies
lead to differing conclusions about the relative importance of Emotional Stability and
Extraversion. We note implications for job seekers, for interventions aimed at changing standing
on these attributes, and for employers.
Assessment Centers vs. Cognitive Ability Tests: Challenging the
Conventional Wisdom on Criterion-Related Validity
Separate meta-analyses of the cognitive ability and assessment center literatures report higher
validity for cognitive ability tests in predicting job performance. We instead focus 17 samples in
which both assessment center and cognitive ability scores are obtained for the same examinees
and used to predict the same criterion. We thus control for differences in job type and in criteria
that may have affected prior conclusions. In contrast to Schmidt and Hunter's (1998) metaanalysis, reporting mean validity of .51 for ability and .37 for assessment centers, we found mean
validity of .16 for ability and .31 for assessment centers; values corrected to unreliability in the
criterion are .21 for ability and .40 for assessment centers. We posit that two factors contribute to
the differences in findings: a) assessment centers being used on populations already restricted
on cognitive ability, and b) the use of less cognitively-loaded criteria in assessment center
validation research.