Implications of trait-activation theory for evaluating the construct validity of assessment center ratings

Stephanie Haaland, Neil D. Christiansen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations

Abstract

Assessment centers have often been criticized for lacking evidence supporting the construct validity of dimension ratings. This study examines whether the poor convergence of assessment center ratings is a result of correlating ratings from exercises that differ in the extent that behavior relevant to personality traits can be observed. Using data from a promotional assessment center for law enforcement officers (n = 79), the convergence of assessment center ratings was evaluated within the context of the five factor model by comparing the average within-dimension correlation of ratings from exercises that allowed for more opportunity to observe trait-relevant behavior to the average of those involving exercises where there was less opportunity. For each personality trait, ratings from exercises judged by experts to be high in trait-activation potential displayed stronger convergence (mean r = .30) than did ratings from exercises that were low in activation potential for that trait (mean r = .15). Implications for evaluating the construct validity of assessment centers are discussed along with future directions for classifying exercises based on situational similarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-163
Number of pages27
JournalPersonnel Psychology
Volume55
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2002

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