The Renaissance of Personality Testing at Work
The rise and fall of personality psychology has been occurring for more than 40 years. Scientists of the 1960s such as B. F. Skinner and Victor Vroom believed that employee actions are dependent upon external circumstances, not internal drivers. The dismissing of the effects of personality traits hasn't been only by the academics from 40 years ago. Skepticism of personality psychology continued throughout the 1970s and 1980s, and even drew fire from the evolutionists of the 1990s. Regardless of the noise, there has been progress in building empirical, scientific evidence on which to base best HR practices in the use of personality tests in employment situations.
Trait theories—when used as stand-alone theories—were flawed in that factors such as honesty or friendliness were studied only as descriptors of personality differences; they lacked causal relationships to explain behavior (Hogan 2004). For HR this was troubling, because practitioners could not use personality traits to explain, and therefore predict, future behavior on the job. As a result, trait-based personality descriptions in the workplace were viewed as being limited in value and, worse, having low validity.
As the discipline of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology has become better organized, a renewed effort to understand personality and its effect on the job has emerged. The focus of these efforts has been to expand beyond ...