The following is a paper by a fellow Ph.D. classmate, Andy Schumacher, on the challenges of applying psychometric personality instruments in Cross-Cultural I-O Psychology. Andy is currently an adjunct professor at Daemen College and the marketing manager at Ivoclar Vivadent Inc.
The continuing globalization of workplaces, workforce, and technology demands of organizational leaders to become cross-culturally competent. The influence of personality as one of the elements shaping the potential for effective international leadership, motivation, and performance appears undeniable. Assessing personality traits within a cross-cultural context using a valid and reliable framework would therefore provide significant benefit when comparing and selecting managers for global, expatriate assignments. The revised NEO Personality Inventory Test (NEO PI-R), a broadly accepted psychometric tool to assess personality dimensions along the five factor model (FFM), will therefore be evaluated to showcase the challenges of applying psychometric measurement tools in cross-cultural I/O psychology. Particular focus of the discussion will rest on possibly existing cultural influences on both validity and reliability of items, scales, and test scores derived from NEO PI-R. It is hypothesized that, such differences will not reduce the tools validity and reliability, if the overall construct of leadership personality and its relevant personality dimensions maintain convergent validity with other, valid cross-cultural research findings (e.g. Hofstede’s framework of cultural implications on leadership and motivation).
The paper points out that, while psychometric testing can offer insights into personality, attitudes, and behavior in the workplace, it is also important to make sure that these psychometric instruments take a multicultural perspective. Andy aptly noted,
“As psychometric tools are often used in predicting employee behavior on the job, their administration should only be performed if test users and their clients are completely informed about the tool’s obvious limitations, as only then can score interpretations avoid the causing of harm of test takers.”
-Andy Schumacher, MBA
Download the paper here:
For those interested in contacting Andy, you can email him at: andschumacher (at) gmail (dot) com