Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2010:3: A third generation personality test

Lennart Sjöberg ()
Additional contact information
Lennart Sjöberg: Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The development of personality testing in the workplace has undergone three phases. The first generation of tests, such as Cattell’s 16 PF and the British test OPQ, was characterized by complex systems for the description of the personality. These systems were simplified in part by the following generation of the test, which was based on the five factor model but that model was simple only at the horizontal level. Beneath the five main factors were a large number of ancillary factors, usually 30-40 in number. No tests of the first and second generation could effectively handle the problem of impression management, nor did they take into account the effects of mood on the test responses. These and a number of other problems were solved to a great extent in the UPP test, which therefore is proposed to represent the third generation of personality tests. The test features focusing on “narrow” and work-relevant traits, inclusion of a few aggregated variables with the same focus, including two variables especially fitted to the requirement of any given application, an effective and validated method for correction for impression management, extensive treatment of quality of data from each tested person to yield a “warning signal” when results should not be trusted, measurement of current mood at the time of testing which can give another “warning signal”, measurement of attitude towards the test (“face validity”), two types of narrative reports both to the person taking the test and the recruiter/psychologist – one based on normative comparisons and the other on ipsative (within-person) comparisons, measures of work related attitudes which are of value in themselves but can also be used as proxy criteria, greatly facilitating validation work.

Keywords: personality test; impression management; mood; face vaility; data quality

15 pages, First version: March 18, 2010. Revised: July 19, 2012. Earlier revisions: July 13, 2012.

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