Industrial/organization (I/O) psychology focuses on the use of psychological principles to enhance the workplace (for an overview of I/O psychology, see the PowerPoint presentation “Introduction to Industrial/Organizational Psychology (opens in new window)“). Industrial/organization psychologists cover a range of topics (such as sexual harassment, leadership, diversity, motivation, training, justice, etc); but particularly relevant to psychometrics, I/O psychologists also focus on the use of tests for employee selection, job attitudes, fit between personality and work, and evaluating work performance. For example, take the following tests:

Howare these tests utilized in business and industry? A test like the “Fear of Negative Evaluation Scale” might be used to examine employee/supervisor relations or to design an evaluation program that is less threatening to a particular employee. The “Stress Quiz” may be helpful for exploring factors that are interfering with an employee’s productivity or are causing absences from work.


Employee Selection

A common application of pre-employment testing is the use of tests to predict an employee’s successful job performance. For example, when you look at job performance, an employee can be evaluated as either good or poor (based on a particular cutting score). An effective test is one that allows you to correctly predict which applicants will be good compared to the ones that will show poor performance; ideally, a company does not want to waste the time or money on an employee who is unlikely to be successful. When making these types of predictions, there are four possible outcomes:

1.      Employee is good and they are hired.

2.      Employee is good but they are not hired.

3.      Employee is poor but they are hired.

4.      Employee is poor and they are not hired.

  Hits Misses
Good performance Employee is good and they are hired. Employee is good and they are not hired (false negative).
Poor performance Employee is poor and they are not hired. Employee is poor and they are hired (false positive).


  These outcomes (as pictured in the table above) can be depicted as “hits” or”misses”. A “hit” occurs when you make the correct prediction (i.e., good employees are hired and/or poor employees are not hired); a “miss” occurs when you makethe wrong prediction (i.e., a good employee is not hired or a poor employee is hired). “Misses” can be broken down even further into false positives and false negatives. False positives occur when you incorrectly take action (in this case, the false positive would be hiring a poor employee). False negatives are the result of failing to detect a situation in which you should take action (in this case, the false negative is failing to hire the good employee). Acceptable rates for “hits” and “misses” are dictated by the unique situation in which you are using the test.


Personality and Work

Considerable research has been conducted to examine how to best “fit” particular personalities to specific jobs (or job skills). For example, to determine your personality type take a personality test that is similar to the ones utilized by I/O psychologists:

Once you have identified your personality type, you can identify career options that fit your prefered style of interactions, communication, leadership, etc.




As you have read in Chapter 18, Industrial/Organizational psychologists assist in the development of employee selection programs. For this assignment, you will combine the information provided in the textbook along with a presentation provided by the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology in order to examine the use of testing for employee selection. View the PowerPoint show, Employee Selection Programs (opens in new window).

As highlighted by the Society for Industrial/Organizational Psychology presentation, the development of a selection program involves several steps:

1.      Identification of relevant job performance dimensions

2.      Identification of knowledge, skills, abilities (KSAs) necessary for the job

3.      Development and validation of assessment tools and strategies to measure KSAs

For this assignment, imagine that you have been asked to be a member of a committee at UNK that is charged with developing a program to help select new instructors.



Complete the following activities:

  1. Identify four dimensions of an instructor?s job at UNK. If you are having trouble coming up with four dimensions, ask a few of your professors about their work.
  2. Identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required for ONE of the dimensions.
  3. Write descriptive criteria reflecting excellent, adequate, and poor performance on the selected dimension.
  4. Identify at least one tool or strategy by which the selected dimension-specific set of KSAs could be evaluated.


  • Submit as an RTF or Word attachment via the link below.
  • Assignment value is 15 points.



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