The Psychology of Assessment Centers
Edited by Duncan Jackson, Charles E. Lance, Brian Hoffman
Routledge – 2012 – 360 pages
Research on the reliability and validity of assessment centers (ACs) has been ongoing for at least 50 years and continues to this day. The assessment center method is a technique or process that is used to assess individual performance and potential. One of the most heavily researched topics over the last 30 years has been the internal structure of AC ratings that assessors make on rating dimensions after the completion of each exercise. This volume, with contributions from experts from around the world, looks at Dimension-Based Assessment Centers, Task-Based Assessment Centers, and Mixed-Model Assessment Centers. All three perspectives are presented in different sections, and a summary of these diverse perspectives is given at the end of the book.
“By giving equal time to three different perspectives on how assessment centers function, the editors have produced a balanced volume that melds theoretical perspectives with over 50 years of research and practice. But don’t expect to find an undisputed winner of this three-way debate. The book isn’t so much a dogfight as a mind bender. Besides reviewing past and present work, the combined chapters reveal important implications of each point of view for assessment center science and practice. This book should keep both researchers and practitioners awake at night, planning forays into exciting new directions for assessment centers.” - Ann Howard, Former Chief Scientist, Development Dimensions International
"In a number of ways, this book represents what the scientist-practitioner model is supposed to be. First, the problem it addresses is practically and theoretically important. Why do measures of managerial behavior show patterns at odds with what we expect given our intuitive understanding of why some people are better managers? More generally, why are behaviors so inconsistent across apparently similar situations? Second, the problem is connected to psychological theory and data analysis in an analytical way. That is, authors of this volume ask questions about the most meaningful way to analyze and interpret measures of managerial behavior. Third, the content of assessment centers connects in fruitful ways academics that are puzzling over reasons for the results with practitioners who are using the results to make decisions about managerial candidates’ careers. This book is an excellent read for anyone interested in the psychology of managerial performance." - Michael T. Brannick, Psychology Department, University of South Florida
"The various chapters address the basic and applied research issues by examining the underlying structures and processes involved in the assessment center method. This book is an important contribution to the field and a valuable reference for both researchers and practitioners." - Professor David Chan, Director of Behavioural Sciences Institute, Singapore Management University
"For twenty years, the topic of Assessment Center construct validity has been of interest to scientists as well as practitioners. Are trait-like dimensions an adequate manner of assessment or should candidates just be evaluated according to their performance in different exercises? In this new volume, advocates of both sides present their positions and data. Moreover, syntheses are suggested and discussed to combine the best of both approaches. All this is done at high levels of competency and in a legible, informative way. Congratulations to the editors for bringing together such an excellent group of contributors to discuss this important topic!" - Heinz Schuler, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Hohenheim
"Overall, I found this to be an enlightening and readable presentation of an important focus for research and practice within organizations. People who are interested in getting to grips with the practical and methodological underpinnings of individual assessment for organizational management would do well to engage with this book." -Arthur Poropat, Griffith University
Part One: A Context for Assessment Centers. What Are Assessment Centers And How Can They Enhance Organizations, Nigel Povah and Lucy Povah. One History of the Assessment Center, Scott Highhouse and Kevin P. Nolan. Methods and Data Analysis for Assessment Centers, David J. Woehr, John P. Meriac and Mark C. Bowler. Core Debates in Assessment Center Research: Dimensions ‘versus’ Exercises, Filip Lievens and Neil Christiansen. Part Two: Dimension-Based Assessment Centers. Dimension-Based Assessment Centers: Theoretical Perspectives, Winfred Arthur, Jr. How to Apply a Dimension-Based Assessment Center, Paul G. W. Jansen. Research Into Dimension-Based Assessment Centers, George C. Thornton III and Deborah E. Rupp. Part Three: Task-Based Assessment Centers. Task-Based Assessment Centers: Theoretical Perspectives, Duncan J. R. Jackson. How to Design and Implement a Task-Based Assessment Center, Carl J. Thoresen and Joseph D. Thoresen. Research into Task-Based Assessment Centers, Charles E. Lance. Part Four: Mixed-Model Assessment Centers. Dimensions AND Exercises: Theoretical Background of Mixed-Model Assessment Centers, Klaus G. Melchers, Andreja Wirz and Martin Kleinmann. How to Apply a Mixed-Model Assessment Center, Jurgen Bank, Sarah Brock, Anuradha Ramesh and Joy Hazucha. Exercises, Dimensions, and the Great Battle of Lilliput: Evidence for a Mixed Model Interpretation of AC Performance, Brian J. Hoffman. Part Five: A Summary of Three Perspectives on Assessment Centers. Dimensions, Tasks, and Mixed Models: An Analysis of Three Diverse Perspectives on Assessment Centers, Walter C. Borman.