Developing Organizational Simulations
A Guide for Practitioners and Students
Psychology Press – 2003 – 272 pages
Series: Applied Psychology Series
This book provides a concise source of information on effective and practical methods for constructing simulation exercises for the assessment of psychological characteristics relevant to effectiveness in work organizations. Simulation exercises present the examinee with descriptions of complex situations that stimulate aspects of real-world settings and problems. Examinees are required to demonstrate overt behavior in handling the problems presented. The process and/or products of this behavior are observed by trained assessors who observe behavior, classify behaviors into relevant dimensions, and evaluate effectiveness. Simulations can provide assessments of abilities, skills, and competencies not readily measured by other testing techniques.
Developing Organizational Simulations provides practical guidance for defining the attributes to be assessed, constructing the stimulus material, and designing methods for administration and scoring. Several different situational exercises are presented, including business games, leaderless group discussions, in-baskets, one-on-one interaction simulations, and case studies/presentations. Steps to ensure the reliability, validity, and legal defensibility of assessments from simulations are described. In addition, the book presents the use of simulation exercises for the purposes of personnel selection, training, development, and certification. Professional standards and guidelines relevant to the construction of simulation exercises are also covered.
"For those who wish to build a simulation exercise, this is a valuable book. It is designed for the practitioner or student and provides step-by-step procedures for constructing simulations for a variety of purposes: selection, promotion, training and development, and/or research. In adddition, the authors provide a conceptual schema upon which their procedures are based, refer to relevant literature, and provide guidance as to professional, legal, and ethical standards….It is an excellent book and should be useful to the target audience of practitioners and students. It should also be beneficial to researchers needing assessment exercises in their endeavors. It is worth the price."
"Thornton and Mueller-Hanson offer a much-needed, balanced guide for constructing simulation exercises that is based on theory, current research, and best practices. The book exemplifies the scientist-practitioner approach and provides readers with a rich understanding of the issues and challenges associated with developing and implementing simulation exercises. The authors have designed the book in such a way that assessment practitioners (HR staff, assessment center consultants) and students alike will find the content interesting, stimulating, and extremely user friendly. This book offers a value-added supplement to a course in psychometric theory, test construction, or personnel selection. It is a 'must read' for assessment center practitioners."
—Dr. Jeff Kudisch
University of Maryland
"Thornton and Mueller-Hanson's book is a solid guide for HR specialists, consultants, and students alike looking for guidance on how to construct and administer simulation exercises. The text is firmly based on the most current theory and research in the area, as well as the authors' vast experience in constructing simulations in organizations. This is not just another review book--it is truly a practical guide for constructing these types of assessment in the workplace. In addition, the text will serve as an excellent supplement to courses in psychometric theory, test construction, and individual assessment. These fields have been in need of such a book for a long time, and this book is sure to have a great impact."
—Dr. Deborah Rupp
University of Illinois
"The team of four assessors in our group who design assessment activities found the sections on 'fatal errors' and examples of personal experiences very helpful."
Human Resource Manager, Sprint
"This is a great book! I wish this had been around 26 years ago when I began my practice. It will be an asset to practitioners and a valuable teaching aid for students."
—Dr. David Morris
Consultant on Human Resource Management Techniques, Alexandria, Virginia
Contents: Preface. Series Foreword. Part I: Concepts and Principles. Simulation Exercises in Context. Development of Simulations: A Model and Specific Steps. Issues and Specific Tips for Constructing Simulation Exercises. Determining What to Assess: Identifying Dimensions, Exercise Content, and Performance Standards. Part II: Specific Simulation Exercises. Case Study: Analysis Problem. Oral Presentation Exercises. Leaderless Group Discussions: Non-Assigned Roles and Assigned Roles. One-on-One Interaction Simulations: Role Play Exercises. In-Basket Exercises. Oral Fact-Finding Exercises. Business Games. Integrated Simulation Exercises: "A Day-in-the-Life" Arrangements. Part III: Implementation. Training Assessors. Compliance With Professional Guidelines and Standards. Summary. Appendices.