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General performance factors and group differences in assessment center ratings

Anne Buckett (Precision ACS, Pretoria, South Africa)
Jürgen Reiner Becker (Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa)
Gert Roodt (Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 8 May 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to establish the extent of general performance factors (GPF) in assessment center (AC) exercises and dimensions. The study further aims to determine if larger GPF contributes to larger ethnic group differences across exercises and dimensions that are more cognitively loaded in an emerging market context.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed data across three independent AC samples (Sample 1: N=172; Sample 2: N=281; Sample 3: N=428). The Schmid-Leiman solution was used to determine the extent of GPF in AC exercises and dimensions. An independent samples t-test and Cohen’s d was used to determine the size of ethnic group differences across exercises and dimensions.

Findings

The results indicate that GPF is consistently large for the in-basket exercise. Furthermore, dimensions that are more cognitively loaded, such as problem solving, strategic thinking, and business acumen, seem to produce the largest ethnic group differences. Overall, the research indicates that larger GPF is associated with larger ethnic group differences in relation to specific AC dimensions and exercises.

Originality/value

The authors add to the literature by investigating the prevalence of a GPF in AC ratings across AC exercises and dimensions. A novel contribution of the research attempts to link the prevalence of a GPF in AC ratings to group membership in South Africa. The study offers an alternative statistical analysis procedure to examine GPF in AC ratings.

Keywords

Citation

Buckett, A., Becker, J.R. and Roodt, G. (2017), "General performance factors and group differences in assessment center ratings", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 298-313. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-08-2016-0264

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited