Work Sample Selection Tests and Expected Reduction in Adverse Impact: A Cautionary Note

10 Pages Posted: 24 May 2005

See all articles by Philip Bobko

Philip Bobko

Gettysburg College - Department of Management

Philip L. Roth

Clemson University - Department of Management

Maury A. Buster

State of Alabama - Personnel Department

Abstract

Almost all book chapters, review articles, and textbooks in the field of personnel selection suggest that work sample tests are associated with lower levels of ethnic group adverse impact than paper-and-pencil tests of cognitive ability. However, the empirical literature is heavily dependent on adverse impact estimates obtained from incumbent samples rather than applicant samples. As such, parameter estimates are subject to range restriction from prior selection and on-the-job experiences. Further, an emerging consensus in the selection literature indicates that any method of assessment can be associated with high low levels of adverse impact - depending on the nature of the construct(s) being measured. To begin to examine these issues, we present two recent sets of applicant data from public sector jobs (for a management and entry-level job, each with technical and interpersonal skill requirements) and show that adverse impact of work sample exams might be more extensive than realized. We discuss the mismatch between what the field of employee selection "knows" and what is said in articles/summaries about work samples. Employers and other practitioners who depend on advice in academic overview articles may be overly optimistic and eventually disappointed by minimal reduction in adverse impact. Implications for workforce diversity and future research needs are also discussed.

Suggested Citation

Bobko, Philip and Roth, Philip L. and Buster, Maury A., Work Sample Selection Tests and Expected Reduction in Adverse Impact: A Cautionary Note. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=679123

Philip Bobko (Contact Author)

Gettysburg College - Department of Management ( email )

Campus Box 0395
Glatfelter Hall, Room 413
Gettysburg, PA 17325
United States
717.337.6983 (Phone)

Philip L. Roth

Clemson University - Department of Management ( email )

101 Sirrine Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
United States
864-656-2015 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://business.clemson.edu/Managemt/faculty/l3_fac_Roth.html

Maury A. Buster

State of Alabama - Personnel Department

64 North Union Street, Room 300
Montgomery, AL 36130
United States
334 242-3389 (Phone)
334 242-1110 (Fax)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
17
Abstract Views
1,631
PlumX Metrics