Tag Archives: Survey

Photographs As Items for Assessment – Free Example

Photographs of people in activity is a promising newer area for development of business-relevant assessments that has been in use for years in healthcare.  Originally developed in the Netherlands to help patients suffering from fear of pain when moving the body (kinesiophobia), the University of Maastricht’s website has details on citations and free compressed (zipped file) short version of the main test.

Clearly, this same approach could be used to develop more engaging employee and organizational assessments that may be difficult to fake, have better face validity, and more workplace fidelity than other types of items.  Further, with cheap and even free video sites, video items could also play a bigger role in future assessments.

Consider these possible fruitful examples.

a) Vocational Interest Assessment

Vocational interest tests help people identify career paths for which their interests, values, and aptitudes are particularly suited.  But most all are purely text-based.  What if each career alternative had photographs of the tasks in each job or job family, with video vignettes of major tasks?  Perhaps this could be a fun way to assess what activities and careers would ultimately help the person realize their goals.  Take another look at the picture at the top of this article.  It’s an actual picture from PHODA’s assessment, but couldn’t it represent the task of lifting articles out of a trunk for the job of a taxicab driver?

b) Employee Selection

Cognitive and knowledge-based tests are often used to select new employees, but not nearly as often or instead of the ubiquitous job interview.  What if good instruments could be developed, perhaps with a combination of item types, to include pictures?  People could rate pictures like this one on the degree to which it looks similar to their desk – would you expect highly conscientious people to endorse this picture?

I would guess that highly conscientious and prudent people would be unlikely to indicate that this picture reflects their own office.  Sales Convention pictures would be good for the high-end of extraversion; Police taking down violent offenders for low levels of agreeableness.  The potential for pre-hire selection, especially using to add to Computer-Adaptive Testing item banks is tremendous.

c) Culture & Climate

Static pictures may be difficult to identify that reflect various organizational cultural differences, but videos could certainly be used to assess these. 

As optimistic as I am about the potential for picture-based items to take a larger role in organizational assessment, I recognize there are also downsides.  First, while digital cameras are cheap, actors may not be.  If you can find existing workplaces where you can take these pictures, it may help you avoid hiring actors for static pictures, but perhaps not for videos that could really suffer with amateur actors.

Second, one New Zeland user of the PHODA complains that if the photographs are context-specific, they can loose value in other contexts.  I remember once when I worked for AT&T Microelectronics, we hired Wally Borman to redo his 1970’s era rater training videos because while the content was good, the actors wore sideburns, bell-bottoms and leisure suits.  This was never going to be very persuasive as “cutting edge” to managers in a bleeding-edge semiconductor factory (computer chips).

Do you see the same potential for photograph-based items as The Scientific Leader?

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CFOs Feel Risk Management Practices #1 Root Cause

Poor risk management practices are the top contributing factor to the current financial crisis, according to a study done by an affiliate of CFO Magazine and The Economist, funded by Towers Perrin.  124 CFOs, SVPs, and other finance executives were surveyed September 22, 2008 – the same week that the $700 Billion dollar bailout bill was being sold to congress.  Highlights of the study include the following:
  • 72% were concerned about their firm’s risk management practices, suggesting a need to invest in more effective risk identification, measurement and mitigation actions.
  • 62% blame poor risk management at financial institutions as a major driver of the current crisis.
  • 59% noted the complexity of financial instruments (derivatives) as causing some of the current mess.  To me, this suggests a need for stronger cognitive ability in financial professionals and leaders; and learning to use the more sophisticated stochastic methods of risk management including Real Options, Monte Carlo Simulations, Rasch Measurement, and Computer Adaptive Testing of risk culture, financial skill, and leadership conscientiosness.
  • 55% plan to put their risk management practices under a microscope, from the board down and from the shop floor up

Do your risk management practices address the abilities, skills of finance and leadership professionals in mitigating risk?   Do your Audit and Enterprise Risk Management professionals demonstrate their proficiency at measuring, using modern psychometrics, cultural, employee, and leadership sources of risk and uncertainty?  Are you comfortable with your firm’s ability to detect and mitigate these risks?

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Useful, Free eLearning Creation

I’m fond of the free online tool Udutu to design and develop eLearning. It has great tutorials, based on good educational psychological science, and can be exported in standard formats for deployment either on your own Learning Management System, or in theirs.  I’ve successfully created a Rasch Measurement course, exporting it in SCORM 2004 format, and uploading into a Learning Management System