This study used trait activation theory as a theoretical framework to conduct a large-scale test of the interactionist explanation of the convergent and discriminant validity findings obtained in assessment centers. Trait activation theory specifies the conditions in which cross-situationally consistent and inconsistent candidate performances are likely to occur. Results obtained by aggregating correlations across 30 multitrait-multimethod matrices supported the propositions of trait activation theory, shedding a more positive light on the construct validity puzzle in assessment centers. Overall, convergence among assessment center ratings was better between exercises that provided an opportunity to observe behavior related to the same trait, and discrimination among ratings within exercises was generally better for dimensions that were not expressions of the same underlying traits. Implications for assessment center research and practice are discussed.
Assessment centers, trait activation, convergent validity, discriminant validity
Organizational Behavior and Theory | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Journal of Applied Psychology
American Psychological Association
LIEVENS, Filip Rene O; CHASTEEN, CS; DAY, EA; and CHRISTIANSEN, ND.
Large-scale investigation of the role of trait activation theory for understanding assessment center convergent and discriminant validity. (2006). Journal of Applied Psychology. 91, (2), 247-258. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5577
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