This article contributes to the understanding of why the use of a frame-of-reference leads to increased criterion-related validity of personality inventories. Two competing explanations are described and tested. A between-subjects (N = 337) and a within-subject (N = 105) study are conducted to test the hypothesized effects of use of a frame of reference on reliability and validity. Regarding the effects on reliability, use of a frame of reference reduces within-person inconsistency (instead of between-person variability) in responding to generic items. Use of a frame of reference further leads to higher validity as a result of the reduction of between-person variability and within-person inconsistency. Yet, reducing these inconsistencies is not enough. It is also important to use a frame of reference that is conceptually relevant to the criterion. Besides implications for contextualized personality inventories, these results provide an explanation for the moderate validities of generic personality inventories.
Frame of reference, personality scales, criterion-related validity, reliability, item responding
Organizational Behavior and Theory | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Organisational Behaviour and Human Resources
Journal of Applied Psychology
American Psychological Association
LIEVENS, Filip; DE CORTE, W; and SCHOLLAERT, E.
A closer look at the frame-of-reference effect in personality scale scores and validity. (2008). Journal of Applied Psychology. 93, (2), 268-279. Research Collection Lee Kong Chian School Of Business.
Available at: http://ink.library.smu.edu.sg/lkcsb_research/5599
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