Using Web-based frame-of-reference training to decrease biases in personality-based job analysis: An experimental field study

Aguinis, H., Mazurkiewicz, M. D., & Heggestad, E. D.
Personnel Psychology Summer2009, Vol. 62 Issue 2, p. 405-438.

We identify sources of biases in personality-based job analysis (PBJA) ratings and offer a web-based frame-of-reference (FOR) training program to mitigate these biases. Given the use of job analysis data for the development of staffing, performance management, and many other human resource management systems, using biased PBJA ratings is likely to lead to a workforce that is increasingly homogenous in terms of personality, but not necessarily a workforce with improved levels of performance. We conducted a field experiment (i.e., full random assignment) using two independent samples of employees in a city government and found evidence in support of the presence of biases as well as the effectiveness of the proposed solution. Specifically, FOR training was successful at decreasing the average correlation between job incumbents’ self-reported personality and PBJA ratings from .27 to .07 (administrative support assistants) and from .30 to .09 (supervisors). Also, FOR training was successful at decreasing mean PBJA ratings by d = .44 (administrative support assistants) and by d = .68 (supervisors). We offer the entire set of web-based FOR training materials for use in future research and applications.