bdphd BlogPersonal meanderings

True believers in personality assessments as tools to categorize and judge employees and students are about to have their convictions and practices challenged in an upcoming HBO documentary, Persona.

In short, the personality assessments used in business and academic settings are based on false assumptions of personality, use the Barnum Effect to increase employer and employee acceptance, and are about as valid as horoscopes.

An essential point that HR organizations should note before the lawsuits start: Personality assessments are useful as tools for self-reflection and team building. However, according to the documentary (and volumes of research), using personality assessments to make decisions about people is dangerous, harmful, and discriminatory.

Enjoy the trailer...


Bling for your critical thinking hat

Here's some bling for our critical thinking hats, a collection of articles, research findings, and books that can help us consider ethical applications of personality assessments in the workplace. In short, personality assessments are fun tools for self-reflection and team building. However, using them to categorize and judge people can be counter-productive, harmful, and discriminatory.

Essential point: Typical workplace personality assessments assume that personality is fixed and that an individual's personality must match the profile of a job if they are to be successful and happy. Contrarily, research shows that personality is malleable and contextual, so assessments that assume personality is fixed cannot predict an individual's performance and satisfaction in a job.

Resources on personality and personality tests


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