Predicting leadership and performance in uniformed organisations using the five factor model of personality
Selection has been primarily focussed on the use of ability and aptitude measures as they have been shown to predict job performance in uniformed organisations. Personality assessment has largely been ignored as a possible contributor to improving predictions of performance. The emergence of the Five Factor Model as a framework for personality research, together with the development of the Trait Self Description Inventory (TSDI), has provided the opportunity to investigate how personality assessment might improve upon existing selection methods to predict performance in training. It was found that existing criterion measures did not fully reflect the core aims of the training organizations. This led to the use of a Leadership Trait Rating Scale as a criterion measure for subsequent investigation of the psychometric properties of the TSDI, and the development of a performance taxonomy. Five studies were carried out. Four of the studies involved soldiers and officers from the British Army as participants. These studies were undertaken to contrast the predictive validity of the Big Five factors against overall and specific areas of performance and to examine the incremental validity of the Big Five factors and their sub factors over general ability measures. The fifth study examined the general isability of the findings using similar data gathered from the Metropolitan Police Service. Contextual factors were found to have great influence on relationships between personality assessment and criterion measures. A novel, robust, two factor leadership model was identified. The first factor represented cognitively orientated leadership traits and the second, personality orientated leadership traits. These factors broadly equated to 'can do' and 'will do' attributes. Overall, the Big Five personality measures predicted no worse than, and, in some cases, as well as, some of the Army's Regular Commissions Board (RCB) dimensions. Big Five sub factors (facets) in certain situations were shown to predict performance better than the Big Five factors. The development potential of personality assessment for improving existing selection systems in uniformed organizations was confirmed by the findings.