In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Validity

  • Introduction
  • Professional and Legal Guidelines
  • Textbooks and Handbooks
  • Journals
  • History

Management Validity
Neal Schmitt
  • LAST REVIEWED: 28 January 2013
  • LAST MODIFIED: 28 January 2013
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846740-0029


Validity in management research often refers to the use of tests or other selection devices (e.g., interviews, simulations, background data) to make employment or promotion decisions. In this context, validity refers to the accuracy of the inferences we draw from test scores. For example, a manager might infer from a person’s undergraduate GPA of 4.0 that he or she would perform well as a new design engineer. Or, we might infer that a high score on a word-processing exam would mean that an applicant would do well in some secretarial jobs. In contexts other than selection, the degree to which a measure provides appropriate inferences about some behavior also reflects concern about the validity of a measure. For example, we may be concerned with the measurement of commitment to an organization and what implications scores on the commitment measure relate to other aspects of organizational behavior. Validity also refers to the conclusions we draw from various research designs. In this bibliography, we first treat the validity of selection decisions and then, at the end of it, discuss the broader treatment of validity in experimental, quasi-experimental, and observational social science research.

Professional and Legal Guidelines

There are three major sets of guidelines or sets of principles that purport to describe best practice in the development and validation of psychological measures. The guidelines in Equal Employment Commission, et al. 1978 provide a legal prescription for what is required in employment selection. The guidelines in American Educational Research Association, et al. 1999 provide professional or scientific standards for various applications of psychological testing. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and American Psychological Association 2003 provides professional guidelines that are more specifically applicable to employment testing.

  • American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, National Council on Measurement in Education, and Joint Committee on Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association, 1999.

    This is the sixth edition of the document that describes professional standards on the development, validation, and use of psychological measures to which professionals in the educational, organizational, clinical, and measurement communities adhere in their work. The 1999 version of this document is being revised by scientists and practitioners in these disciplines.

  • Equal Employment Commission, Civil Service Commission, Department of Labor, and Department of Justice. Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. Federal Register 43 (1978): 38294–38309.

    This document constitutes guidelines for the development, validation, and use of employee selection procedures. While not legally binding on organizations, this document is often used by courts to determine whether an organization’s selection procedures are or are not discriminatory and whether the procedures are valid. These guidelines have been criticized by professionals since they were written, and they are now considered by many to be obsolete.

  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and American Psychological Association. Principles for the Validation and Use of Personnel Selection Procedures. Bowling Green, OH: Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2003.

    This document was written to specify established scientific findings and generally accepted professional practice in the field of personnel selection. It describes the validation process, sources of validity evidence, operational considerations in personnel selection research, and key considerations in the implementation of selection procedures.

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