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Seibt, Tatjana (2006): Intuitiver und rationaler kognitiver Stil bei der Personalauswahl: Experimentelle Untersuchungen zu kognitiven Stilen bei der Personalauswahl. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences
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Abstract

Personnel selection has been criticised by scientific researchers for its intuitive interpersonal perception (e.g. Guion, 1998, Obermann, 2002 etc.). Despite extensive scientific research in organizational setting (Mell, 1988; Schuler, 2001 etc.), Human Resource practitioners attribute their successful decisions to intuition (Nowicki & Rosse, 2002). In the Studies 1 to 4, personnel decisions made by the participants with different cognitive styles were tested. Participants were asked to select the best candidate based on his resume and recommendations (Study 1). The candidates had to be evaluated after the structured interview (Study 2) or after the group discussion during the Assessment Center (Study 4). Participants also had the possibility to decide using the scores of the candidates achieved during the Assessment Center (Study 3). The results of the first four studies revealed that the intuitive cognitive style was very successful in situations when working with information (e.g. scores, resumes). This finding supports opinions of the organizational practitioners (Agor, 1989 etc.). At the same time, intuitive interpersonal judgment (e.g. observation) was significantly worse than rational. This finding supports the recommendations of organizational psychologists to use standardized methods (e.g. personality tests and structured interviews). One explanation of these findings is that intuitive participants have a higher confirmation-bias than rational participants, which was found to influence negatively successful decision making (e.g. Kray & Galinski, 2003). Intuitive participants showed higher confirmation bias than rational participants, especially in the step-by-step procedure. Rational articipants were interested in the controversial information, but not when asked to decide spontaneously. Alternative explanation of these considers the learning style preferences of the intuitive and rational participants. Rational participants tend to use Realistic Observation, which might explain their good observer qualities. Intuitive participants tend to use Active Experimentation and might handle data with ease, in comparison to the rational participants. Studies 3 and 4 continued investigation on the intuitive and rational decision making in different stages of the personnel selection. Intuitive decision makers were found to be better when handling with big amounts of partially missing, irrelevant information or handling scores of the standardized procedures. They also had higher preferences for cognitive bias and selecting the recommendations supporting their opinion then opposite to it. This could be explained by their learning style preferences – active and pragmatic. Looking for new things and implementing findings. Rational decision makers were more theoretical and looking for controversial information, except for the situations when under stress or forced to make a decision. In this case, similar to the intuitive participants, they also tend to search for consistent information. In the Study 5, we have measured the performance evaluation of groups with rational and intuitive cognitive styles, as well as heterogeneous groups. The findings supported the results of the previous studies (e.g. Armstrong & Priola, 2001) that intuitive groups are more successful when working in the natural conditions. Intuitive members come along with each other and don’t report difficulties even when working in the virtual environment. Heterogeneous groups reported no difficulties in the mutual work or communication with each other. In sum, we have studied the influence of the intuitive and rational style on the personnel decisions made when using different personnel selection methods (application screening, employment interview, Assessment Center, recommendations). We have also studied the mutual work of the participants with different cognitive styles.