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1. Select on Intelligence

Frank L. Schmidt and John E. Hunter

Subject Business and Management » Organizational Behavior

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631215066.2003.00002.x


Other things equal, higher intelligence leads to better job performance on all jobs. Intelligence is the major determinant of job performance, and therefore hiring people based on intelligence leads to marked improvements in job performance – improvements that have high economic value to the firm. This principle is the subject of this chapter. This principle is very broad: it applies to all types of jobs at all job levels. Until a couple of decades ago, most people believed that general principles of this sort were impossible in personnel selection and other social science areas. It was believed that each organization, work setting, and job was unique and that it was not possible to know which selection methods would work on any job without conducting a study on that job in that organization. This belief, called the theory of situational specificity, was based on the fact that different validity studies in different organizations appeared to give different results. However, we now know that these “conflicting findings” were mostly due to statistical and measurement artifacts and that some selection procedures have high validity for predicting performance on all jobs (e.g. intelligence) and others do a poor job of predicting performance on any job (e.g. graphology) ( Schmidt and Hunter, 1998 ). This discovery was made possible by new methods, called meta-analysis or validity generalization ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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