Full Text

criterion problem

James T. Austin and Peter Villanova


Patricia Cain Smith (1976) used the term criterion problem to characterize the dilemmas of measuring job performance for multiple purposes. This entry elaborates the problems of criteria using two facets: values and scientific understanding. The term also connotes the difficulty of understanding value‐based constructs. Because criteria represent preferences, they cannot be understood independent of values that “guide” their selection ( Austin and Villanova, 1992 ). This covariation of fact and value leads commentators to emphasize that the problems of criteria are conceptual, not methodological or statistical. Many advise that efforts would be better invested toward careful conceptual analysis to represent a job success construct. Values define the interests and broad goals of different groups. Stakeholder models, with multiple interacting groups having interests in the measurement of performance, help to frame the influence of values. Traditional constituencies are management, employees, unions, and researchers. Viewed in this manner, criteria may serve to augment or weaken the interests of different constituencies. For example, a seniority criterion for promotion decisions may be more consistent with advancement and security interests of organizational members with substantial tenure. Alternatively, a results‐oriented criterion advantages productive members' interests. Part ... log in or subscribe to read full text

Log In

You are not currently logged-in to Blackwell Reference Online

If your institution has a subscription, you can log in here:


     Forgotten your password?

Find out how to subscribe.

Your library does not have access to this title. Please contact your librarian to arrange access.

[ access key 0 : accessibility information including access key list ] [ access key 1 : home page ] [ access key 2 : skip navigation ] [ access key 6 : help ] [ access key 9 : contact us ] [ access key 0 : accessibility statement ]

Blackwell Publishing Home Page

Blackwell Reference Online ® is a Blackwell Publishing Inc. registered trademark
Technology partner: Semantico Ltd.

Blackwell Publishing and its licensors hold the copyright in all material held in Blackwell Reference Online. No material may be resold or published elsewhere without Blackwell Publishing's written consent, save as authorised by a licence with Blackwell Publishing or to the extent required by the applicable law.

Back to Top