Frequently Asked Questions
Tell me more about the Five-Factor Model and the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™.
The Five-Factor Model, the gold standard for personality assessment, originated in the psychological and academic communities. It is an empirical assessment derived from applying factor analysis (a statistical technique) to common language descriptors of personality. The Five Factors generalize across subjects, observers, variables, factor-analytic algorithms, languages, and cultures (see for example, McRae & Costa, 1997). WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ is grounded in this foundational work, dividing personality into 5 supertraits (Need for Stability, Extraversion, Originality, Accommodation, and Consolidation) and 23 underlying subtraits for an assessment that it is richly detailed but still accessible and applicable in the modern workplace.
What languages is the WorkPlace offered in?
We offer the WorkPlace assessment in:
My company has been using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (or DISC, etc.) and is satisfied. Why should we change?
The Five-Factor Model is the dominant model of personality in both academic research and applied contexts. It is both psychometrically robust and empirically related to a wide range of behavioral and social outcomes including performance at work (Bouchard & McGue, 2003; Hough & Oswald, 2000). While types-based assessments can provide some helpful insights, assessments grounded in the Five-Factor Model such as the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ offer greater depth and insights in a cohesive reporting framework. Simply put, the Five-Factor Model addresses an individual’s uniqueness in a profoundly insightful way that many other assessments do not.
How do organizations and consultants use the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™?
Primary applications for consultants and organizations include:
- Team building
- Leadership development
- Succession planning
- Management/supervisory training
- Career development
- Sales training
- Conflict management
- OD interventions
How accurate and reliable is the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™?
Accurate, reliable tests get consistent results when the tests are repeated. Reliability can decline with time, however, because experience, context, and maturational factors can influence participant responses to behavioral questions.
We have taken several different approaches to assess the reliability of the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™
- Short-term test/retest: In a short-term test/retest, the assessment is first administered at one point in time and then administered again to the same individuals one to three months later. Well-constructed tests should yield short-term test/retest reliabilities approaching .90. Previous internal research yielded an average short-term test/retest reliability of .88 for the WorkPlace supertraits.
- Long-term test/retest: In a long-term test/retest study, the assessment is first administered at one point in time and then administered again to the same individuals one to three years later. Well-constructed tests should yield long-term test/retest reliabilities of .70 or higher. Previous internal research yielded an average long-term test/retest reliability of .72 for the WorkPlace supertraits.
- Coefficient alpha: Perhaps the most common measure of reliability is the coefficient alpha (often referred to as Cronbach’s alpha). The coefficient alpha measures the degree to which a set of scale or test items are answered consistently. Alpha values of .70 are generally considered acceptable and satisfactory; alphas below .50 are usually not acceptable. Alpha values above .80 are regarded as quite strong. Alpha values above .90 reflect exceptional internal consistency although scores this high can also indicate that the scale items measuring the construct are too similar. The mean WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ subtrait coefficient alpha is .72 and the mean supertrait coefficient alpha of .83, both in line with established industry performance standards. Moreover, the application of more recent statistical innovations in reliability measurement places the subtrait and supertrait mean reliabilities at .77 and .88, respectively.
Reliability is a key component for assessment success and Paradigm’s on-going research efforts ensure that the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ will remain among the strongest, most robust, and impactful assessments on the market.
Is the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ legally approved for hiring and selection?
Absolutely. While developing the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™, employment attorneys thoroughly reviewed the test to ensure it was legally appropriate for hiring and selection.
There are only two reasons that courts might find fault with using personality trait assessments for hiring: 1) poor tests and 2) improper application. In other words, you could be liable if you use a test that is poorly constructed. Or you could be liable if the test administrator administers the test improperly, handles results improperly, or doesn’t understand how to statistically analyze or interpret the tests.
The psychometric properties and overall test construction of the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ are highly regarded in the academic and professional communities. Additionally, our certification programs are designed to ensure individuals are fully competent to use the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ for a variety of human resources, organizational development, and workforce needs.
To see a thorough review of the WorkPlace Big Five Profile’s™ psychometric properties, see Section 6 of the Professional Manual for the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™.
The Five-Factor Model suggests personality traits are genetic. Does this mean then that we take on similar traits as our parents?
The estimated impact of genetics on measures of personality varies, but behavioral geneticists generally attribute roughly 50% of the observed differences in personality traits in a population to genetic factors. It is important to emphasize, however, that this does NOT mean that “50%” of an observed trait in an individual is due to genetics. Roughly speaking, yes, children will tend to resemble their parents on personality measures but the traits themselves are not directly passed down, only genes are. As Stoltenberg (1997) succinctly observed, traits “are developed anew in each individual as a result of a complex (idiosyncratic) series of interactions between biological material (e.g., genes, RNA, proteins) and the unique environment in which that individual is raised.” By extension, it is also important to note that high heritability for a trait does not imply a lack of environmental influence. Height, for example, is highly heritable and yet we nonetheless observed large changes in height within populations in the late 20th century due to improvements in childhood diet.
What services does Paradigm Personality Labs offer?
We primarily offer personality/behavioral assessments for the workplace. We also offer consulting services that apply information from our assessments and published material for work applications.
These services include:
- Executive coaching
- Leadership development
- Succession planning
- Job profiling/validity studies
Please contact us for additional information on our services.
Why should my organization use the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™?
Because it is:
- Based on the Five-Factor Model—the benchmark in measuring personality.
- Designed for a variety of human resource and organizational development applications.
- Psychometrically rigorous—based on a scientifically-backed model and not theory.
- Fast and simple. It is administered online and only takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete.
- Clear and concise. Reports use graphical representation to enhance understanding and self-awareness for both individuals and teams.
- Reasonably priced compared to competitor assessments of similar caliber.
- A deep dive. Popular, in-depth special topic reports, such as the Leader and Teamer are available by using a person or group’s WorkPlace questionnaires.
- Supported by Paradigm Personality Labs’ commitment to superior customer service.
- Widely used. It has a very strong seal of approval: The Center for Creative Leadership uses the WorkPlace in its flagship leadership development programs.
Please Contact us to find out more about the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™.
I want to use the WorkPlace Big Five Profile™. How do I start?
The WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ is classified as a Level B psychological test by the American Psychological Association. As such, the WorkPlace™ requires:
- Individuals becoming certified through our WorkPlace Big Five Profile™ Core Certification Program.
- Individuals who meet the minimum requirements may apply to Paradigm Personality Labs for qualification approval to use the WorkPlace products. Please contact us if you are interested in this option.
Can I see samples of WorkPlace reports?
Has Paradigm done any research into successful senior leaders (esp. in the government or military) and their traits?
The short answer is yes and the longer answer is that only for client organizations to understand what successful leadership looks like specifically at their organization. Twenty years ago we would have been able to look at Big Five meta-analyses to provide this kind of information. But, the world of personality science is far less rigid in its approach and shies away from exactitudes.
Current thinking on personality is that culture, environment, industry, etc. all come together to influence behavioral fit. What predicts or correlates to success at one organization and in a specific functional area may be significantly different in another organization.