Contextualizing personality assessment: Towards a better predictive validity for work performance

Project Details


In a selection setting, the goal is to predict the candidate’s future (work-related) behavior. Hence, personality tests have become part of selection and development procedures. However, research on the link between personality and work performance has revealed two issues:
(1) despite the fact that personality turns out to be a consistent predictor of work performance, the predictive validity of personality on performance is moderate at best and
(2) personality assessments have been found to be among the least favorable selection methods among applicants. We believe that the limited predictive validity of personality stems from a failure of personality assessments to appropriately capture the work context.

The present project draws on Trait Activation Theory, stating that personality traits are expressed as responses to situational cues. Building on this idea, the project sets out to contextualize personality assessments using behavioral signatures (i.e., variability in actions, thoughts and feelings within one person across different situations). Such behavioral signatures tell us which cues trigger which behavior in which individual. We draw from taxonomic models of personality and taxonomic models of situations, establishing an assessment of person-situation interactions that will allow us to create and evaluate a contextualized personality assessment tool. We expect this to increase predictive validity as well as popularity of personality assessments on performance
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/10/24


  • Personality assessment
  • Person-situation interactions
  • Work performance

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Psychological assessment
  • Research methods and experimental design
  • Work and organisational psychology
  • Psychological methods not elsewhere classified
  • Personality psychology


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