In the first
marking period in the sixth grade, my grade in arithmetic was NP (not passing).
In high school, I gratefully rejected the opportunity to take mathematics beyond
the two years required. In college, I survived freshman algebra only because of
a saintly professor who gave help sessions, often for me alone, each evening at
the end of an ordinary working day. How did it happen, with a background like
that, that I now find myself a mathematically-oriented measurement specialist
speaking and writing on topics such as latent trait theory?
In fact, how did it happen that I've become identified with the leftof-the-hyphen
term in what is regrettably often written as "IndustrialOrganizational
psychology? In graduate school,
the topics such as counseling, grievance procedures (the topic of my M.S.
thesis), work motivation, and employee attitudes interested me greatly.
My dissertation was the first study in what later came to be called
"span of control" research. With graduate student interests
emphasizing what later became organizational psychology, how did I come to be
almost the prototype of the traditional, unimaginative personnel selection type?
Four trends in things that have happened to me since receiving the Ph.D. from
Purdue in 1952 (under C. H. Lawshe) may account for the directions I have taken.
However, since adult behavior is often influenced by early experiences, some of
my early background may be relevant.
My father was a salesman. Throughout his adult life, his income depended on
his own initiative and skill in meeting people and convincing them of the
soundness of his products. My mother was principally a housewife. During the
depression years, she found it necessary to take on paid employment, and she saw
no reason why employment should be disagreeable just because it was necessary.
So she looked for jobs where she would learn to do things she wanted to know how
to do anyway. At one time, therefore, she became a candymaker, beginning as a
chocolate dipper and eventually taking over management of the kitchen for a
chain of eight stores. Another time she took a bakery job where she learned the
art of cake decorating; her mentor was another victim of the depression who had majored in fine art in college and used frosting instead of
oils on her palette. With the outbreak of World War II, these pursuits seemed
frivolous; she then took on a job in a war plant to learn how to operate a wide
variety of office duplicating machinery.
As an only child, I had only the experience of these two adults to copy. I
started earlier than they would have wished, I suppose; I got my first job
paying a commission just before my eighth birthday. In the spring of 1932, a man
gave me six copies of a current magazine to sell with the promise that I could
keep a penny from each nickel sale. The sudden wealth from those sales led to a
route of regular customers which, by the end of the summer, had expanded into
selling six magazines, under two publishers and marketing agencies, with a total
income of nearly $1.25 a week. I have not been seriously unemployed since.
In high school, I was active with the school newspaper, band, dramatics, and
other extracurricular activities; there was no time to be more than a casual
student -- until my senior year. In that year I studied chemistry seriously
under an outstanding teacher, one who used the personalized system of
instruction before Skinner had outlined its principles. I spent mornings, lunch
hours, and large parts of afternoons (after delivering papers) in the chemistry
lab doing experiments for the sheer fun of it. I went to college in the fall of
1942 to major in pharmaceutical chemistry, intending to continue for graduate
work to prepare for a research career.
Six weeks into the second semester, the call to active duty in the Army came. My
military career was a particularly uneventful one. After three basic trainings
and college work in two unrelated training programs, I was sent to Italy as a
mule skinner, reclassified a clerk-typist, and spent the rest of my post-war
military career learning to type discharge papers for soldiers staying in Italy
as civilians. At one point I
augmented the regular salary by working as an officers' orderly.
One of the college programs was a premedical course at the University of Iowa;
it included two terms of introductory psychology. Military supervision was lax,
and the course met early in the morning. My attendance record, interest in the
course, and examination average all fell somewhere near the bottom of the
distributions. That was satisfactory; I needed to do well enough in chemistry to
stay in the preferred program, but badly enough in psychology to avoid
assignment to a medical school. I tried psychology again in Italy when the
course was offered by the Armed Forces Institute, thinking it might be more
palatable at a later hour. It wasn't. I dropped out.
My favorite military assignment came at the end of the war in the separations
center for the Mediterranean Leader of Operations. It was a pleasant sort of
personnel work, and I enjoyed it immensely. Since it was a small operation,
there was time to get to know the people we prepared discharge papers for. It
was from one of them that I first heard of industrial psychology, his intended
career. As he described it, it sounded moderately interesting.
After my own discharge, I took a factory job as a materials expeditor. I also
wanted to test myself to see if I could be disciplined enough to go back to
school successfully. I could, I reasoned, if I could stick it out through a
course in psychology. The available night school course was one in applied
rather than general psychology (there was never a mention of axons or
dendrites), and it was relevant in a fascinating way to the work I was doing on
I returned to Iowa in the fall of 1946, with two years of college credit, I was
beginning to vacillate between my earlier plan for a research career in
chemistry and a career change to personnel research. There were practical
matters to consider, I already had a couple of years of chemistry, but I would
need to start from almost the beginning in psychology. However, when I walked
into the chemistry lecture hall and saw all of the things that had been added to
the periodic chart while I had been gone, it seemed that I would be starting
from scratch in either case. I promptly changed to a major in psychology. So
much for careful career planning.
Three things in all of this seem relevant even yet. First is a kind of
iconoclastic self reliance. I never had an allowance nor respected those who
did; whatever I wanted, I got the money to pay
for it by working a little
longer at whatever jobs were available to me. As a child, I saw no reason to
assume that it should be otherwise, nor do I now. Second, although I am in many
respects a philosophical holist, I have been fascinated since high school
chemistry in atomistic, analytical processes. Early interest in Mendeleev's
periodic chart of the elements led easily to later interest in Guilford's theory
of the structure of intellect. Third, I developed the habit a long time ago of
either exploiting opportunities that came my way or riding out the unexploitable
without much protest. Once in high school, caught in the middle between the
competing demands of two teachers, I simply chose my own path and awaited the
consequences without a great deal of interest in them. I've never been known for
single-minded devotion to a long-range plan.
1952, which was when I got my Ph.D., was a recession year. Only three jobs in
industrial psychology came to my attention at all. The first two of these were
non-academic positions, and I had already decided that I wanted the variety and
independence of an academic life. The first position that came was a one-year,
soft-money position; with a wife and two children, I wanted something more
permanent. The second was in one of two research groups in a major corporation;
the environment did not appear to be a particularly peaceful one. Finally, in
mid-summer, a young man who had been teaching courses in applied psychology at
Bowling Green State University quit his job to open up a used car agency and,
coincidentally, to open an academic position for me. His resignation
interfered with the summer activities of the department chairman, so a
blitzkrieg recruiting campaign was begun. As a part of that campaign, he and the
college dean declared their intention to develop at Bowling Green the same level
of prominence in industrial psychology at the M.A. level that Purdue enjoyed at
the Ph.D. level. This seemed feasible. I came. Perhaps it is an indication that
childhood signs of initiative had all petered out that I have stayed now into my
27th year. There were certainly times in the early years when I wanted to leave,
and there were other times when opportunities for change were available -- but
the two never seemed to occur at the same time.
The teaching load at Bowling Green in 1952 was 15 hours. In the first semester,
I was assigned a course in occupational information, one in general applied
psychology, and three sections of introductory psychology. In the second
semester, I taught a course in personnel testing and four sections of
introductory psychology. The course in personnel testing was offered to graduate
students in psychology; it was also a required course for undergraduate students
in business. A variety of undergraduate students in other majors also enrolled,
for reasons never fully clear to me.
The personnel testing course was something of a disaster. I used both the
Thorndike (1949) and the Lawshe (1948) textbooks. The Thorndike book was much
too complex for most of the undergraduate students, but the Lawshe book lacked
some of the advanced material that the graduate students needed. I fell to
writing out "translations" of certain of the Thorndike chapters,
trying to infuse them with Lawshe's practicality and easy readability. Such
writing was time-consuming, but, since I could use preparations from the first
semester for my other four classes, I managed to do a fair amount of it.
was no time in that first year to think very much about developing a graduate curriculum
in industrial psychology. But, in 1953, I collared virtually everyone I could at
the APA meetings to glean their ideas about an "ideal" M.A. program.
From these conversations, I outlined a one-year program that seemed to integrate
the best of what I had heard. Rather proudly, I showed it to the department
chairman, who seemed singularly unimpressed. He sent me to the college dean, who
seemed embarrassed by it. He in turn passed the buck to the Dean of Faculties,
who seemed annoyed by it, especially when I told him that it was my attempt to
meet the commitment I had made in coming to Bowling Green. The gist of our
further conversation was that neither he nor the President knew of such a
commitment, nor would they have approved of it; the agenda for the University
was to pare course offerings, not add them! After some discussion, he said there
might be some chance to get the new curriculum approved if I could convince
others in the psychology department to eliminate more courses than my proposal
This turned into a remarkable opportunity. A committee chaired by Dael Wolfle
(1952) had prepared a little book on undergraduate instruction in psychology in
which four different specific curricula were described. The seven of us who made
up the psychology department immersed ourselves in the book and in curriculum
reform. We designed an integrated undergraduate and graduate program and we
were enthusiastic about it; it permitted me to offer a new seminar on current
research in industrial psychology and courses in job analysis, training and
supervisory development, and motivation and morale. The testing course
remained as it was.
The new curriculum reform included a series of four undergraduate laboratory
courses; I was assigned one of these, a course in "human motivation. "
The only motivation textbook then available was the one by P. T. Young (1936).
It was not new, it had a heavy stress on basic sensory processes and on studies
with animals, and it did not fit the curricular objectives.
Therefore, in the summer of 1954, while on a Committee for Economic Development
"internship" at Motorola, I put together a mimeographed "textbook" to
use for that course in the fall. Fortunately, the book was never published. It
was as deficient in scholarship as one would expect of a book thrown together in
such short time. My knowledge of motivation theory was limited; so were
opportunities for library research during much of the time I was writing. The
book borrowed heavily, therefore, from secondary and even anecdotal sources.
Despite the book, the course provided impetus for me to think about motivation
and to read avidly the books published in the mid 1950's. I continued to teach
it, although with different text material, each year until I left on leave of
absence in 1963.
undergraduate motivation course greatly influenced the content of the graduate
course in motivation and morale at work, adding theoretical issues that
otherwise might have been ignored. Studies of achievement motivation especially
interested me; my first serious attempt to do research in this field used TAT-type
pictures designed to elicit themes related not only to achievement motivation,
but to the various levels in the Maslow hierarchy. A faculty research grant
enabled me to have questionnaire material printed beautifully, to hire
interviewers and train them in three different cities, and to collect a
substantial amount of data. The results of the study were never published for a
good and sufficient reason: we were never able to find a way to score the
responses reliably enough to do anything else with them. This early experience
was a strong reminder that good research does indeed require competent
In 1963-64, I was a visiting associate professor in the psychology department at
Berkeley, where, among other assignments, I offered a graduate seminar in work
motivation. It was there also that I became interested in the measurement of the
meaning of work. By this time, these topics clearly represented my major
professional and scientific interests; eventually, I developed a proposal for
research on development of work motivation among recent college graduates in
relation to the anticipated and experienced meaning their work had for them. The
proposal was one of the winners of the James McKeen Cattell Award, given
annually by Division 14 of the APA, and the research was later funded by the
Department of Labor. Unfortunately, when I became a department chairman in 1966
I had to leave most of the research responsibility in the very capable hands of
my graduate assistant, Frank J. Landy. His research activity moved on steadily
from that point, but mine atrophied during the five years of administrative
work. My research on the development of work motivation has never been picked up
again, although I always have the hope that some day I will get back to it. I
still think of the problem of work motivation as the most interesting and
socially important of the entire field, although I am no longer up-to-date in
Each year until my chairmanship, I continued to teach the course in personnel
testing, and through it I became interested in factor analysis. It was either in
my second or third year at Bowling Green that I was given a committee
responsibility of bringing in a guest lecturer. I invited Raymond B. Cattell to
be that lecturer; he came and we developed a lasting friendship. Bowling Green
did not have the computational facilities for the factor analysis of large
matrices, but Cattell made his resources available to Marshall Brenner, one of
my M.A. students. When Guilford (1956) first published his theory of the
structure of intellect, it found, in me at least, a very receptive audience. I
wrote some material on factor analysis for the personnel testing course.
The middle 1950's were years when publishers were seeking manuscripts. No one
was interested in my manuscript for the motivation book, but several seemed
interested in the materials I had been writing for the testing course. I offered
a few of my "translations" to the McGraw-Hill representative, who sent
them to Ed Ghiselli, who, characteristically, wrote very positive and pleasant
comments on what I had written. The result was a contract to which I could
devote very little time. Although our teaching load eventually dropped from 15
to 12 hours, the responsibility for all industrial courses, for the laboratory
course in motivation, and for the development of additional courses in the
educational counseling program eventually resulted in my teaching nine quite
different courses every calendar year. In the spring and fall I taught a section
of the introductory psychology course. I taught three other courses in the fall,
three others in the spring, and two more in the summer session.
Keeping preparations current in all of these courses left little time for either
research or writing. The only kind of writing I did during that period consisted
largely of articles written to get things off of my chest, such as the one on
multiple criteria (Guion, 1961). It was not until the year at Berkeley that I
had any real opportunity for the concentrated periods of work necessary to
complete the book. Parts of it were ground out periodically, usually during
summers, but the time span between the early writing and late writing covered
more than six years. At Berkeley, I was able to complete unwritten chapters,
revise the others, and bring everything up-to-date; in the spring of 1964, the
final manuscript went off to McGraw-Hill (Guion, 1965b).
When I returned to Bowling Green at the end of that year, it was like going to a
new job at a different school. There was a new president and a new dean in the
College of Liberal Arts. A computer center was established and functioning. The
mood of the university was one of growth, and the psychology department was
planning its doctoral program to begin the fall of 1965.
The program included a three-term sequence on research methods; I was assigned
the term on correlational research methods, with an emphasis on measurement.
When one is teaching students from all the various specialty areas of
psychology, one cannot restrict the concept of measurement to testing. The
course has required me to learn, at least at an elementary level, something
about information theory, signal detection theory, latent trait theory, and
other measurement approaches not encountered in classical psychometric theory.
The course has been one of the major opportunities I have had to develop
professionally through teaching.
The changes at Bowling Green during the year of leave were the dramatic
culmination of a long series of events. In contrast to the usual stereotype of
the 1950's, ours was not a particularly peaceful campus. Two or three years
before my arrival, students had rioted in protest against the policies of an
earlier president. A new president had come to the university in 1951, and in
the spring of 1956, students rioted to protest his policies. It was particularly
traumatic for me because I had been supervising a survey of the attitudes and
needs of student leaders on campus at the request of the Dean of Students. My
student interviewers reported extreme anger and threats of violence by their
interviewees; I discounted their reports as due to inexperience. I should have
been able to predict the violence that occurred that year, and I was badly
shaken. I was not as badly shaken, however, as the administrative officers at
whom real acts of violence were directed. State police were called in, martial
law was declared, and only the start of the summer vacation eventually quieted
Four years later another, a milder riot occurred when campus police, probably
remembering the earlier one, used what seemed to be unnecessary force in
breaking up some rather destructive hijinks on the first warm day of spring.
What began as fun was transformed into violence.
Over the years, faculty meetings had degenerated from academic forums to
sessions at which the faculty passively received communications from the
university president. Before the close of a regularly scheduled general faculty
meeting after the riot, just prior to the spring recess, one faculty member
asked for the floor to read to the faculty a document prepared by some of the
dissident students. After some confusion, he did so and was widely applauded for
his courage; the situation after the vacation, although tense, was eased when a
committee appointed by the president established formal procedures for listening
to student grievances. However, on the very last day of the academic year, the faculty member
who spoke out was fired. A group of us supported him, and the revolt of the
faculty began. I served as a kind of a field-grade officer in that revolution.
We explained our position individually to different members of the Board of
Trustees. We wrote letters to influential people and to newspapers. Above all,
we gave more serious thought to the meaning of higher education than we had ever
done before. During that summer, our jobs were on the line; one member of the
Board of Trustees said publicly that the university's troubles would be solved
by firing about 20 of the dissident faculty members. Since I was one of 23 who
had been publicly identified, it seemed likely that I would lose my job, tenure
No event has had a stronger influence on my life and on my professional career
than this academic revolt. During this time I began to articulate, probably more
to myself than to others, the importance of every course in the curriculum as a
contributing factor in the liberalizing education of every student. I began to
wonder what liberalizing effect courses in job analysis, or in industrial
training, or in personnel selection could have on individual students. These
were tool courses. They constituted job training, not liberal education.
I should, perhaps, have found some place to have pointed out earlier a very
great debt to C. H. Lawshe who, while president of the association, named me
chairman of the first committee on professional education in Division 14. In
setting out the charge to that committee, he made me aware, for the first time,
that a distinction can be made between training and education. I confess to
having been less than enthralled with that distinction; our document was
probably concerned as much with training as with education, but the seed had
been planted. By the time of our revolution, I was ready to take that
distinction very seriously.
to teach introductory courses in industrial psychology, and the more advanced
courses as well, as courses dealing with the relationship of man and his work;
although the textbooks were traditional, the classroom lectures and discussions
emphasized broad issues. For example, in a section on personnel selection, I
would raise such questions as whether society benefited more by systematic
selection for excellence or by a first-come, first-serve policy leading to a
higher rate of employment. Mason Haire posed a real challenge when he wrote,
"... it is strange that the liberal tradition of remaking the world to make
it fit Man better, in contrast with the relatively passive caste-ridden
Darwinian approach of the correlationist, should come from something called
Engineering Psychology" (1959, p. 171).
I wanted students to challenge the correlationist thinking they often
brought with them. Our discussions were never profound, but issues were raised.
It didn't bother me that we did not resolve them so long as the students
began to think about them.
Most of the students in these classes were not majoring in personnel
administration, nor were they planning to become industrial psychologists; most
of them were taking the course because it offered three hours of elective credit
at a convenient time of the day in a convenient corner of the campus. When I
went to Berkeley, I found the students in the personnel psychology class just as
diverse as those at Bowling Green. The following summer, 1965, when I taught at
the University of New Mexico, I found even greater diversity and wrote a widely
unread article about industrial psychology as an academic discipline (Guion,
1966a). It is not a very well written article, which may be why it has been so
little read, but it represented for me the culmination of the thinking that
began in the academic revolution on my home campus.
and the Danforth Associates
My grandfather, my father-in-law, and one brother-in-law were (in the latter
case, is) Methodist ministers; the church was a central part of my early life,
and it has been a continuing part of my adult life. Theologically, my early
thinking could be charitably described as eclectic; the church was, perhaps, too
much a habit to think about it very seriously.
During the 1957-1958 academic year, my wife, Emily, and I were appointed to
serve as Danforth Associates on the Bowling Green campus. The Danforth
Foundation was founded by William H. Danforth, founder and president of the
Ralston-Purina Company, as an educational foundation with, in its early days,
strongly religious over-tones. In one of the foundation programs, the Associates
program, faculty members and their spouses are jointly charged with providing a
personal dimension to the educational experiences of students. The personal
dimension can take many forms; it has sometimes been a tea and cookies approach
in a faculty member's home. It sometimes involves study groups or weekend
retreats. For me, one important form has been taking individual students on
field research or consulting trips. Whatever form it takes, the faculty couple
is expected to encourage students to work toward the twin goals of academic
excellence and the articulation of their values. The foundation no longer has
the strong religious overtones of the earlier era, but the emphasis remains on
intellectual excellence in the context defining one's values.
When we were appointed, new associates attended a national orientation
conference. At the first conference we attended, we experienced profound
stimulation from a series of lectures by, and indeed the personality of, G.
Davie Napier, then chaplain at Yale University. A basic set of theological
convictions began to emerge from the experience. Another important source of
stimulation was provided by a sociologist from Southern University, Lionel H.
Newsome, now president of Central State University in Ohio, who spoke to us
about events that occurred on his campus to the freedom riders, the Civil Rights
activists in the south at that time. We found it incomprehensible that a nation,
still giving lip service to its religious heritage, could allow treatment of
citizens so antithetical to Christian precepts.
This was not new, of course. Questions of racial "tolerance" had long
been taught, at least once a year, in the respectable, organized churches like
the one in which I grew up. During the war, during ASTP training in Iowa City, I
joined a group of students in boycotting the town barber shops and later in
establishing a barber shop that would be willing to cut hair for Negro students.
The quiet talks with Lionel Newsom, however, provided an experience of a first-hand
report from a highly educated and cultured gentleman, and the experience had a
considerably unsettling effect.
At a later conference of Danforth Associates, we met Wendell Whalum, professor
of music at Morehouse College, who taught us to sing the freedom riders' hymn
("We shall overcome") and Dr. Benjamin Mays, the incredible president
of Morehouse College, known, among other things, as mentor to Martin Luther
King. Exposure to these men reinforced the conviction that denial of opportunity
for employment for which one was qualified was essentially unChristian
behavior. For me, as one under contract to write a book on employment practice,
any acquiescence in that denial of opportunity was a form of complicity.
In 1966, I was asked to teach a Sunday School class on theological perspectives.
To teach that class, I had to learn a great deal that I had not previously
known. I read theological expositions from the Confessions of St. Augustine
through the Social Gospel of Walter Rauschenbusch to the more contemporary
theologies of Niebuhr and Tillich. By this time the civil rights movement had
culminated in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the racial unrest had melted into a
more general malaise; Martin Luther King had been shot. Although its literature
was quaint, the Social Gospel seemed to me to be a very powerful statement of
the obligation of those who would call themselves Christian to serve others,
particularly those who, by circumstances beyond their own control, had been
exploited and shunted aside by society. It became a firm conviction that I
should, as a professional industrial psychologist, be concerned with the
problems of fairness and equality in employment opportunities.
Rights Act and Some Coincidences
In the summer of 1954, when my evenings were spent in a YMCA hotel room, writing
that unfortunate book on motivation, my days were spent in a fellowship from the
Foundation for Economic Education with the Motorola Company in Chicago. The home
office, then at the Augusta Boulevard Plant, was located in the midst of a black
ghetto area. The corporate Human Relations Manual had, on its front page, one of
the most beautiful statements on equality of opportunity I have ever read. The
only black faces I saw, however, were among applicants in the employment office.
Discussions with some of the middle-management people suggested that Motorola
was interested in the employment of blacks only insofar as necessary to avoid
open warfare with the Chicago Fair Employment Practices Commission.
My association with Motorola never continued beyond that summer, although work
begun that summer was expected to continue. My final report to the company
raised the question of inconsistency between actual hiring practices and the
human relations policy statement; I have never known whether these comments
were seen as evidence of inability to observe accurately or as the ranting of a
troublemaker. In any event, I rarely thought of the experience until the famous
"Motorola case" came up during the debates of the Civil Rights Bill in
Congress in the fall of 1963, and it made those debates seem more personally
interesting. During the period of debate, between the two proposed Tower
amendments, I was part of a panel that addressed a meeting of an association of
personnel managers in the San Francisco Bay area. Casually, simply to illustrate
another point, I mentioned that the concept of a moderator variable might do
much to solve the general problem of inadvertent unfairness in employment and
the specific issue of test fairness in the Motorola case.
The comment attracted some attention, and the program chairman asked me to
return for a later program to discuss the topic. I did, some months later, but
the mood had changed drastically. In the parlance of the theater, the audience
sat on its hands. We learned later that nearly everyone had been instructed to
listen attentively but to say nothing. My presentation was a plea for research
in the Bay area on what has since been called differential prediction. There was
no response. The program chairman, George Strauss, also editor of Industrial
Relations, seemed upset by the lack of response, so he asked me to write the
comments for publication in Industrial Relations.
I didn't get around to writing it until I returned home. Dr. Richard Shore, who
had taken my place in 1963-64 and stayed another year as an associate, offered
critical comments and supportive reinforcement for drafts of the paper. The
article appeared early in 1966 (Guion, 1966).
In 1965, Dick Shore left academic work to join the Department of Labor in its
Policy and Planning Division. One of his early assignments was to draft an order
for the newly-formed Office of Federal Contract Compliance concerning the use of
employment tests. He asked me to come to Washington and discuss the order with
him. It fit very closely the kinds of things I had written in my book and the Industrial
Relations article; I was naturally quite pleased with it.
In meeting with Mr. Edward Sylvester, the first director of the Office of
Federal Contract Compliance, I expressed the opinion that, if the order were
issued and enforced, it would result in the elimination of unfair, inadvertent
racial discrimination in employment within a generation. To Mr. Sylvester, this
seemed an admirable goal. The argument was that, as decisions came to be made on
the basis of valid predictors, young blacks would find that qualified people
could indeed get jobs; they would therefore be more encouraged to seek job
qualifications than had black youth of the past. In a generation's time, the
memory of discrimination would be wiped out, and blacks, like whites, would
develop qualifications according to their abilities and initiative and be
rewarded for their efforts by finding employment consistent with those
It seems rather naive, now.
To recapitulate, my book was published in the spring of 1965, the Industrial
Relations article was published in the spring of 1966, and through the
coincidence of an association with Dick Shore, the thrust of that article had
been incorporated into a draft of the Testing Order.
Procedures had to be followed, however, before the issuance of a Federal
order. I assisted the staff at OFCC in assembling the names of people
whom I thought would be sympathetic with the objectives of the order, and a meeting
was hold in Washington. It was one of the more astonishing meetings I've ever
attended. The document that I had believed to be so right was bitterly denounced
by colleagues whom I respected. One psychologist, who had already published
substantially on the need for equality of opportunity in employment, and who had
written widely about the necessity for careful test validation as a basis for
achieving that equality, said flatly throughout the morning session that it is
not necessary to validate tests; psychologists, he claimed, develop through
their experience a sense that enabled then, to identify good tests without the
time and expense of validation efforts. After the shock wore off, and I was able
to engage the man in a private discussion, I found that he made these comments
for the benefit of his employing organization -- he would have found it
embarrassing to go back home and say that the validation studies he should have
been doing over the past several years, and didn't, were now going to be
required by federal directive.
The meeting eventually became more positive in tone; constructive suggestions
were offered. The OFCC staff committed itself to preparing a more detailed
document, taking into account some of the more severe criticisms. A subsequent
meeting was held with some of the same people and some new ones. Again, it was a
half-day of negativism followed by tentatively offered constructive
suggestions. Eventually, a continuing Advisory Committee was officially formed
under the co-chairmanship of Howard Lockwood and Raymond Katzell. I had served
previously as a consultant to OFCC; we had come to a disagreement and parted
company after the departure of Mr. Sylvester, so I was not initially a member of
that committee. However, I later replaced Marvin Dunnette when he broke his leg
in a skiing accident.
It seemed an interminable amount of time, but the Testing Order was finally
published (Office of Federal Contract Compliance, 1968). It was a far cry from
the two or three-page document Dick Shore had originally drawn up, but the
essential principles of that document were still intact.
It should be noted, perhaps, that in 1965, conventional wisdom considered the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a paper tiger. The prevailing opinion
seemed to be that the use of the courts would man such long delays in achieving
equality that none would in fact be achieved. The Office of Federal Contract
Compliance, however, had the authority to lift a federal contract almost
immediately if an employer were found in noncompliance with the equal
opportunity provisions of that contract. This, it was thought, meant real teeth.
By the 1968 presidential election, however, the EEOC was making itself felt, and
candidate Nixon promised that there would be but one Federal voice to "harass"
employers on matters of equal opportunity. Fulfillment of that campaign pledge
would and did require an act of Congress, but, early in the Nixon
administration, pressures developed for a rapprochement between OFCC and EEOC.
The Advisory Committee was convened, with EEOC representation from Dr. William
Enneis and attorney Philip Sklover. The intent of these meetings was to produce
a revision of the Testing Order that could be issued jointly by EEOC and OFCC.
At one point in these discussions, I represented the Advisory Committee in a
subcommittee with a Labor Department attorney, Enneis, and Sklover to draft the
actual wording of what might be issued as a joint order. The most important
aspect of that mini-conference was the concern of the EEOC over a practice,
according to their allegations, of deliberately choosing a test that satisfied
the validity requirement but with the maximum adverse impact. That is, there was
fear in EEOC that the regulation might play into the hands of prejudiced
employers who would use valid predictors as deliberate instruments of
discrimination against minorities. Written into that draft, therefore, was a
provision that, if different predictors were found to be similar in validity,
the employer should choose the one with lesser adverse impact; if adverse impact
existed with a valid predictor, the employer should seek another predictor that
would have less adverse impact. When we met a week later with the full Advisory
Committee, the wording of this provision, and of others, evoked concern in the
committee. It was to be rewritten.
The Advisory Committee to OFCC had a hurry-up-and-wait history. When a crisis
was impending, OFCC officials would call a hasty meeting of the committee. When
there was no crisis involving the Testing Order, the committee and its work
would be forgotten. So it was with this revision. Nothing more was heard from
the agency we were to advise until after the EEOC issued its Guidelines
in 1970 (Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, 1970). The draft the four of us had presented had been
substantially changed during the hiatus of nearly a year. Provisions about the
Advisory Committee had already expressed misgivings had turned into statements
that were technically obscure or ambiguous, interpretable as requirements
virtually impossible to meet. Moreover, by that time, data were beginning to
accumulate suggesting that the differential prediction hypothesis was really not
a very good one, after all. The language of the Guidelines said, in effect,
"You have to look for differential validity and, if you find it, you have
to use it." Since it was becoming apparent that regression equations for
blacks and whites were very likely to be parallel if different at all, and to
have lower rather than higher intercepts for blacks, a literal adherence to that
rule would defeat the purposes of both EEOC and OFCC. The problem was seen as
serious enough to the new management of OFCC that the Advisory Committee kept
working diligently until it was able to publish a revised OFCC Testing Order
(office of Federal Contract Compliance, 1971). A footnote to that Testing Order,
which always seemed to me to be extremely important, acknowledged that any
differences in the wording of the OFCC Order and the EEOC Guidelines either
reflected differences in legal authorities or clarifications of the
interpretation of the EEOC version; it also acknowledged that the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission had accepted these clarifications.
of this time, I had been listed as a member of the APA's Committee on
Psychological Tests. The term of office was three years; the first two years
passed without a meeting of the committee. In the third year, in April of 1971,
the committee met to consider possible revision of the Standards (APA, AERA,
and NCME, 1966). Because of the OFCC work, I believed the Standards needed
supplementing more than revision; it seemed to me that there should be a
document prepared for the guidance of test users to parallel the 1966 Standards
which, as I perceived them, were directed more to test publishers. E. Belvin
Williams, another member of the OFCC Advisory Committee, was liaison to the
Committee on Psychological Tests from the Board of Scientific Affairs. He shared
the view that the additional material was needed and seemed inclined to believe
that the Standards themselves were due for revision. The committee decided to
try to write a single document including both any revisions necessary in the
Standards -- and it was originally believed that these would be few -- and new
material for test users.
sets of test standards were written by committees of leading scientists, but the
social activism of the period seemed to require a far more democratic process.
It was decided that one member would collect opinions from a wide variety of
test users and incorporate their opinions in a draft revision. The other members
of the committee would then challenge the draft and recommend changes leading to
a document to be submitted for approval to the profession at large. Since I was
scheduled for sabbatical leave in 1971-72, I was assigned to serve as the
committee's scribe. Naively, we thought the job could be done in a year.
proved to be very nearly a full-time job. Fortunately, the Educational Testing
Service, where I spent the sabbatical, gave me a great deal of time to work on
the project and committed its resources to the typing and distribution of
various drafts. I traveled to Washington, Boston, and New York to meet with
groups of people to discuss their criticism of the existing Standards and their
suggestions for the new section for test users. A first draft of a revision was
prepared incorporating virtually all suggestions, including those that were
contradictory. It reproduced verbatim the portions of the 1966 Standards for
which there had been no challenge so that changes could be read in context
rather than simply as amendments. A pencil line was drawn in the margin to
identify material taken directly from the existing document.
Peculiar things happen; machines do not always work as planned. In this case,
the duplicating equipment rarely picked up the pencil lines. As a result, people
read the old material, not for context, but to criticize it. When we circulated
the draft to the committee and to various eminent psychologists, including many
who felt the 1966 Standards needed no revision, we received many criticism of
old as well as of new material. Clearly, in the tenor of the times, with the
particular emphasis on the civil rights implications of psychological testing,
more revision was required than we had anticipated.
A major theme of the deliberations of the committee and of its various hearings
concerned the civil rights of people being tested. The research literature on
the questions of racial bias were sparse. Working definitions of bias or unfair
discrimination had been written in my Industrial Relations article and by Anne
Cleary in the Journal of Educational Measurement (Cleary, 1968); although her
definition was couched in correlational term and mine was couched in the
language of expectancy charts, the two definitions seemed similar to me. It was
not until spring of 1971, when the Thorndike (1971) and Darlington (1971)
articles appeared in the Journal of Educational Measurement, that it became obvious that there were a great many more
problem in defining psychometric bias than we had originally thought. The
research that these articles ultimately generated had not yet been done, yet we
wrote principles to govern the development, evaluation, and use of psychological
and educational tests as if we knew the answers to the research well in advance.
A disclaimer about the revised Standards (APA, AERA, and NCME, 1974) is in
order. The chairman of the committee, Dr. Frederick P. Davis, was not satisfied
with the various drafts for the 1974 revision, although his criticisms often
were too general to result in specific changes. As we came closer to the end of
our work, he became increasingly agitated by what he perceived to be its
technical inadequacies. I have often felt that it was his personal disclaimer
when, in the preface to the Standards, he called me its principal author. The
statement is, in a sense, correct; I did most of the writing. Through the first
three drafts, however, I wrote the things that were suggested to me by the
various critics whose opinions were to be incorporated. By the fourth draft, I
had also become disenchanted with the process and began to avoid including
things with which I would disagree strongly. Nevertheless, the authorship of the
Standards must be recognized as being far more diffused than the work of any one
person. In the first place, much of the 1966 Standards did survive and was
retained unchanged in the 1974 edition. in addition, specific standards and
accompanying comments were often literally dictated by other members of the committee
during its meetings. It would be very hard for me to point to specific
provisions of the Standards, as I could point to specific provisions of the 1968
Testing order, and say that I could take either the credit or the blame for
The revised Standards is designed for a broad audience. As with earlier
versions, it includes standards directed to educational testing and to clinical
testing. Many people in industrial psychology felt that it was not explicitly
enough related to employment practice. Therefore, the Division 14 Executive
Committee decided to write its own statement of principles and assigned Mary
Tenopyr and me to the task. In keeping with the democratic principles that had
been followed in writing the Standards, a committee of 50 people was appointed
to review our work and to contribute to revisions of the material we drafted.
Our purpose was to write a document that would be consistent with the Standards
but would focus unambiguously on personnel testing. Nevertheless, Dr. Tenopyr
and I wrote according to our own convictions and submitted the result to the
larger committee for review. Some of the changes we sought in language or
principle were not accepted. For example, we preferred to restrict the use of
the term "validity" to either criterion-related validity or construct
validity; we felt that, as a term, content validity represented both poor
semantics and poor understanding of psychometric theory. Nevertheless, by
majority rule, content validity remains in the Division 14 Principles (1975).
With this document, too, I do not want to be perceived as fully responsible
for the content. I'm not renouncing either document; in fact, I think they both
are about as good as democratic approaches to technical matters will allow.
My present work and beliefs seem consistent with my early experience and
attitudes. I am highly concerned with individuality. The primary unit of
investigation and of measurement in psychology is, for me, the individual--not groups of individuals or organizations. I believe I would
hold to this view even without the peculiar chain of events that led me away
from the study of work in motivation, span of control, and other organizational
issues to an emphasis on personnel testing.
Unless fortuitous events have, however, been undoubtedly responsible for the
very great emphasis in my professional work on measurement and on the necessity
for competent measurement. I did not deliberately set out to become a
measurement expert, and I am certainly not much of one. There are far too many
issues in measurement theory on which I must consult other experts in order to
proceed. I have become known as a measurement expert not because of early
background but, rather, because I needed a textbook for a course, because I
wrote clarifying text material for that course at a time when textbook
publishers were seeking manuscripts, and because the textbook was published in
the same year that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of
Federal Contract Compliance were established. The success of that book is surely
due largely to its timing. Its timing and the coincidence of a brief period of
working with Dick Shore led to my involvement in writing the OFCC Order, the EEOC
Guidelines, the APA Standards, and the Division 14 Principles.
In spite of all of that involvement, however, some early background still shines
through, and I have been perceived by some civil rights advocates as a turncoat
who has abandoned respectable views. I have opposed, beginning with the AT&T
hearings before the Federal Trade Commission, what I perceived to be a
distortion of the intended purpose of the Federal documents. I have, on a number
of occasions, attempted to testify in various District Courts on the difference
between the meaning we intended and the meaning attributed to those documents by
plaintiffs, attorneys and witnesses who were not a party to the writing. The
distortion is, of course, understandable in view of the fact that the EEOC has
in fact been the dominant organization; it was not a paper tiger, and its
responsibility was an immediate one, not one that could extend over a
generation. The result has been a document to be used as a club, treating the
bigoted and the unaware alike. It has been a club for getting jobs for people,
irrespective of their qualifications, on what has subsequently become called a
group parity basis.
From a theological perspective, it is not enough simply to say that minorities
must not be discriminated against. If one is not to speak hypocritically of
the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God, one must view unfair
discrimination as wrong, regardless of the group identification of the victim.
If one adheres to the notion, exemplified in the parable of the talents, that
rewards should go to those who have earned them, then it is reasonable to assume
that jobs should go to those who have developed the qualifications for them. The
task, it seems to me, is for employment psychologists to find improved ways of
meeting out inadvertent discrimination and improved ways of assessing the
qualifications of people to do jobs. There are, of course, other tasks for
psychology if discrimination is to be ended. There are social, developmental,
and educational issues of opportunity to develop qualifications; psychology, if
it is to promote human welfare or brotherhood, must deal effectively with these
problem.. But problems of broadening the vocational perspectives, increasing the
motivation to learn, or decreasing the economic and psychological barriers to
learning intrinsic to a prejudiced society -- these problems will not be solved
by ignoring their effects in employment offices.
A final work concerns the narrowing of the scope of my work over the last 15
years. My teaching no longer runs
the gamut of Industrial and Organizational psychology; my only graduate teaching
is an introductory seminar for industrial students on research and the general
course on measurement and correlational methods of research. Although personnel
selection has been my area of specialization, it is not a consuming interest. I
really do not like to be identified only as a testing specialist or a selection
expert. I believe that personnel selection is important and that personnel
testing is a useful tool in that selection. Selection is chronologically the
first place for an existing organization to apply psychological principles in
the development of its work force. That fact, however, does not make it the most
important. Discovering and articulating the general principles governing the
intentions of people to perform well or not, the principles of providing an
environment that will promote growth, and the principles that will promote
creativity and proficiency in one's work and make it a maximally satisfying
experience -- such scientific work will prove far more important, in the long
run, than showing organizations how to select employees. However, I believe that
the principal emphasis of my work in selection should be generalized to a
similar emphasis in all of these other areas: an emphasis on greater
sophistication and competence in measurement. I remain strongly convinced that
progress in these areas cannot go far unless those who specialize in them take
heed of some of the lessons that are being learned in research on personnel
The first of these lessons is straightforward: minority groups, including women,
should not be discriminated against after they are hired just as they should not
be discriminated against in hiring. Environments promoting growth, opportunities
for satisfying experiences, and opportunities to form intentions to do well
should be as available to people belonging to one group as they are to those in
another. Research in these areas should address, not ignore, the possibility of inadvertent
bias. Discrimination against certain groups, except discrimination against the
incompetent, is a poor way to maximize criteria.
Second, research techniques need to be better. Validation designs that were
first enunciated in the 1920's, and were still enunciated in my textbook in
1965, are often inadequate. Problems have included throwing out good hypotheses
about predictors because of inadequate sample sizes; validities have been
claimed or sought against criteria that at best are suspect, more likely
useless, and at worst actually opposed to the goals of the organization. I'm
referring here to the ubiquitous use of ratings as measures of performance.
Small samples and poor criteria are as common in other research areas as in
Third, conventional measurement theory may be inadequate; it relies too heavily
on the peculiar characteristics of the sample used and my therefore lead to very
limited applicability of findings. Maybe, as Schmidt and Hunter (1977) have
suggested, the old cry for situational validation was totally unnecessary. I am
not convinced. Validity in an organization where people are very well trained,
for example, is not likely to be the same as validity in an organization where
training is haphazard. In short, it seems to me that personnel testers must
move, and I am making such a move, toward the study of sample-free measurement,
and the study of the limits to the generalizability of the results of
research. The problem is not unique to personnel selection. Those who would
study organizational environments, those who would study leadership, those who
would study the aspects of work motivation -- all must pay greater heed to
competence in measurement if they are to work toward the development of a
fundamental, generalizable science that will promote human welfare at work.
I hope that, in any future version of an autobiography, I will be able to report
that my work has moved forward to apply these lessons broadly.
Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, &
National Council on Measurement in Education. Standards for educational
and psychological tests and manuals. Washington, D.C.: American
Psychological Association, 1966.
Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, &
National Council on Measurement in Education. Standards for educational
and psychological tests. Washington, D.C.: APA 1974.
T. A. Test Bias: prediction of grades of Negro and white students in
integrated colleges. Journal of Educational Measurement, 1968, 5, 115-124.
R. B. Another look at "cultural fairness." Journal of
Educational Measurement, 1971, 8, 71-82.
Employment Opportunity Commission. Guidelines on employee selection
procedures. Federal Register, August 1, 1970, 35 (No. 149),
J. P. The structure of intellect. Psychological Bulletin, 1956, 53,
R. M. Criterion measurement and personnel judgments. Personnel
Psychology, 1961, 14, 141-149.
R. M. Industrial psychology as an academic discipline. American
Psychologist, 1965, 20, 815-621. (a)
Guion, R. M. Personnel
testing. New York: McGxaw-Hill, 1965. (b)
R. M. Employment tests and discriminatory hiring. Industrial Relations, 1966,
M. Psychological problems relevant to business and industry. Psychological
Bulletin, 1959, 56, 169-194.
Lawshe, C. H.
Principles of personnel testing. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1948.
of Federal Contract Compliance. Validation of tests by contractors and
subcontractors subject to the provisions of Executive Order 11246. Federal
Register, September 24, 1968, 33 (No. 186), 14392-14394.
of Federal Contract Compliance. Employee testing and other selection
procedures. Federal Register, October 2, 1971, 36 (No. 192),
F. L. , & Hunter, J. E. Development of a general solution to the problem
of validity generalization. Journal of Applied Psychology, 1977, 62,
R. L. Personnel selection: test and measurement technique. New York:
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1971, 8, 63-70.
D. Improving undergraduate instruction in psychology. New York:
Young, P. T. Motivation of
behavior. New York: Wiley, 1936.
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