Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Implicit Trait Tests for Business Executive and Military Officer Selection

Leadership carries an important function in society to influence and manage large groups of people to achieve worthwhile organizational objectives in both the business and military world. We may think we found a great leader and then we find them falter under difficult and stressing situations. On the flip side, we may discard a potential leader based on inaccurate traits and come to find they have the right stuff when under fire. Having more accurate implicit measurements can make a difference in selection and performance that has tangible results on institutional assets and outcomes.

Selecting leaders is important to nearly every aspect of society. We may want a leader to enhance corporate profits, a leader to help our military, or a civic/political leader that can bring society to a new level. Human Resource departments and human enhancement fields don't always use the right tools.

First, it important to say that leadership is culturally laden but there is some elements that seem to be cross cultural and prized by others. Acting with honor, having strong decision making skills, influencing networks of people, and being able to achieve goals are just a few.

Explicit leadership traits are a little easier to observe and we often rely on these outward post performance measures. Implicit leadership is a little different. These are the internal leadership characteristics that are under the surface that are waiting to come out in the right situation.

The most common leadership models often revolve around 1. trait models, 2. behavioral models and 3. contingency models (Buble, 2000). In short this means their personality traits, their behaviors and how they handle certain situations. Implicit personality traits aren't always easy to observe and take special testing to uncover.

 Measurement of the implicit dimension requires specially crafted instruments, including the “classic” Thematic Apperception Test, as well as recently introduced instruments such as the Implicit Association Test and the Conditional Reasoning Test for Power Motive (Trojak & Galic, 2020) .

Thematic Apperception Test (TAT): Interpretation of pictures of social situation that reveal inner motivations. Participants who interpret social pictures in one way or another reveal their own goals and objectives.

Implicit Association Test (IAT): Used in forensic psychology and marketing to measure implicit social cognition through quickly categorizing information in split seconds that indicate subconscious connections (vs. intentional).

Conditional Reasoning Tests (CRT): The test seeks to discover the rationality we justify when achieving our innate goals. People use cognitive processes justify their objectives in defensive thinking. Rationality is often subjective to the goal.

Tests are tests and are part of the overall selection process. We can use them to help us make better decisions but they should be rounded out with other observable characteristics and the needs of the organization. However, using these tools can further the selection process of future leaders in the business and the military world.

Buble, M. (2000). Management. Split: Ekonomski fakultet.

Trojak, N. & Galic, Z. (2018). How to select a true leader? Introducing methods for measurement of implicit power motive. Journal of Contemporary Management Issues,

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