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PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to establish the extent of general performance factors (GPF) in assessment center (AC) exercises and dimensions. The study further aims to determine if larger GPF contributes to larger ethnic group differences across exercises and dimensions that are more cognitively loaded in an emerging market context.Design/methodology/approachThe authors analyzed data across three independent AC samples (Sample 1: N=172; Sample 2: N=281; Sample 3: N=428). The Schmid-Leiman solution was used to determine the extent of GPF in AC exercises and dimensions. An independent samples t-test and Cohen’s d was used to determine the size of ethnic group differences across exercises and dimensions.FindingsThe results indicate that GPF is consistently large for the in-basket exercise. Furthermore, dimensions that are more cognitively loaded, such as problem solving, strategic thinking, and business acumen, seem to produce the largest ethnic group differences. Overall, the research indicates that larger GPF is associated with larger ethnic group differences in relation to specific AC dimensions and exercises.Originality/valueThe authors add to the literature by investigating the prevalence of a GPF in AC ratings across AC exercises and dimensions. A novel contribution of the research attempts to link the prevalence of a GPF in AC ratings to group membership in South Africa. The study offers an alternative statistical analysis procedure to examine GPF in AC ratings.
Journal of Managerial Psychology – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 8, 2017
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