Psychometric tests used in organisations-I

Many organisations use psychometrics tests during various phases of employee’s life cycle. It starts with hiring, it is used to judge existing competencies and potential, to understand training needs and finally during outplacement.

Some popular ones are MBTI, FIRO-B, Belbin, Five factor tests, DISC, Hogan etc.

Purpose of FIRO-B is to understand interpersonal needs, these needs being inclusion, control and affection (openness). There is further subdivision of needs in terms of each them being expressed or wanted.

FIRO B was designed by William Schutz for American Navy during Korean War; purpose was to find out who will get along with whom. It was designed to predict interaction between two people. FIRO B is not a personality test, unlike MBTI, Five factors or Hogan.

Belbin team role was designed by Meredith Belbin to predict what role a person can play in team, for team to progress. It defines nine such roles. Belbin team role is again not a personality test, it just predicts what role one can play to make team a success. Roles can be social (resource coordinator, coordinator and team worker), thinking (plant, monitor evaluator and specialist) or task oriented (shaper, implementer, finisher)

“A tendency to behave, contribute and interrelate with others in a particular way.”

-Team role as defined by Meredith Belbin

DISC was designed by William Marston. It was based on how an individual perceives environment. He will perceive environment to be favourable or non-favourable to him. In addition to this he may feel that he is powerful enough to change environment or not powerful enough to change environment. If we design 2×2 matrix based on these four parameters then we get four styles ex. a person may perceive environment non favourable, but powerful enough to change it, this style is called dominance. The other three styles are influence, steady and conscientious. Taking first letter of each style you get acronym DISC. William Marston never patented his work, so today we have various versions of this test like Thomas Profiling, Extended DISC, DiSC etc. DISC again is not a personality test.

DISC, Belbin and FIRO-B are widely used in organisation and some practitioners label them as personality test, which is wrong. Each test has a specific purpose- FIRO-B to understand interpersonal skills, DISC to understand your style in dealing with environment and Belbin to understand what role one can play in a team to make it a success.

We will talk about personality tests in my next article.





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