Sunday, February 24, 2008

Questionnaire redesigned

This article describes an intervention to redesign questionnaires that measure human performance, primarily of those in leadership positions. The article offers some salient limitations to the current use of evaluation and frequency scales. The intervention/invention seems feasible to me but the last part is a bit statistical or more quantitative (so those among us who use this aspect of the left brain a bit more than me can review and tell me what you think :) .

Proposed arguments

  • The author distinguishes between evaluation scales and frequency magnitude. The former judge how well the individual performs and the latter tell how often the individual displays or engages in a behavior.
  • These scales often report two extreme findings the underdone and the overdone. He asserts that it easily identifies the underdone but assumes that high scores are good and people often make invalid inferences. For example, a high rating of 4 (“Frequently, if not always”) in response to the item “Speaks up in a group” using the frequency/magnitude scale could mean one of two things: either the individual speaks up appropriately often or that the individual dominates group discussions. Therefore, a high score does not mean that the individual is an effective communicator and group leader, etc. Again, there is no provision for the overdo extreme.”
  • These scales often do not provide the reasons why the individuals were given the ratings they received.
  • They are lopsided as they do not assess complimentary attitudes and characteristics.


  • Have a questionnaire that requires participants to rate along a continuum. Where the middle indicates balance, represented by a zero (0). The deficient end will be represented by increasingly negative (-) figures and the overdone end is represented by increasingly positive (+) figures.

← Too little (-1 or more)-The right amount (0)-Too much (+1 or mote) →

  • Second the questionnaire will assess complimentary characteristics and attitudes but will do so implicitly and the questions for matching characteristics will not be placed beside each other. (This is where the statistics comes in)

Human? Google?

It's amazing the search results that come up when one types in human performance in a search engine. Well for me I was looking for methods/guidelines/heuristics that were used to collect data on human performance. Most of the search results were not directly related to human beings but were related to technologies that were designed to function as human beings.

Another set were about Psychology or scientifically related which, I did not mind as it's good to learn from other fields but then they started using some statistical data to explain findings and I just went to another source. Among the scientific topics were human enhancements.

Second, am I the only one that's late? Did you know that Google had a program called Analytics.

The New Google Analytics

Google Analytics has been re-designed to help you learn even more about where your visitors come from and how they interact with your site.

Discover. Share. Act.

The new Google Analytics makes it easy to improve your results online. Write better ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives, and create higher-converting websites. Google Analytics is free to all advertisers, publishers, and site owners.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Skill Measurement Systems: Technology to the rescue

Everything boils down to what’s your goal or objective, even developing a competency model.

“As a consultant, one of my main roles is to help program decision-makers establish a strategic linkage between the competency modeling program and key business objectives,” says Maul., Article Title: Skills Measurement for Effective Competency Modeling—Lessons from the Field.

The article discusses June Maul’s experience with competency model and highlights the benefits of using skill measurement systems to help in the process of creating competency models. To do it manually can be long and cumbersome. Technology to the rescue :)

She recommends the following in order to successfully implement a competency model:

  • Planning—Link Program Implementation to Measurable Business Goals
  • Establish Communications—Convey Clear Goals to Create Champions and Motivate Participants
  • Create Incentives—Link Program Participation to Career Development

Human Assets as a competitive advantage

Eureka! Eureka! I have got it!! Like Archimedes I have made a discovery. O.k, it won’t change history but something just dawned on me. There has been a shift in the focus of businesses today. I have no research to prove it yet, but I believe that the fear that permeated at first is no longer there. I know you are wondering what I am talking about….O.k let’s cut the chase.

When the computer, the internet and other information technologies were introduced in the work place, some employees became fearful that they would be replaced by technology. The fear led to great resistance and the anti-technology syndrome. Managers saw the technology as a way to reduce the size of the workforce and save money. However, the focus has shifted from primarily reducing the size of the labor force with the use of technology to improving the performance of the workforce, with and without technology.

Businesses have recognized that in the competitive market it’s not who has the most high tech computer systems; it’s the company that has the greatest minds that will have the edge. : The article, Career and Competency Pathing: The Competency Modeling Approach is short. You should read it!!

The article defines competency and competency model quite well:

“Competencies are behaviors that encompass the knowledge, skills, and attributes required for successful performance.”

“Competency modeling is the activity of determining the specific competencies that are characteristic of high performance and success in a given job.”

According to Boulter, et al (1998), there are six stages involved in defining a competency model for a given job role. These stages are:

  1. Performance criteria - Defining the criteria for superior performance in the role.
  2. Criterion sample - Choosing a sample of people performing the role for data collection.
  3. Data collection - Collecting sample data about behaviors that lead to success.
  4. Data analysis - Developing hypotheses about the competencies of outstanding performers and how these competencies work together to produce desired results.
  5. Validation - Validating the results of data collection and analysis.
  6. Application - Applying the competency models in human resource activities, as needed.

Hewlett-Packard was noted as one of the companies that has been using competency modeling to improve performance and they have seen good results. It is perceived that the use of competency modeling will increase and that development in technology will enable more.

"The ways human resource activities are performed must change substantially to respond to business challenges. New technology applications will be the most critical enabler."