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A Matter of Context: A Meta-Analytic Investigation of the Relative Validity of Contextualized and Noncontextualized Personality Measures



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 66, Issue 2, 529, Article first published online: 20 May 2013

  • We thank Frank Schmidt and Amy Colbert for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments. Finally, we thank all of the test publishers that provided us with specific information related to the personality scales included in our analyses.

  • Text in bold represent corrections added on 15 May 2013 after initial online publication on 2 August 2012. Values in tables and text have been corrected in order to rectify publication bias and the validity of conscientiousness in Appendix B.

  • In the initial publication, Appendix B included a study that was not reflected in the meta-analysis, and omitted another study that was included in the meta-analysis. In addition, the ks, Ns, and estimates that were reported in Table 3 for four of the conscientiousness analyses were incorrect, and several of the rows for agreeableness also contained errors. For the most part, the errors resulted in observed correlations that were incorrect by .01, affecting the calculations for the confidence intervals of those estimates. Nevertheless, the discussion of the authors' findings for Table 3 is still valid. The authors would like to apologize for any inconvenience caused by the errors, and would like to thank Sven Kepes and Mike McDaniel for making us aware of the need for the corrections.

Jonathan A. Shaffer, Assistant Professor of Management, Department of Management, Marketing, and General Business, West Texas A&M University, Box 60809, Canyon, TX 79016;


The empirical evidence that has accumulated in support of the notion that personality is a valid predictor of employee performance is vast, yet debate on the matter continues. This study investigates frame-of-reference effects as they relate to the validity of self-report measures of personality. Specifically, we compare the validities of general, noncontextualized personality measures and work-specific, contextualized measures. The findings suggest that personality measures are a more valid predictor of performance when the scale items or instructions are framed specifically so as to reference work-specific behaviors. We found that the validities for noncontextualized measures of personality ranged from .02 to .22, with a mean validity of .11. The validities for contextualized measures ranged from .14 to .30, with a mean of .24. Additional moderator analyses were conducted in an effort to examine several alternate explanations for these validity differences. Specifically, we examined differences between the developmental purpose (general use vs. workplace use) and reliabilities of each type of personality measure. We also compared the validities from published studies to those from unpublished studies. Results suggest that these moderators did not have an impact on the validity differences between noncontextualized and contextualized measures.

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