Nowack, K. M. (1988). Approaches to validating assessment centers. Performance & Instruction, 27, 14-16

Over a period of years, an impressive literature has been published indicating that the assessment center method, when properly designed and implemented, is an excellent predictor of supervisory and management potential. A number of validation strategies exist for organizations wishing to evaluate the effectiveness of their assessment centers. These strategies are appropriate whether organizations use the assessment center approach for personnel decisions or for management development efforts. Given the increasing regulation and activity of state and federal courts with regards to employee selection procedures, validation of assessment centers takes on additional significance. This article briefly describes the diverse approaches to assessment center validation that comply with both the federal regulatory guidelines and standards of the American Psychological Association for validation studies.

The article describes the three most typical approaches to assessment center validation including:

  1. Content validation approaches;
  2. Criterion related concurrent validation approaches; and
  3. Criterion related predictive validation approaches.

Eight specific steps are provided for practitioners attempting to validate their assessment center. References are provided for current federal and professional standards relating to assessment center design and validation.

Nowack, K. M. (1987). Health habits, Type A behavior, and job burnout. Work & Stress, 1, 135-142

This study examined the effects of health habits and Type A behavior on psychological health outcomes in the face of work and life stress in a four-month prospective design. Measures of life stress Hassles Inventory), health habits, Type A behavior (Framingham Type A scale), job burnout (Maslach Burnout Inventory) and psychological distress (Hopkins Symptom Checklist) were collected for 146 employees.

Analyses of covariance revealed that health habits contributed significant main effects to psychological distress but not any of the job burnout outcomes. Type A behavior, but not life stress or health habits, directly affected both job burnout and psychological distress measures. No interaction effects were observed with respect to either of the psychological health outcome measures used in this study. The implications of the research for employee health promotion programs are discussed.

Nowack, K. M. (1986). Type A behavior, hardiness and pscyhological distress. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 9, 537-548

This study examined the effects of hardiness and Type A behavior to job burnout and psychological distress in the face of daily life hassles. Measures of hassles, Type A behavior (Framingham Scale), and psychological distress were collected for 193 employees in the human services over 4 months. In this study, personality hardiness was assessed using a composite score from the Locus of Control scale, Alienation from Work scale, and Sensation Seeking scale based on the original hardiness constructs of control, commitment, and challenge.

Analyses of covariance revealed that cognitively hardy Type A individuals experienced significantly less job burnout and psychological distress than their less hardy counterparts (p < .05). This significant interaction suggests that personality hardiness exert its strongest buffering effect with individuals expressing high Type A behaviors. The conceptual overlap and inherent confound between the hassles and psychological distress measures are discussed in light of the research findings.

Nowack, K. M. (1986). Stress in the workplace: Who are the hardy employees? Training & Development, 40, 116-118

Today it is widely accepted that work stress has negative consequences on both psychological and physical well being. What is not well established is what makes some employees so resistant to stress and others so vulnerable. This article summarizes research exploring the identification of less stress resistant employees, why they have trouble coping, and what can be done to help them.

The article defines and discusses the measurement of job burnout, presents a summary of research describing the stress resistant or hardy employee, and discusses the implications for both employee selection and training. Early research of a comprehensive psychosocial stress and health risk appraisal (Stress Assessment Profile) is presented. The scales of the Stress Assessment Profile are defined including stress, lifestyle habits (exercise, eating/nutrition, rest/sleep, substance use, preventive practices), social support, cognitive hardiness, Type A behavior, coping style (positive appraisal, negative appraisal, avoidance, problem solving), psychological well being, and response bias.

Nowack, K. M. (1986). Pre-post-then evaluation of a behavioral modeling approach to supervisory skills training. Performance & Instruction, 25, 14-16

Evaluating and demonstrating behavior change and impact in supervisory and management training programs has traditionally been challenging (Level 3 and 4 evaluation). This study explored self-reported behavior change of 48 participants involved in a comprehensive supervisory training program utilizing a behavioral modeling training approach. Participants met for four classes each targeting one specific behavioral skill related to effective supervision (active listening, giving constructive feedback, correcting undesirable behavior, and reinforcing desirable behavior).

A quasi-experimental, separate sample design was employed to assess self-reported changes in familiarity, ability, and confidence to use and transfer the four skills taught during the training program. A "Post-Then" evaluation process was used to minimize the "response shift bias" that exists with pre-post testing and evaluation. Dependent t-scores were calculated for each of the four supervisory behaviors taught during the workshop with respect to change in familiarity, confidence to use the behavior, and ability to use and transfer the behavior back on the job.

Results indicated that program participants reported significantly greater familiarity, confidence and ability in applying each of the four behaviors taught in the supervisory workshop (all p's < .05). The one exception was in the active listening area. Participants did not report that they were more proficient and able to transfer the skill of active listening back to their jobs (p > .05) despite being significantly more familiar with the techniques and more confident in using them as a result of the workshop training. Implications for behavioral modeling training, "post-then" evaluation approaches, and replicable training procedures are discussed.

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