Validity Generalization: A Critical Review (Volume in the Applied Psychology Series)

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Despite numerous attempts over past two decades, there still exists a degree of scepticism in outlining the rudimentary elements for the concept of social entrepreneurship [ 10 - 13 ]. The number of self-employed enterprises is constantly rising, and they are at the peak of their success, recognition and glory than ever before in the human history.

It has been widely acknowledged that only certain individuals with distinctive personality types may initiate and succeed in entrepreneurship initiatives [ 14 ]. Being able to predict the likelihood of someone succeeding in an entrepreneurship venture is of high significance to funding agencies as they receive millions of applications every year from potential entrepreneurs.

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They must ensure that their limited funding goes into the right hands and that they get some returns on their investment. Personality screening is thus of high relevance to the field of entrepreneurship. The key issue in entrepreneurship research is of identifying a definite or at least a predictable set of personality traits underpinning entrepreneurship success as that is required by the screening procedures of the funding agencies.

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The origin of the word entrepreneur is the French word 'Enterprendre' which was translated in English word 'entrepreneur' by John Stewart Mill [ 15 ]. Webster's dictionary defines an entrepreneur as "one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business and enterprise. Entrepreneurship is also defined as "the process of creating something new with value by devoting the necessary time and effort, assuming the accompanying financial, psychic and social risks, time and effort; as well as receiving the resulting rewards of monetary and personal satisfaction; and independence".

An elementary definition of social entrepreneurship can be argued to be: people who engages in entrepreneurial activities to resolve social issues [ 9 , 11 , 16 - 20 ]. This is however, misleading and an incomplete portrayal of social entrepreneurs as there is no mention of their underpinning psychological attributes, behaviours and personality [ 21 ]; and is quite idealistic [ 9 , 11 , 18 , 19 ].

In depth analysis of various definitions postulated by social scientists over a decade reveal commonalities:. Some theorists have adopted an idealistic stance, thereby restricting social entrepreneurial activities to social value creation without any monetary profit. In reality, however a more balanced approach is found to be practical and sustainable [ 5 , 20 , 22 ]. Psychological attributes such as risk taking, motivation and creativity are of paramount significance in determining the success of any entrepreneurial venture [ 23 ]. A close examination of the definitions also reveals a relevance of considering variant personality traits for different stages of the entrepreneurial process; such as greater risk taking may be required during the initial stages of seeking an opportunity, while a higher degree of motivation and creativity may become necessary for execution of the ideas stage.

The academic interest in social entrepreneurship is relatively more recent than the entrepreneurial research [ 16 , 20 , 24 - 27 ]. However, both groups work towards achieving similar aims of exploiting opportunities, creating new markets and enhancing productivity, thus benefitting the society [ 11 , 28 - 30 ].

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Nevertheless, it is equally important to acknowledge that the key distinguishing feature between commercial and social entrepreneurs lies in their personal motives and value propositions. Primary motives of social entrepreneurs are public welfare and social justice [ 20 , 31 - 33 ], while commercial entrepreneurs are focused more on personal monetary profit [ 29 ].

Target customer groups for a commercial entrepreneur are the people who hold the inclination as well as resources to invest in their innovations; on the other hand, social entrepreneurs target socially neglected, disadvantaged and downtrodden sectors of the population. This distinction creates two very different metrics for assessing success of commercial vs. Personal gains for the entrepreneur as well as the stakeholders would be the intended outcome for a commercial entrepreneurship but an observable, positive impact in the lives of targeted social group would be essential for a social entrepreneurship to be successful [ 11 , 29 , 32 ].

Social entrepreneurs are essentially like commercial entrepreneurs in terms of their ability and initiative to locate, identify and pursue a new business opportunity; however, a major distinction lies in the goals and intentions of the two groups. Social entrepreneurs aim to resolve a social problem from the outset and may even share a proportion of their monetary profit with the disadvantaged group [ 16 , 18 , 19 , 34 - 36 ].

Commercial entrepreneurs, on the other hand, intend to make money for personal gains, from day one! There is nothing ethically or legally wrong with the latter group, but social entrepreneurs just own a different set of priorities [ 37 , 38 ]. Classic or social, both groups of entrepreneurs are known to exhibit a distinct set of psychological attributes that allows them to detect a relevant business niche area, generate adequate sources of funding, develop and offer exciting products and services that may satisfy some needs of the targeted customer group.

The overarching focus on social value creation of the social entrepreneur group allows them a greater degree of freedom in offering services that may not seem to be highly profitable in the first instance but guarantees satisfaction of certain needs [ 11 , 39 ]. The important question to consider here is whether such differences require a different set of psychological attributes? Perhaps not. Comparing what we know about skill sets needed by commercial and social entrepreneurs, it seems that a lot of skills are similar at first glance. Tracey and Phillips [ 40 ] noted that "social entrepreneurs need all the same skills and expertise as more traditional entrepreneurs when they build their businesses" p.

In accordance with empirical research results, social scientists and economists and even politicians unanimously agree for the presence of certain, distinguishing personality traits [ 41 ] amongst the group of entrepreneurs [ 42 , 43 ] and social entrepreneurs [ 44 , 45 ], alike. Despite such overwhelming evidence for the significance of personality traits in determining entrepreneurial actions, other studies have still reported a small degree of explanatory power and predictive validity of individual personality as a variable in entrepreneurship research [ 46 , 47 ].

In a meta-analysis conducted by Rauch and Frese [ 48 ], a significant relationship was found between personality traits and business tasks at various stages of running an enterprise; and this association had a significant impact on the business outcome. So, personality traits were found to be important, only when they are matched to a particular business task, such as seeking funding, hiring manpower, or execution of a plan.

Generic personality traits had little significance to the overall business outcome. We argue that it is a combination of psychological attributes that may form an individual's personality style, which is significant in determining entrepreneurial actions and efficiency, not just single traits [ 49 ]. Furthermore, recent findings also indicated that underpinning psychological attributes may vary for determining efficiency at different stages of an entrepreneurial process [ 50 ]. Personality as a topic of study interests several disciplines and it is considered multi-faceted in nature.

A variety of overlapping definitions have therefore been proposed to understand this phenomenon. Personality traits are defined as "enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself that are exhibited in a wide range of social and personal contexts" [ 51 ]. Gordon Allport was one of the proponents in the personality research who argued it to be a dynamic integration of psychological systems inherent and unique to an individual's behaviours and adaptation to their environment [ 52 ].

Burger [ 53 ] emphasised on the interpersonal nature of a person's personality. Mount, et al. Despite the current, universal agreement amongst scientists on the unique personality and psychological attributes of entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs, alike [ 55 ], literature lacks consensus on the specific characteristics that may determine an entrepreneurs' actions [ 56 ].

During s, majority of publications either denied or argued for an insignificant contribution of personality attributes in determining entrepreneurial success [ 57 ]. It was through studies comparing employed managers and self-employed entrepreneurs that formidable nature of personality research was noted [ 47 , 58 , 59 ]. Specific personality dimensions of risk taking, motivation, locus of control, creativity, assertiveness, the need for achievement, innovation, independence, risk-taking propensity, Type-A behavior, and tolerance for ambiguity and initiative are some of the commonly and consistently found personality dimensions in groups of social entrepreneurs [ 48 , 60 - 68 ].

A deeper examination of the definitions would also indicate the presence of these underpinning psychological attributes.

For example, the definition by Tan [ 69 ] explicitly states risk taking and innovation as a part of the entrepreneurial profile. The definition by Ashoka [ 70 ], Mort, et al. Furthermore, 'offering new ideas' bit of this definition would indicate creative side of entrepreneurs.

Mair And Marti [ 11 ] also postulates creativity and motivational aspects of entrepreneurship by stating innovation and change making in their definitions. Another popular stream of research in the field of personality analysis of entrepreneurs relates to the big five personality traits [ 55 ]. The big five personality traits of neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, openness and agreeableness have been known to be associated with commercial entrepreneurship [ 42 , 43 ] and social entrepreneurship [ 44 , 45 ]. Use of personality dimensions in screening and recruitment of individuals for specific roles was initiated by Cattell in who identified 16 distinct personality factors that may determine an individual's behaviours and performance in a role.

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Cattell's 16 factors are still routinely used in the recruitment and performance development sectors by big organizations; as such personality traits are known to be predictive of an individual's performance. However, for some, 16 factors were just too much information to deal with for a lay person, so a condensed version of Big five personality traits was proposed by Norman in Big five personality factors of agreeableness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, and openness to experience were tested and re-tested and empirically confirmed to be associated with entrepreneurial personality by rigorous research studies [ 72 - 74 ].

In essence, the role of entrepreneurs. Involves selling of their ideas, products or services to the potential funders as well as customers, which requires extraversion [ 73 , 75 ]. Entrepreneurship also involves adoption to change [ 76 ] and exhibition of novel approaches to creating new business strategies, products or services and solving problems [ 73 ].

These traits are indicative of the openness to change dimension of the Big five personality model [ 77 ]. Furthermore, entrepreneurs are known to be highly self-assured and self-confident about their ability to induce change or innovate for the benefit of the larger society or economy [ 78 ], which makes them score low on the tests of neuroticism [ 79 , 80 ]. Possession of a high motivation to achieve goals and strive for excellence in all their initiatives is known to be associated with conscientiousness, a trait and which entrepreneurs score really high [ 81 , 82 ].

For the last dimension of agreeableness on the big five personality model, low scores are generally preferred for entrepreneurs as that gives them the much-needed competitive attitude [ 73 ]. As discussed in Jung's typology, extraversion implies 'outward focused'. Extravert people are known to enjoy social settings and frequently engage in meet and greet with other people. They are known to be highly talkative, cheerful and self-assured, enabling them to initiate and sustain conversations with other people [ 83 ]. Extraversion is about finding the right amounts of passion and enthusiasm to get into meaningful, two-way conversations with people and being able to effectively suppress the expression of socially inappropriate, overwhelming achievements, ambitions and impulses [ 84 ].

Such competencies allow them to develop a good social network [ 85 ]. Introvert people, on the other hand, are 'inward oriented', they avoid social contact, unless it is absolutely necessary. The tendency to get anxious, upset, irritable and insecure by small changes in the environment is known as neuroticism. Neurotic people usually experience a greater degree of negative emotional states such as guilt, anger, hostility, depression, fear etc.

Excessive negativity may lead to the development of a dubious irrationality in their thoughts and behaviour. They tend to be mistrusting, often impulsive and fail to negotiate their ways in conflicting situations [ 87 ]. However, such a personality can sometimes be exceptionally candid about other peoples' strengths and weaknesses, thus providing a valuable insight and sparking an honest stream of conversations that may lead to productive and creative meetings [ 88 ].

On the other hand, people with low neuroticism, tend to be calm, composed, self-confident and relaxed in the face of stressful situations [ 73 ]. In reality, a balance between the two extremes of this personality type have been shown to most beneficial for a person's performance in a job [ 89 ]. The ability to organize, plan, persist and diligently complete all tasks within deadlines is referred to as conscientiousness.

Highly conscientious people are usually hard-working, dependable, zealous, enterprising, and determined [ 73 ]. Another strength exhibited by people with high conscientiousness is their ability to stay motivated, excel and accomplish in high-demanding, unstructured tasks [ 89 , 90 ]. All these traits are central to ensuring success in entrepreneurial life and will ensure their survival during the most challenging phases of their business [ 91 ]. At the same individuals with high conscientiousness are also known to be significantly moral and uphold ethical values at all the times, thereby gaining the trust of those around them [ 92 ].

This quality makes them even more eligible for the role of a social entrepreneur. Most screening tests used for employment recruitment would value candidates scoring high on this dimension. In the entrepreneurship context, adaptability and openness to new experiences have been cited as important characteristics because an entrepreneurship culture would inevitably encourage frequent and constant change [ 93 ].

People who score high on the measures of openness to experience are often unconventional, flexible, adaptable and broad minded. While, the idea of a change may cause panic in regular population, an aspiring entrepreneur must exhibit a natural appeal for embracing change as they set out on this journey [ 94 ]. The extent to which an entrepreneur is able to identify an opportunity in uncertainty and is willing to venture into the unknown has been shown to be associated with entrepreneurial performance [ 95 ].

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Synopsis This volume presents the first wide-ranging critical review of validity generalization VG -a method that has dominated the field since the publication of Schmidt and Hunter's paper "Development of a General Solution to the Problem of Validity Generalization. The research suggests that fundamental relationships among tests and criteria, and the constructs they represent are simpler and more regular than they appear. Looking at the history of the VG model and its impact on personnel psychology, top scholars and leading researchers of the field review the accomplishments of the model, as well as the continuing controversies.

Several chapters significantly extend the maximum likelihood estimation with existing models for meta analysis and VG. Reviewing 25 years of progress in the field, this volume shows how the model can be extended and applied to new problems and domains. This book is important to researchers and graduate students in the areas of industrial organizational psychology and statistics.

Excerpt There is a compelling need for innovative approaches to the solution of many pressing problems involving human relationships in today's society. Read preview Overview. Perrone-McGovern, Kristin M. Goncalves, Oscar F. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, Vol. Pervichko, Elena I. Psychology in Russia, Vol. National Catholic Reporter, Vol.

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