En kritisk vurdering af personlighedstesten NEO PI-R

Julie Reckweg Cordes

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

We increasingly evaluate and assess personality in a corporate context, with personality tests as the main tool. The more widespread these get, the more accepted they become. One of the most popular ones in Denmark is called NEO PI-R and is being used by 400 Danish companies. Its theoretical foundation, the Five Factor model, is even more widespread. These five factors have become our framework to define personality in an everyday context. We define each other in terms of the same agreed upon model. But what happens if we change our original perspective? This thesis examines the shift of scientific perspective when evaluating personality tests. Psychometric tools, such as personality tests, are derived from a positivist approach, where the quantification of personality aspects and finding universalism in our behavioral patterns, is the main goal of assessment. In this thesis I describe the social constructivist approach in order to evaluate NEO PI-R from this perspective. For the purpose of being capable of discussing the two perspectives on their own terms, I also dedicate focus to the positivist approach. In order to specify my focus, I use the NEO PI-R test as the case for my overall construct: personality tests. Both the psychometric approach and NEO PI-R are being described. In the discussion I assess the endogenous and exogenous critical viewpoints in regards to my object of analysis. There are commonly known limitations for personality testing and NEO PI-R, which are formulated and applied within the positivist tradition. The scientific foundation for the test is therefore not being questioned. These are endogenous critique points. This thesis applies a different scientific approach than the positivist, specifically the social constructivist, in order to enlighten different limitations than the ones proposed by the believers in NEO PI-R. These are the exogenous points. As a result of applying a constructionist approach it becomes clear, that the Five Factor model not only seems to measure and describe personality, but it actually constructs and produces our understanding of it.

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2013
Number of pages98