Latest Psychometric News and Views

Check out the latest news and views from members of the Psychometrics Forum. This page will be updated with your news and views regularly, so check back soon.

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Recruiting and Developing Effective Top Managers

The Psychometrics Forum Event, April 2013

The Psychometrics Forum had a full house once again for this popular event at The Naval Club. There was a real buzz in the air as people enjoyed the opportunity to ‘talk psychometrics' and network with like-minded professionals, especially over the excellent lunch that is always a feature of the events held here.

The morning speaker, Dr Douglas Board, provides specialist advice for senior individuals looking to change direction. He is also the author of ‘Choosing Leaders and Choosing to Lead: Science, Politics and Intuition', which provided the basis for his talk. He described a pattern at senior level of poor selection practice, using short, entertaining stories to illustrate the point. The poor practice might include ‘politicking' by Board members in the assessment of candidates, or at the other extreme, overly objective measures. The latter has worked well for junior or middle manager appointments, but is not effective for senior appointments. Drawing on an excellent range of academic references, Douglas showed how little research has been done into executive selection practices. He put forward an alternative approach, developed from the work of the French anthropologist and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, which provides a framework for senior selection based on science (the need to quantify and predict), politics (organisational culture/values) and intuition (the social dimension). Douglas shared some examples showing how this framework could shape the selection process. This was a very useful and engaging session, giving the audience plenty of ideas to think about and put into practice.

In the afternoon we welcomed back Wendy Lord, who co-presented with Jon Cowell on the relationship between leadership effectiveness and personality theory, measurement and application. Wendy is Chief Psychologist and a Company Director at Hogrefe Ltd; Jon is a Director of Edgecumbe Consulting Group and an Associate Fellow at Oxford University's Said Business School. Their talk described an emerging consensus of what constitutes leadership and the relevance of personality to leadership development. For leaders to consciously manage behavioural style to optimise outcomes, they need insights into their personality. But they also need to be able to translate those insights into a leadership context. Wendy and Jon explained how the Edgcumbe Group and Hogrefe Ltd have worked together to map the behavioural insights provided by the NEO P1-R onto the Primary Colours Model to produce a computer-generated report for use in leadership coaching. This approach is still in development, but promises to be an exciting tool for coaching at senior levels.

Creating & cultivating a thriving
organisational culture.

The Psychometrics Forum Event, September 2012

This Psychometrics Forum meeting at the prestigious Caledonian Club was with two internationally renowned speakers on the subject of Organisational Culture, discussing how to use Psychometrics for creating & cultivating a thriving organisation.

Professor Philippe Rosinski is a world authority in executive coaching, team coaching, and global leadership development. He is the author of the Cultural Orientations Framework (COF) assessment, Coaching Across Cultures (2003) and Global Coaching (2010). He presented a highly stimulating morning seminar at The Psychometric Forum on Coaching across Cultures. Philippe began with a fascinating discussion across the forum of what culture actually is. He steered us in the direction of realising that culture is a group phenomenon. His point was that we have multiple cultures as we are members of multiple different groups. One group would be our family, whilst another would be work colleagues, and others are associates within The Psychometric Forum etc. A useful definition is that a group's culture is the set of unique characteristics that distinguishes it's members from another group. These different cultures vary and alter throughout the day. Philippe stated that the notion of identity is the dynamic synthesis of our different cultures. Within different scenarios, different cultures would take precedence. Philippe introduced the Cultural Orientations Framework (COF), an integrative framework designed to access and compare cultures. He made the point that measuring culture from the beginning is biased on our cultural experiences. Hence the context in which we observe affects our observation. We exist in the relationship not as separate issues. We were challenged to be careful of constructs and assumptions of a psychometric tool, particularly in a cross cultural setting, our goal being not validity but usefulness. An alternative view for The Psychometric Forum!

Dr Mark Batey, is a world-leading authority on the Psychology of Creativity. In 2009, he was ranked 2nd in the world for published research into creativity. Author of a creativity tool based on over 8 years of research on creativity. He has a strong background of research in the psychology of creativity, which ultimately led to his development of the ‘me2 General Factor of Creativity' inventory. The good news from Mark is that we do not all have to aspire to be like James Dyson. As with so many aspects of organisational success, it's a matter of assembling teams of people with complementary skills and preferences. The me2 questionnaire is framed around a model of creativity ‘style', based on four dimensions or ‘categories': Idea Generation, Personality, Motivation and Confidence. The me2 tool has been developed over a period of 10 years or so. A sten score of between 3 and 7 on the me2 model represents ‘typical', or approximately 67% of the population. But we need to consider not only the positive side but also the negative for each factor contributing to creativity - the ‘dark side of creativity' perhaps?

Part of the challenge of creativity is that we seem to produce our best ideas in ‘down time'. Mark cited Margaret Boden (Sussex University) who refers to this as ‘Bed/Bath/Bus moments'. In other words we can try too hard to be creative. Arguably, few problems are solved in a brainstorming session. Research by Diehl and Stroebe (1987) suggested that brainstorming is generally ineffective in producing new ideas; and groups are often not the best medium for this.

Leadership - Engaging and Derailing Traits

The Psychometrics Forum event, February 2012

The Psychometrics Forum continued it's success at the Caledonian Club, with another sell out event. Members and guests alike were eagerly awaiting presentations from world renowned experts in leadership and they were not disappointed.

Having previously held a post at The University of Oxford as a Lecturer in Psychology, Professor Adrian Furnham has been Professor of Psychology at University College London (UCL) since 1992. His talk surrounded issues of derailing leadership traits and the dark side of personality. Two key points were eloquently emphasised by Adrian, as take-home messages. The first was the need for ‘selecting-out' in recruitment, which referred to the process of looking for traits that you don't want for a leadership role and eliminating candidates on this basis. Secondly, too much of a good thing, is a bad thing. This refers to the idea that extremes of personality traits, are abnormal and derailing. Professor Furnham went onto describe the profile of a good leader in terms of the Big five factors, which sparked large debate. If you would like to read more about this profile, see the next edition of Psyche for a full write up of the talk.

In the afternoon, Professor Beverly Alimo-Metcalfe began with her impressive knowledge of the leadership literature and enthused the audience with a history its development. She is Professor of Leadership at Bradford University School of Management and Chief Executive of Real World Group. Her daughter, Juliette Alban-Metcalfe, Managing Director of Real World Group, gave an overview of the psychometric tools that they offer and allowed the audience to complete a short diagnostic about their own organisational leaders. It was a very interesting and engaging talk, from the opposite perspective to that of the morning, of how positive, strong leadership can be.

Personality, Leadership and Organisational Effectiveness

The Psychometrics Forum event, June 2011


Attracting an audience of 85 members and guests, at a venue new to the Forum, the Caledonian Club near Hyde Park Corner, this was a sell-out event. Dr Bob Hogan, who had expressed a wish to return to address The Psychometrics Forum, was in sparkling form. his presentation was humorous, iconoclastic but also erudite. Dr Hogan's mantra that our goal in life is Getting Along, Getting Ahead and Finding Meaning is deceptively simple, but a valuable perspective on how to achieve succes at work - and in our lives generally. A full write-up of his talk will be available in the next issue of Psyche, the newletter of The Psychometrics Forum.

In the afternoon, Prof Peter Saville gave us the background to the development of Saville Consulting's personality instrument, Wave. He gave the audience a very interesting profile to discuss, and to our surprise, the individual concerned identifed himself as a member of the audience. Prof Saville's mystery guest turned out to be Ajaz Ahmed, the founder of Freeserve, and an entertaining and charming speaker in his own right! Saville Consulting generously offered all delegates the opportunity to complete their Wave profile prior to the event, and also to undertake accreditation at a substantial discount.

The Brain, Personality and Behaviour

The Psychometrics Forum event, May 2011

This was a wonderful event, which took place in the plush surroundings of the Royal Over Seas League. We were fortunate to have three excellent and knowledgeable speakers in Rita Carter and Prof. Paul Brown and Prof. Colin de Young. We were breaking some new ground with presentations of some cutting edge ideas and research that explored our current understanding of the intersection between neuroscience and psychometrics and speculated on the direction and applications for future developments in the field.

Rita Carter gave us an overview of brain structure and function pointing out that till recently, brain/behaviour studies have been largely concerned with similarities seen in human brains, rather than differences. Researchers are now starting to look at how the functions associated with these faculties vary between individuals. Recent results from imaging studies suggest that the complex behaviours associated with personality (e.g. those described by the Big Five ) can be mapped on to brain function and even structure. Rita provided a glimpse into a possible future in which "brain-reading" technology might be developed which could provide information about, for example, an individual's leadership potential.

The UK's only Professor of Organisational Neuroscience, Paul Brown introduced us to his work on integrating the Individual and the Organisation. He gave us a practical case study of neuro-behavioural modelling (NBM) within a whole systems framework, incorporating an diagnostic to determine communication flows and blocks within organisations. Fundamental to this approach is trust and biologically determined human needs for Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness and Fairness (SCARF).

In another first for The Psychometrics Forum, Professor Colin De Young joined us via live video link from the University of Minnesota, USA. He explored the physiological correlates of NEO derived Big 5 scales, and research into Big 5 traits that are associated with structural variation in brain systems aligned with the relevant function. He also proposed meta-traits of Stability (Neuroticism, Agreeableness & Conscientiousness) and Plasticity (Extraversion & Openness/Intellect), each associated with a neurotransmitter (Seratonin & Dopamine respectively). Interested readers can visit his web-site:

A glimpse into a possible future indeed.......

David Roberts

Click here for a brief history of the Psychometrics Forum group, as seen from David Robert's perspective (the ex-editor of the group's Newsletter, Psyche).

Hugh McCredie

Do managers need to be extraverted? Click here for a brief overview of Hugh McCredie's lastest article from March 2010.

Also, check out the article written by our vice-chair Hugh McCredie in Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 2009 of the BPS journal  "Assessment and Development Matters", entitled Thanks For The Big Five : Now We Can Talk To Each Other

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