Topic 9: Ethics of Career Development and Training and Development Assessments


Topic 9 allows students to apply concepts to better understand how assessments can be both detrimental and positive to making successful hires and career transitions when used appropriately. HRWD professionals must consider all the consequences that can occur prior to using an assessment. Making the right hiring decisions influences employee morale. Hiring the wrong employee at any level of the organization can be problematic.

Scenario 1: Preparing for a Forklift Assessment

Helen arrived in the United States at the age of 18 as an international exchange student. In her home country of the Czech Republic, she did not have to learn much about the US language and workplace terminologies. Now that she has obtained her first job, she is excited to be working and enjoys the work that she does. There are changes occurring on her job and her supervisor has approached Helen about new training and assessment requirements for he to progress within her career path.

Helen wants to progress but is required to learn the classroom knowledge about operating a forklift, tow motor, and other mobile equipment inside the facility. During her first day of class, Helen realizes that she does not understand anything that the trainer is saying. She does not understand what a triangle is without being shown a picture. She absolutely cannot understand the concept of a stability triangle which is essential to understanding how to operate a forklift. Helen must be able to pass the written assessment about operating a forklift before she will ever be allowed to train to drive one.

Discussion Questions

  1. What can the trainer do to help Helen?
  2. What can the supervisor do to help Helen?
  3. What can Helen do to help herself?
  4. In what way(s) does this assessment have the potential to have an adverse impact on Helen?

Scenario 2: Biased Leadership Development Assessments

XYZ Corporation has introduced new hire assessments into their leadership development program. All new leaders must complete the assessment prior to participating in the second stage of the leadership program. No women or minorities have ever made it past the first stage of the leadership development program because there are gender and culturally biased questions on the assessment. Tricia has just been hired as HRD manager to oversee the leadership development program and upon discovering the bias in the assessment, it is her job to inform management, consisting of all white males, about the assessment bias.

Discussion Questions

  1.  How can Tricia help eliminate assessment bias against women and minority leaders?
  2.  Is it the role of HRD professionals to determine assessment bias?

Supplemental Readings

Bersin, J., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2019). The case for hiring older workers. Harvard Business Review, 26, 2-5.

Boyer, E. P., & Webb, T. G. (1992). Ethics and diversity: A correlation enhanced through corporate communication. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 35(1), 38-43.

Camara, W. J. (1997). Use and consequences of assessments in the USA: Professional, ethical and legal issues. European Journal of Psychological Assessment, 13(2), 140-152.

Johnson, L. E., & Potter, P. W. (1998). Information systems careers: The role of assessment centers. Career Development International,  3(4), 142-144.

Kim, S. (2003). Linking employee assessments to succession planning. Public Personnel Management, 32(4), 533-547.

Knight, R. (2017). 7 Practical ways to reduce bias in your hiring process. Harvard Business Review, 2-7.

Kuncel, N. R., & Hezlett, S. A. (2010). Fact and fiction in cognitive ability testing for admissions and hiring decisions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19(6), 339-345.

McGrath, R. E., Mitchell, M., Kim, B. H., & Hough, L. (2010). Evidence for response bias as a source of error variance in applied assessment. Psychological Bulletin, 136(3), 450-470.

McLagan, P. A. (1989). Models for HRD practice. Training & Development Journal, 43(9), 49-60.

Patton, W. D., & Pratt, C. (2002). Assessing the training needs of high-potential managers. Public Personnel Management, 31(4), 464-484.