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Professor Steve Woods works at the leading edge of research into personality at work, including psychometric and personality trait assessment, and personality development and change. In conversation here with Rob Feltham, he discusses two recent and important peer reviewed articles in which he and co-researchers have critically examined and challenged current assumptions and practices in the fields of both personality assessment and of cognitive testing for selection into graduate and higher professional occupations. Steve highlights the need for personality assessment to focus more on the dynamic nature of traits, and for the assessment domain to more fully encompass prosocial behaviours at work, particularly in the context of leadership.  As regards cognitive testing and prestige occupations, Steve points to its potential to perpetuate societal inequality and social disadvantage, and he outlines potential alternative ways forward for employers. Steve also discusses his own personal career journey.

Steve is Professor of Work and Organisational Psychology at Surrey Business School, University of Surrey. He conducts research on personality and assessment at work, recruitment and selection in organisations, with special interests in how to ensure fair and effective assessment and digital selection procedures and analytics. His work is published in scientific and professional journals (e.g. Journal of Applied Psychology; Journal of Vocational Behaviour; Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology), scholarly books, and international conferences. He is co-author of the international text The Psychology of Work and Organizations with Prof Michael West.     Steve collaborates with industry to help put research into action, and to help develop solutions to real world challenges of management, as a practitioner work and organisational psychologist in the UK and with businesses and organisations globally, especially in the areas of HR assessment, recruitment, selection and development. Since gaining his PhD, he has held academic posts at University of Nottingham, Aston Business School, University of Liverpool, University of Surrey and University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.

Rob Feltham is Podcast Editor of the ABP.

Reading list:
For listeners who wish to look further into the two articles specifically referred to in the podcast, they are:

Ritz, J., Woods, S. A., Wille, B., Woo, S. E., Nübold, A., Beckmann, N., Dalal R.S., Galic Z., Wiernik B., Tett, R.P., Pickett, J. & Christiansen, N. (2023). Personality at work. Personality Science4(1).

Woods, S.A. & Patterson, F. (2024). A critical review of the use of cognitive ability testing for selection into graduate and higher professional occupations. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 97(1).

Listen to “Episode 40: Challenging assumptions about psychometric assessment and reshaping our practice: A conversation with Professor Steve Woods” on Spreaker.

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