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Updated: Jun 1



Hogan's Personality Testing: An In-Depth Exploration


Personality assessments have long been a cornerstone of organizational psychology, helping employers understand the traits and behaviors of potential and current employees. Among the myriad of personality tests available, Hogan's Personality Testing stands out as one of the most respected and widely used tools in the field. Developed by Dr. Robert Hogan in the 1980s, these tests are designed to predict job performance by assessing personality characteristics and potential derailers that can affect workplace success. This comprehensive guide delves into the intricacies of Hogan's Personality Testing, exploring its components, applications, benefits, and limitations.


The Origins and Development of Hogan's Personality Testing


Dr. Robert Hogan, a pioneer in the field of personality assessment, founded Hogan Assessments in 1987. His goal was to create scientifically validated tools that could predict job performance and help organizations make better hiring and development decisions. Hogan's tests are grounded in decades of research and are based on the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality, also known as the Big Five. This model categorizes personality traits into five broad dimensions: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (often referred to as Emotional Stability).


Hogan's Personality Testing includes three primary assessments: the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI). Each of these assessments serves a distinct purpose in understanding different aspects of an individual's personality and potential fit within an organization.


The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI)


The HPI is designed to assess normal personality traits that are relevant to job performance. It measures seven primary scales, each of which corresponds to a dimension of the Five-Factor Model:


1. Adjustment: Reflects emotional stability and resilience. High scores indicate calmness and composure under pressure, while low scores suggest a propensity for stress and anxiety.

2. Ambition: Measures the degree of initiative and competitiveness. High scorers are typically goal-oriented and assertive, whereas low scorers may lack drive and prefer supportive roles.

3. Sociability: Assesses the extent to which individuals enjoy social interaction. High scorers are outgoing and gregarious, while low scorers may be more reserved and introverted.

4. Interpersonal Sensitivity: Reflects tact and perceptiveness in social interactions. High scorers are empathetic and diplomatic, while low scorers may be blunt or indifferent to others' feelings.

5. Prudence: Measures conscientiousness and self-discipline. High scorers are organized and reliable, while low scorers may be more spontaneous and less detail-oriented.

6. Inquisitive: Assesses intellectual curiosity and creativity. High scorers are imaginative and open to new experiences, while low scorers may prefer routine and conventional approaches.

7. Learning Approach: Reflects the desire for knowledge and continuous learning. High scorers enjoy education and self-improvement, while low scorers may be less interested in intellectual pursuits.


The HPI provides a comprehensive profile of an individual's strengths and weaknesses, helping employers predict how they will perform in various job roles.


The Hogan Development Survey (HDS)


The HDS assesses potential derailers—personality traits that can hinder performance and career success, especially under stress or pressure. These derailers are categorized into eleven scales:


1. Excitable: High scorers may be overly enthusiastic and emotional but prone to mood swings and becoming easily disappointed.

2. Skeptical: Reflects a tendency towards distrust and cynicism. High scorers may be vigilant and perceptive but also overly suspicious and critical.

3. Cautious: Measures fear of failure and risk aversion. High scorers are careful and risk-averse, while low scorers may be more willing to take chances.

4. Reserved: Assesses aloofness and social detachment. High scorers may be independent and self-reliant but can appear unapproachable or uncommunicative.

5. Leisurely: Reflects passive-aggressiveness and a tendency to resist authority indirectly. High scorers may appear agreeable but harbor underlying resentment.

6. Bold: Measures self-confidence and arrogance. High scorers are often charismatic and confident but can be perceived as egotistical and domineering.

7. Mischievous: Reflects a propensity for risk-taking and rule-breaking. High scorers are adventurous and charming but may engage in reckless behavior.

8. Colorful: Assesses attention-seeking and dramatic tendencies. High scorers are lively and entertaining but can be seen as flamboyant and self-centered.

9. Imaginative: Reflects creativity and unconventional thinking. High scorers are innovative and visionary but may appear eccentric or unrealistic.

10. Diligent: Measures perfectionism and meticulousness. High scorers are detail-oriented and hardworking but can be overly critical and micromanaging.

11. Dutiful: Assesses compliance and eagerness to please. High scorers are cooperative and loyal but may be overly deferential and unwilling to challenge authority.


Understanding these derailers helps organizations identify potential risks and develop strategies to mitigate them, ensuring long-term success and stability.


The Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI)


The MVPI explores the core values and drivers that motivate individuals, providing insights into their cultural fit within an organization. It measures ten primary scales:


1. Recognition: Desire for fame and public acknowledgment. High scorers seek visibility and recognition, while low scorers may be more private and modest.

2. Power: Desire for influence and control. High scorers are motivated by leadership and authority, while low scorers may prefer collaborative and egalitarian environments.

3. Hedonism: Desire for pleasure and enjoyment. High scorers seek fun and excitement, while low scorers may prioritize duty and responsibility.

4. Altruistic: Desire to help others and contribute to society. High scorers are compassionate and service-oriented, while low scorers may be more self-focused.

5. Affiliation: Desire for social interaction and belonging. High scorers value relationships and teamwork, while low scorers may prefer independence.

6. Tradition: Desire for stability and adherence to established norms. High scorers value tradition and order, while low scorers may embrace change and innovation.

7. Security: Desire for safety and predictability. High scorers seek stability and security, while low scorers may be more comfortable with risk and uncertainty.

8. Commerce: Desire for financial success and material wealth. High scorers are motivated by economic gain, while low scorers may prioritize other values.

9. Aesthetics: Desire for beauty and artistic expression. High scorers value creativity and design, while low scorers may be more utilitarian.

10. Science: Desire for knowledge and intellectual growth. High scorers are curious and analytical, while low scorers may focus on practical and immediate concerns.


The MVPI helps organizations understand what drives their employees, fostering a more engaged and motivated workforce.


Applications of Hogan's Personality Testing


Hogan's Personality Testing is used across various industries and applications, including:


1. Recruitment and Selection: By assessing personality traits and potential derailers, organizations can identify candidates who are the best fit for specific roles, increasing the likelihood of job success and reducing turnover.

2. Leadership Development: Hogan's assessments help identify high-potential leaders and provide insights into their strengths and areas for development, facilitating targeted training and coaching.

3. Team Building: Understanding the personalities and motivations of team members can enhance collaboration and communication, leading to more effective and cohesive teams.

4. Succession Planning: Hogan's assessments help organizations identify future leaders and create development plans to ensure a smooth transition and continuity of leadership.

5. Employee Development: By providing insights into individual strengths and development needs, Hogan's assessments support personalized development plans, enhancing employee growth and performance.


Benefits of Hogan's Personality Testing


Hogan's Personality Testing offers several benefits to organizations and individuals:


1. Predictive Validity: Hogan's assessments are backed by extensive research and validation studies, ensuring they accurately predict job performance and potential derailers.

2. Comprehensive Insights: The combination of the HPI, HDS, and MVPI provides a holistic view of an individual's personality, motivations, and potential risks.

3. Enhanced Hiring Decisions: By identifying candidates who are a good fit for specific roles, Hogan's assessments help organizations make more informed hiring decisions, reducing turnover and increasing productivity.

4. Targeted Development: Insights from Hogan's assessments support personalized development plans, helping individuals enhance their strengths and address their weaknesses.

5. Improved Organizational Performance: By aligning individual personalities and motivations with organizational goals, Hogan's assessments contribute to a more engaged, motivated, and high-performing workforce.


Limitations and Criticisms of Hogan's Personality Testing


Despite its many benefits, Hogan's Personality Testing is not without its limitations and criticisms:


1. Cost: Hogan's assessments can be expensive, especially for small organizations with limited budgets.

2. Complexity: Interpreting the results of Hogan's assessments requires training and expertise, which may not be readily available in all organizations.

3. Potential for Misuse: As with any assessment tool, there is a risk of misuse or overreliance on the results, leading to decisions that may not fully consider the broader context.

4. Cultural Bias: Although Hogan's assessments are used globally, there may be cultural differences in how personality traits are perceived and valued, potentially impacting the accuracy and relevance of the results.

5. Static Nature: Personality is dynamic and can change over time. Hogan's assessments provide a snapshot of an individual's personality at a specific point in time, which may not fully capture long-term changes and development.


Personality Testing


Hogan's Personality Testing is a powerful and respected tool in the field of organizational psychology, offering valuable insights into personality traits, potential derailers, and core motivations. By understanding these aspects, organizations can make better hiring decisions, develop effective leaders, and create a more engaged and high-performing workforce. However, it is essential to recognize the limitations and potential pitfalls of these assessments and use them as part of a broader, holistic approach to talent management and organizational development.


In today's competitive business environment, the ability to understand and leverage personality traits is more critical than ever. Hogan's Personality Testing provides a robust framework for achieving this understanding, helping organizations and individuals alike unlock their full potential.

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