Race and Cultural Differences in Predictors Commonly Used in Employee Selection and Assessment

Charles A. Scherbaum, Michael M. DeNunzio, Justina Oliveira and Mary Ignagni


The aim of this chapter is to summarize current research on differences between racial or ethnic groups and national cultural groups on predictors that are frequently used in employee selection. The chapter is organized around three questions: 1) What are the observed group mean score differences on commonly used predictors? 2) What are the possible explanations for those differences? 3) Where should future research exploring score differences be directed? Although summarizing differences between racial/ethic groups is well-trodden territory (Bobko & Roth, 2013; Hough, Oswald & Ployhart, 2001; Ployhart & Holtz, 2008; Roth, Bevier, Bobko, Switzer & Tyler, 2001; Schmitt, Clause & Pulakos, 1996), a considerable body of recent research has proposed further possible explanations for score differences that merit consideration alongside the explanations that have traditionally been offered (Scherbaum, Goldstein, Ryan, Agnello, Yusko & Hanges, 2015). These more recent explanations challenge the long-standing positions advocated by some researchers that the differences between group are inevitable and intractable. Additionally, little work has been devoted to systematically summarizing the emerging literature on score differences between different cultural groups (e.g., immigrants and non-immigrants; Scherbaum et al., 2015). Current research finds that mean score differences for immigrant and non-immigrant groups within a given country can, for example, be as large as those typically observed between White and African-Americans in the United States (te Nijenhuis & van der Flier, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005). Given the increasing trends in globalization and immigration, exploring these differences is important for both science and practice (Ryan & Tippins, 2009). In this chapter we review the research on score differences for African-American, US Hispanic/Latinos and Whites, as well as national culture groups, examine the various explanations for those differences and propose directions for future research aimed at further understanding score differences between groups.

The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of the Psychology of Recruitment, Selection and Employee Retention,

First Edition. Edited by Harold W. Goldstein, Elaine D. Pulakos, Jonathan Passmore and Carla Semedo. © 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Published 2017 by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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