The  purpose of this blog is to facilitate discussion, active participation, dialogue and awareness in areas of relevance to organisations and IO Psychology.  There is a vast range of topics that we wish to contribute to this site including discussions around:

  • change management;
  • psychometric testing;
  • emotional intelligence;
  • workplace engagement;
  • surveying (360’s, exits, post appointment)
  • leadership;
  • workplace diversity; and
  • many more general IO topics.

We have a range of authors and experts from both within and outside the OPRA team who will contribute to this blog over the next 12 months.  If you have any specific topics that you would like covered, please place some comments below and we will endeavour to discuss / present some opinions on the topic of interest.

OPRA is an acronym for Occupational Psychology & Research Associates.  We are a team of organisational psychologists who are committed to working with businesses to help recruit, develop, and retain high performing staff.


6 thoughts on “About

  1. Dan H

    I am working on a project that will be utilizing ipsative’s to provide a user with recommendations of options, but am having trouble finding any information on how calculation of ipsative questions are completed.

    For example:
    “I enjoy parties” gets 40% from respondent
    “I keep my work space neat and tidy” gets 60% from respondent

    The first statement will be linked to a person’s social activities and the latter statement to personal living space (for example).

    Now if another set of statements results in 30% for social activities and 70% for personal living space, we need to figure out how to calculate the final effect on these two area when the two questions are combined (40% & 30% for person’s surroundings and 60% & 70% for personal living space).

    Would love clarification on the calculation of the responses from ipsatives.


    1. Dr Paul Englert

      Hi Dan

      Thanks for the post. Interestingly I have never found a definitive text for the scoring of ipsative tests. It is discussed in the ‘Handbook of Psychological Tests’ (Kline) but given Paul Kline was not a fan the discussion is brief.

      There are two places I can however direct you. The first is http://www.pbarrett.net/ Paul is one of the heavy hitters in the industry and I think will be a good source of information. Firstly some of his original critiques (such as the work completed with Hammond) are covered in this series of articles and he is well versed on the simple ipsative methodologies used by many common 4 factor tools. He is also aware of more comprehensive critiques such as the work of Meade and the scoring methodologies used.

      Another person to contact is Anna Brown who is doing some innovative and cutting work in the area: https://www.kent.ac.uk/psychology/people/browna/?tab=selected-publications

      The following is the abstract of her recent paper:
      Brown, Anna and Maydeu-Olivares, Alberto (2013) How IRT can solve problems of ipsative data in forced-choice questionnaires. Psychological Methods, 18 (1). pp. 36-52. ISSN 1082-989X.
      In multidimensional forced-choice (MFC) questionnaires, items measuring different attributes are presented in blocks, and participants have to rank-order the items within each block (fully or partially). Such comparative formats can reduce the impact of numerous response biases often affecting single-stimulus items (aka, rating or Likert scales). However, if scored with traditional methodology, MFC instruments produce ipsative data, whereby all individuals have a common total test score. Ipsative scoring distorts individual profiles (it is impossible to achieve all high or all low scale scores), construct validity (covariances between scales must sum to zero), criterion related validity (validity coefficients must sum to zero), and reliability estimates. We argue that these problems are caused by inadequate scoring of forced-choice items, and advocate the use of item response theory (IRT) models based on an appropriate response process for comparative data, such as Thurstone’s Law of Comparative Judgment. We show that by applying Thurstonian IRT modeling (Brown & Maydeu-Olivares, 2011), even existing forced-choice questionnaires with challenging features can be scored adequately and that the IRT-estimated scores are free from the problems of ipsative data.

      This is the type of innovative work the industry requires but is obviously going well beyond the standard ipsative tool that is currently used in the marketplace.

      I like the question as it gives an opportunity to add balance to the discussion. Innovation is vital to the industry. However it can not come at the expense of science and the problem with much of the ipsative work and application of ipsative tool s is that it is simply poor and the measurement model unfounded.

  2. Ryan

    I’m so pleased to have found this blog! I have been working in administration at an international school for the last 4 years, but am looking to continue my education in psychology rather than..well, education haha. I’m wondering if you can explain the difference between a degree in organizational development and i/o psychology (and the newest one I am seeing is ‘social-organizational’ or social i/o psychology)?

    Thank you!

    1. Bex Broadbent Post author

      Hi Ryan

      Thanks for your interest in our blog. Industrial and Organisational Psychology is characterised by the scientific study of human behaviour in organisations and the workplace. The specialty focuses on principles of individual, group and organizational behaviour and applying this knowledge to the solution of problems at work (see http://www.APA.org). I/O psychology degrees will include papers on statistical methods for answering research questions as well as covering the basic principles of human behaviour, attitudes, and decision making. Typical papers included in an I/O psychology programme will include employee selection, training and development, psychometric assessment, career development, organisational change, quality of work life, and other topics such as performance management may also be included.

      In contrast, organisational development tends to focus more specifically on organisational change and strategies for enhancing organisational effectiveness and performance – which tends to form part of management or HR qualifications and may have less of a focus on the human behaviour/psychology angle. The differences between degree programmes will of course differ on the university you are looking at and their specific programmes.

  3. Ryan

    Hi Bex,

    Thank you for your reply and sorry for the late response! I am in Bangkok right now and the government could sure use some I/O help haha.

    Your description is helpful! I think I just keep getting caught up because it seems to me like organizational effectiveness and performance is rooted in employee selection, training, etc. I’m not sure how a business can strategize without focusing on the people who will be implementing their initiatives.

    I would love to ask so many more questions, but in case this is not the right venue for that, do you know of any forums where it may be more appropriate?

    Thanks again,

    1. Bex Broadbent Post author

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your response. A really great forum for these questions would be in some of the I/O Psychology groups on LinkedIn – There are so many knowledgeable people in these groups, I think they could really help out with your questions! As topics come up here, feel free to post questions and we’ll be able to offer some more information.

      Best of luck with your studies – it’s always nice to have people passionate about what we do.

      Kind regards,



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