Preemployment honesty testing: Construct validity issues and a test of the Person-Situation Question
Two separate studies were conducted in an attempt to gain a better understanding of preemployment integrity measures and workplace deviance. In Study 1, subjects were told to imagine themselves applying for a job to either a small, large, or no-information (control) organization. Subjects then completed two commercial honesty tests and one other measure of theft admissions. A measure of moral development, a scale of social desirability, and a biographical scale were also administered. It was predicted that one's attitudes toward honesty would be more tolerant when applying to large organizations as compared to small organizations. In addition, analyses were conducted on the construct validity of these instruments. While no group differences were found on the measures, there was evidence for construct validity.
In Study 2, subjects were asked to imagine themselves in an existing organizational situation via a scenario design. The depicted organizations varied in both size and the fairness with which employees were treated. The dependent measure was a self rating of the likelihood that one would engage in behaviors that were violations of personnel policies. Main effects were predicted for organizational size and equity as well as an interaction between them. While there was evidence for an equity effect, there was no size effect. Subjects who were placed in unfair situations rated themselves as more likely to engage in unsanctioned organizational behaviors than those in equitable situations. The implications for honesty testing based on the findings of both studies are discussed.