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Personal Self-Assessment Tests and Their Features Report


Personal SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is a personality strength that is designed to carry out an initial diagnosis of a person’s strengths and areas of further development. Bedford and Wilson (2013) explain, “SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and threats”. By engaging in an in-depth analysis of an individual’s professional or personal life, his strengths and weaknesses can be identified. Using this test, the person will be able to answer questions such as what opportunities exist to resolve weaknesses and demonstrate strengths. The individual can determine the most appropriate strategic direction for his life based on the SWOT analysis.

An advantage of the personal SWOT analysis is that it assists the person to identify his/her strengths and opportunities thus enabling him/her to make the most of them. Through the analysis, an individual is made aware of his weaknesses and threats allowing him to take steps to reduce their impact. Bedford and Wilson (2013) note that using personal SWOT, a person can discover new opportunities that were unknown before engaging in this analysis. The opportunities can be exploited for positive outcomes. Finally, personal SWOT is a beneficial tool for making personal decisions since it affords a brief overview of essential and relevant information about the individual.

A disadvantage of the personal SWOT analysis is that it might lack objectivity. Since it depends on self-disclosure, the person might be reluctant to focus on his deficiencies (Wilsons 2012). Without acknowledging the weaknesses, it will be hard to reduce them or improve upon them. The efficacy of this personality assessment test depends on a person’s self-knowledge. Due to its open-ended nature, a person who lacks self-awareness will not benefit from the personal SWOT Analysis. Another important demerit of the personal SWOT is that it does not offer any insight into exactly what strategy should be engaged in to take advantage of the opportunities identified.

Rokeach Value System

The Rokeach Value System is a psychometric procedure that is used to make assessments on personal values. In the Rokeach Value Survey, the individual is required to rank two sets of 18 values in order of preference (Norman & Keats 2003). These two value sets include terminal values, which are the goals that a person would like to achieve in his/her life, and instrumental values that are the means of achieving the terminal values. When the individual arranges the terminal values and instrumental values in order of preference, his system of values can be identified.

A major advantage of the Rokeach Value System is that it can quantify the values and preferences of the individual. Researchers can describe quantitatively the values of any group and compare this with the values of any other group (Norman & Keats 2003). This system is objective since it uses the same set of questions leading to additional validity of the survey. The assessment method can be used to find out the values that a person has attached the greatest importance. Tsang (2002) asserts that this knowledge is useful when a person wishes to prioritize his life.

A major demerit of this value system is that it forces the person to rank values in order of relative importance to each other without considering that some of the values might be of equal value to the person. Another disadvantage is that the Rokeach Value System fails to consider the value differences across cultures. Peng and Nisbett (1997) assert that value differences might not reflect differences in behavior or preference but rather the cultural background of an individual. The social comparison processes that people employ when making judgments about values decrease the validity of the Rokeach Value Survey. Peng and Nisbett (1997) explain that most people make judgments about their values by comparing themselves to the people around them.

Johari Window

The Johari Window is a personality assessment model designed to provide people with a greater awareness of their personalities. It fulfills this goal by helping people see themselves the way other people see them (Wright 2012). The Johari Window asks a group (who are familiar with the subject) to rate their perceptions of a subject. It then compares their notes with that of the subject himself/herself. The Information obtained is then mapped onto the “Window” which contains an Open Arena, Hidden Area, Blind Spot, and the Unknown. The individual should aim to expand the Open Arena while reducing the size of the other three sections.

The assessment increases personal awareness as the person is allowed to discover things about himself that are known to others but hidden from him. The Johari Window can be used to help reduce personal blind spots and remove facades, which will lead to an increase in the level of authenticity, openness, and transparency, therefore, making one more trusted by others (Barrett 2011). Another importance of the Johari Window is that it presents an opportunity for a person to receive useful feedback from others. Through this feedback, a person can gain insight into how others see him/her and how his/her behavior may affect the impression made on others (Connor & Pokora 2012).

An individual cannot use the Johari model on his own since it requires the input of people who know about the person. Since the Johari Window depends on a great amount of self-disclosure, its usefulness is reduced since most people fear revealing private or negative things about themselves. Hale (1999) notes that most people are unlikely to engage in self-disclosure especially if it means exposing weaknesses that could be used against the individual in the future.

FIRO-B Instruments

The FIRO-B is a personality instrument that measures how a person behaves with other people and how he/she would prefer them to act towards him/her. Williams (2002) explains that the instrument fulfills this role by measuring an individual’s expressed inclusion, control, and affection and their wanted inclusion, control, and affection. By revealing the expressed and wanted needs, FIRO-B can provide a snapshot of interpersonal needs.

An advantage of the FIRO-B is that through this assessment, a person becomes aware of his/her natural tendencies and he/she can therefore choose more deliberately whether a particular behavior is, or is not, appropriate in a given situation (Shaw 2009). The FIRO-B tool can be used to affirm one’s unique preferences in interpersonal relations since the assessment emphasizes that everyone has a unique combination of strengths and limitations and that there is no right or wrong profile. The individual is allowed to engage in self-growth by reacting to the results of the assessment. By reflecting on the conclusions of this psychometric assessment, people can devise better ways to respond to problems in interpersonal work.

The accuracy of this instrument is not guaranteed since the environment hugely influences the responses given by the individual. Shaw (2009) notes that when FIRO-B is used as part of a team development effort, individuals are inclined to answer in a way that presents them as team players. In addition to this, the FIRO-B is not sensitive to differences in norms and behaviors across cultures. Williams (2002) confirms that the FIRO-B is focused on Western culture, and therefore it may fail to reflect on the cultures and norms of people from other cultural backgrounds. Another disadvantage of the FIRO-B is that it only looks at a limited range of characteristics of the participants (Jones 2010).

Kolb Learning Style

The Kolb Learning Styles Inventory is an assessment method that seeks to identify the preferred learning styles for the individual. The four individual learning styles contained in Kolb’s model are divergers, assimilators, convergers, and accommodators. Kolb’s learning styles inventory considered how people take in information and how people internalize the information. Ogisi (2006) notes that this assessment method makes use of a 12-item inventory to determine which of the individual learning styles available the person being assessed prefers.

Through Kolb’s Learning Styles, an individual can identify his/her optimal learning strategy. With this knowledge, the student will actively engage in the learning style that brings the best results. Another advantage of Kolb’s Learning Style provides educators with the necessary information to improve learning situations and reach more learners (MacKeracher 2004). Through Kolb’s Learning Style, educators will appreciate that no one learning style is superior and therefore make unique modifications that favor all learners. Organizations can use the learning styles assessment to identify the dominant learning styles of a particular kind of workforce (Lloyd, 2007). This will assist them to develop courses that are more aligned with the learning preferences leading to better results.

A major demerit of Kolb’s model is that it fails to consider that at any given time, learners use several learning styles. Focusing on one might therefore be detrimental to the learning outcomes of the student. In addition to this, strong investment in any style can lead to rigid and less flexible approaches to learning (Ogisi 2006). This would disadvantage the student since being able to adapt to various ways of learning is most beneficial.

Margerision & McCann

The Margerison McCann Team Management Profile is a psychometric instrument used to identify the work preferences of an individual. Margerison (2001) explains that this instrument makes use of a 60-item questionnaire to identify the roles that an individual prefers to fill in the work environment. This item list is known as the Team Management Index and it makes use of Jungian theory to identify which type of team role an individual prefers to work in. The team roles are identified as “Reporter Adviser, Creator Innovator, Explorer Promoter, Assessor Developer, Thruster Organizer, Concluder Producer, Controller Inspector, and Upholder Maintainer” (Margerison 2001, p.77).

This model makes it possible for team members to identify how they prefer to work and they can share this information with other team members therefore enhancing the effectiveness of the team. Through this instrument, the team manager can identify each team member’s strengths and capitalize on them to achieve the collective goals of the team. Through this assessment, team members can identify their preferences in relating to each other and their preferred methods of obtaining and using information. Zamora (2008) states that this knowledge plays a role in promoting intergroup relationships thus increasing team efficiency.

An obvious disadvantage of the Team Management Profile is that it relies on self-reports from the individual. A person might be tempted to provide answers that are close to the role he is expected to play in the team instead of offering truthful answers. This tool does not consider the cultural biases that are bound to be experienced when working in a group. Comfort (2010) explains that while personality type is independent of culture, once a person is working in a group, the culture of the organization and the team will have a big influence on individual behavior.

Myers & Briggs Indicators

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is a personality assessment instrument that assigns a personality style based on the answers given by the individual to multiple-choice questions contained in the test. Robbins and Judge (2012) elaborate that MBTI is a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations. Respondents are classified as “extraverted or introverted (E or I), sensing or intuitive (S or I), thinking or feeling (T or F), and judging or perceiving (J or P)” (Robbins & Judge 2012, p.135). These classifications are used to describe 16 personality types that identify a person by one trait from each of the four pairs.

A significant advantage of the MBTI is that the classification types are recognizable as real to the respondent and the typology provides a useful way for a person to describe himself and others. In addition to this, the MBTI leads to greater self-awareness by the individual (Engler 2013). After taking the test, a person has greater insight into his/her personality types and behavior trends. Another advantage is that by evaluating the results, an individual can identify behavior attributed to his personality that has positive or negative outcomes and adjust accordingly. The MBTI promotes tolerance since it highlights that people with different personality types tend to view the world differently. As such, this tool promotes harmonious coexistence among people.

A serious disadvantage of the MBTI is that it is too cumbersome an instrument especially in a research context (Wright 2012). Due to the broad use and widespread availability of the MBTI, it is often misused with people trying to predict the behaviors of others based on their MBTI results. The information about preferences is frequently oversimplified and misapplied to justify behavior. Engler (2013) notes that people often use their MBTI results to justify why they should be treated in a certain manner and this might lead to conflict in a team setting.

BELBIN’S Team Roles

Belbin’s team roles model describes a range of roles that should be filled within any team that hopes to be effective in achieving its objectives. By using Belbin’s Team Role assessment instrument, an individual can identify the role that he/she prefers to fill in a teamwork environment. Roe (2014) identifies the nine-team roles that people prefer to adopt when working in a group as “plant, resource investigator, coordinator, shaper, monitor evaluator, team worker, implementer, completer finisher, and specialist” (p.269). The successful team will have a full complement of these team roles. The model identifies the strengths and contributions made by each team role. It also highlights the negative behaviors that might be a natural consequence of each team role.

An advantage of Belbin’s team role is that it makes it possible for members to be given roles and jobs that fit their abilities and personal characteristics. This good match between attributes and responsibilities increases team efficiency. Another advantage is that Belbin’s team role model leads to new self-knowledge being acquired by the individual. According to Donelan, Kear, and Ramage (2012), this knowledge assists the individual to choose roles for which they are best suited.

A major disadvantage of Belbin’s model is that it results in members being labeled with their results and this might result in more pressure. If every member of the team knows that a person is a strong plant, he/she might end up being relied on to provide all the ideas for the group leading to intense pressure. Problems might occur when the results of the questionnaire are inconsistent with the individual’s perception of himself or with others’ perception of him. Donelan et al. (2012) note that this would lead to confusion as the individual would become unsure of the role that he/she should take on in groups.

Adair Leadership Questionnaire

The Adair Leadership Questionnaire is an instrument used to assess whether an individual possesses the characteristics associated with an effective leader. Adair identified the three primary concerns of the leader, which are the task needs, individual needs, and team needs (Northouse 2011). From these needs, Adair was able to come up with what he referred to as the core functions of the leader. Adair’s Leadership Questionnaire aims to create the leadership profile of an individual in the eleven leadership functional areas identified by Adair.

The functional areas are “defining the task, planning, Briefing, Organizing, Evaluating, Controlling, Supporting, Motivating, Inspiring, Setting an Example, and Reviewing” (Adair 2013, p.8). From the responses offered by the individual, the tool can assess the leadership profile of the person both generally and concerning individual functions.

The tool is a useful guide for assessing the leadership capability of an individual. It enables the person to assess whether he/she has the characteristics that are associated with effective leadership. By reviewing the results of the questionnaire, an individual can identify his/her leadership strengths and weaknesses. This provides an opportunity for the person to engage in actions aimed at a change in the positive direction (Adair 2013). A major advantage of the leadership questionnaire is that it emphasizes leadership as being teachable as opposed to just depending on personal traits.

The model used by the Adair Leadership Questionnaire is regarded as being too simplistic. Many researchers, therefore, express doubt over its ability to deal with the complex leadership issues that leaders face in the real world. The validity of this tool depends on the truthfulness of the respondent in answering the questions posed in the report. The questionnaire encourages leaders to focus on multiple issues, which might be detrimental to effective leadership development. Barrow (2004) asserts that effective leaders focus on a few key issues as opposed to multiple issues.

Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test

The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test is a performance test that seeks to estimate a person’s emotional intelligence by having him solve some problems. Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (2004) note that the problems contained in the MSCEIT require the person being tested to use emotion when working out the solutions. The responses provided in the test represent the actual abilities of the person to use inherent emotional and cognitive attributes in tackling various circumstances. Through the MSCEIT, a person’s aptitude for obtaining information from emotion is quantified (Zerbe 2008).

A major advantage of the MSCEIT is that it is an objective testing tool. Zerbe (2008) confirms that this tool is designed to be an objective test that measures “how well people perform tasks and solve emotional problems” (p.60). Another advantage of this EI test is that it increases a person’s ability to be aware of and understand his/her thoughts and feelings and his/her impact on others. Finally, this personal self-assessment test has high reliability and validity rates since it does not rely on an individual’s self-awareness or other biased attributes to answer the question.

A major disadvantage of the MSCEIT is that it does not consider the cultural variations that exist across the world. The MSCEIT was created from a Western perspective and this might lead to lower scores for non-Western nation participants. Stough (2009) explains that this psychological assessment instrument is biased towards Western norms making it ineffective in countries that have major cultural differences with the West. Another disadvantage of the test is that it cannot capture all the qualities that contribute to an individual’s functioning.


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