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    SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

    Print version ISSN 2071-0763

    SA j. ind. Psychol. vol.35 no.1 Cape Town  2009

     

    BOOK REVIEW

     

    Assessment centres: unlocking potential for growth

     

     

    Sane Ngidi

    HR Consultant: Talent Management, Multichoice, South Africa

    Correspondence to

     

     


    Keywords: assessment centres; unlocking potential; recruitment; assessment centre practices; employee selection


     

     

     

    ISBN: 978-1-8622-113-3
    Edited by: Sandra Schlebusch and Gert Roodt
    Published by: Knowres Publishing (Pty) Ltd
    Postal Address:
    PO Box 3954
    Randburg 2125
    South Africa
    Tel: +27 (0) 11 880 8540
    Fax: +27 (0) 11 880 8700
    e-mail: mail@knowres.co.za

    Written with the South African context in mind, Assessment centres: Unlocking potential for growth provides a clear and detailed account of assessment centres (ACs). This text is ideal for those with a limited knowledge of ACs or those with a desire to learn more about them. The author targets scholars, practitioners and service providers.

    The text focuses on the four-stage design model of ACs, namely analysis, design, implementation and evaluation. This model is used as the overarching principle guiding both ACs and the structure of the book. It gives an overview of the following regarding ACs:

    • The history of ACs

    • What ACs are

    • The different types of ACs

    • What goes into or is involved in ACs

    • Where ACs can be used

    • How ACs work

    • How ACs are conducted

    • The feedback process

    The text focuses on the South African context, and touches on international perspectives.

    The text is written in an easy-to-read manner, with each chapter clearly outlining what will be covered and providing a recap at the end. Overall, the text is very detailed, providing background to ACs as well as considerations for practical application. It serves as a step-by-step guide that is grounded in theory, but is also practical in terms of providing guidance and details for application. For those with an understanding of and familiarity with ACs, this text may be too detailed.

    A chapter by chapter overview of the book's contents is presented below:

     

    CONTENTS

    Chapter 1: Introduction to Assessment Centres (Sandra Schlebusch and Gert Roodt)

    Provides a general overview of what ACs are, their role and what they produce, and sets the scene for the model to be used in the book. It is succinct and sets a good foundation, clarifying expectations and setting a basis for understanding.

    Chapter 2: Assessment Centres In South Africa (Deon Meiring)

    For those interested in ACs in the South African context, Chapter 2 looks at publications and organisations that have used them. This chapter provides a crash course in understanding ACs in context, from the past to the present.

    Chapter 3: Needs Analysis (Gert Roodt)

    Interrogates the larger context into which ACs fit, e.g. South African legal considerations and ethics. It further drills down to the specific needs of companies. This chapter helps to contextualise the practical implementation of and clarifies the strategic alignment of and need for ACs.

    Chapter 4: Organisational Effectiveness Analysis (Gert Roodt)

    Focuses on organisational effectiveness in terms of how it is viewed and defined theoretically. Then moves to management and competencies linked to management, concluding by looking at valid effectiveness criteria.

    Chapter 5: Job Analysis (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Looks at the role of job analysis and how it impacts on competencies, as well as the overall relevance of job analysis to the effectiveness and relevance of the AC.

    Chapter 6: Design Simulations (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Interrogates various types of simulations and offers guidance on how to design simulations, including the necessary documentation and what to do after the simulation, i.e. critical decisions to be made.

    Chapter 7: Design Centre (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Practical steps on designing the AC, focusing on formulating the schedule and on the documentation and manual to be used.

    Chapter 8: Pilot Centre (Sandra Schlebusch)

    The final opportunity to fine tune the AC. This chapter looks at piloting the AC, the necessary preparation that has to be done, and how to use this as an opportunity to ensure that the AC achieves the desired effectiveness.

    Chapter 9: Before the Centre (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Identifies the basics and the necessary steps in preparation for the AC. A clear breakdown of the observers' training requirements is provided.

    Chapter 10: During the Centre (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Looks at the implementation of the AC. This chapter identifies the points to be monitored and focused on to ensure the AC is effective.

    Chapter 11: After the Centre (Sandra Schlebusch)

    Covers what occurs after the AC, namely what is necessary to achieve closure in the process. It focuses on everything from the feedback process, the different options and points of consideration, through to ensuring that development plans and plans for the maintenance of ACs are in place.

    Chapter 12: Descriptive (Content) Analysis (Gert Roodt)

    Evaluates the perceptions of the different role players and stakeholders, particularly of their input and the content relevance of the ACs for their specific needs.

    Chapter 13: Reliability and Validity Analyses (Gert Roodt)

    Looks at the various possibilities in terms of reliability and validity, from what they are to how the constructs are measured, with a focus on ratings and special considerations.

    Chapter 14: Trends in Assessment Centres in North America (Diana E. Krause & George C. Thornton III)

    The focus here is solely on North America, where ACs have been in use for over 50 years. It looks at current practice and future challenges.

    Chapter 15: International Perspectives on Current Assessment Centre Practices and Future Challenges (Diana E. Krause & George C. Thornton III)

    A study on AC practices internationally. Presented in the format of a research study, this chapter gives an overview of positive and negative trends.

    Chapter 16: What the Future Holds for Assessment Centres in South Africa (Gert Roodt & Sandra Schlebusch)

    A critical evaluation of potential areas for the future of ACs. In summary, I recommend this book to anyone who has a limited knowledge of ACs but would like to understand them and obtain logical, practical guidance on their implementation.

     

     

    Correspondence to:
    Sane Ngidi
    Postal address: University of Johannesburg
    PO Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006
    South Africa
    e-mail: sngidi@multichoice.co.za

    Received: 22 Sep. 2008
    Accepted: 22 Sep. 2008
    Published: 23 Apr. 2009

     

     

    This article is available at: http://www.sajip.co.za
    © 2009. The Authors. Licensee: OpenJournals Publishing. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License.