Rational or symbolic? A field study of the impact of group discussion on job evaluation ratings

Edilberto F. Montemayor, John A. Fossum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many organizations use job evaluation committees, but most published research has been based on ratings from individual evaluators. In this study, the effect of group discussion on job evaluation scores was examined. A comparison was made between job evaluation scores based on group discussion and scores from individual evaluators; field data involving a diverse sample of 344 jobs were used. Group discussion had a minimal, highly predictable, and mostly symbolic effect on scores. This finding validates prior experimental studies and points to the opportunity for expediting decision making in job evaluation committees.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-425
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 1997

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research derived from a project sponsored by a midwestern communications company and the union representing its nonexempt employees. A joint union-management committee produced job evaluation ratings for a set of 344 nonexempt jobs among medium-and large-sized employers. Given this job and firm diversity, evaluations were based exclusively on very detailed, standardized job descriptions. These job descriptions were developed by trained graduate students on the basis of observations, interviews, and revisions with supervisors and with groups of incumbents. In a follow-up survey, more than 95% of responding supervisors were very satisfied with the job descriptions’ quality. Table 1 contains a description of the job sample, which was considerably more diverse (with respect to industries, firm size, and types of jobs) than typical job evaluation research published to date.

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