Faking on self-report personality tests is a widespread practice which degrades the construct validity of personality tests when they are used in personnel selection contexts and may lead to suboptimal hiring decisions (Donovan, Dwight, & Hurtz, 2003; Schmit & Ryan, 1993). While much is known about the factors which enable job applicants to successfully engage in faking (Tett, Freund, Christiansen, Fox, & Coaster, 2012), far less is known about how specific applicant perceptions throughout the hiring process influence their decision to engage in this practice. To this end, this study applied Vroom's (1964) expectancy theory to the study of applicant faking. Following the work of prior researchers (Peterson, Griffith, & Converse, 2009), this study incorporated an experimental paradigm in which participants were led to believe that they were completing a personality test as part of the hiring process. Results of the study suggested that applicant faking on personality tests within personnel selection contexts is largely driven by valence (the extent to which applicants perceive the job to which they are applying as desirable) and expectancy judgments (an applicant's self-efficacy regarding their ability to successfully engage in faking). However, the three-way interaction between valence, instrumentality, and expectancy judgments which forms the crux of Vroom's (1964) theory did not demonstrate a significant impact on subsequent faking. A positive relationship between cognitive ability and faking was also found, suggesting that highly intelligent job applicants are more prone to engage in this behavior. In addition, applicant integrity demonstrated no relationship to faking behavior, suggesting that job applicants may not view the practice as being unethical. The potential implications of these findings in real-world selection contexts was discussed.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Psychology; Industrial and Organizational Psychology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Mihm, David, "VIE-ing for the Position: An Examination of the Motivational Antecedents of Response Distortion" (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5415.