FAQ Blog Series: The Foundation of Hogan

In this first installment of our FAQ blog series, the Hogan Research Department (HRD) answers common questions related to the foundation of Hogan. If you have others, leave them in the comments and stay tuned for the rest of the series for answers to all of your Hogan inquiries.

Q: What is the theoretical basis for the Hogan tools?
A: Hogan tools are based on Socioanalytic theory, a view of personality that combines Evolutionary theory, Sociology, and classic Psychoanalysis. Socioanalytic theory suggests that humans are social creatures by nature, and driven by needs to: (a) gain acceptance from others, (b) achieve status and power, and (c) make sense out of the environment. As people interact, they create reputations for themselves. Their reputations describe the way they generally interact with others at work and in private. The Hogan tools predict reputation, which reflects the stable patterns of behavior individuals demonstrate while attempting to get along, get ahead, and establish order and predictability in their own environment.

Q: How do the scales relate to/correlate with the Five-Factor Model (FFM) of personality?
A: The Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI) was the first measure of normal personality based on the FFM and designed to predict occupational performance. The structure of the HPI and the FFM differ in two ways. First, the HPI breaks the FFM Extraversion factor into scales measuring Ambition and Sociability. Second, the HPI separates the FFM Openness factor into Inquisitive and Learning Approach. Otherwise, the HPI and the FFM are identical: FFM Neuroticism (Emotional Stability) links to HPI Adjustment, FFM Agreeableness links to HPI Interpersonal Sensitivity, and FFM Conscientiousness links to HPI Prudence.

Q: How do Hogan assessment results relate to 360-degree, full-feedback data? How are they different?
A: 360-degree performance appraisals describe what people do. The Hogan assessments concern why people do what they do. Understanding personal and motivational characteristics is the foundation for understanding performance effectiveness.

Q: Why are the Hogan assessments not considered self-report measures?
A: Our answer to this question differs from all other test providers in three ways. First, when people respond to questions on our assessments, we do not believe they are reporting on their behavior, but rather telling us how to think about them and how they want to be regarded—exactly as they would do in any conversation. Second, we don’t care how people respond to items; we only care about what their responses predict. Consider the item, “I take a different way home from work every night.” People who answer “True” tend to be creative and adventurous, and that is the important point. We don’t care whether they really take a different way home from work each night; we care about what it means to say that they do. Third, we are not trying to measure anything; we are trying to predict performance at work.

Q: How do the Hogan assessments mitigate faking good strategies?
A: The topic of faking is important for those psychologists and business people who argue that personality can’t predict occupational performance. They base their conclusions on inferior research (e.g., small student samples instead of large samples of real job applicants), inconsistent definitions (e.g., faking as socially desirable responding, inflation of scores, responding to match a desired profile), and dubious assumptions (e.g., people intentionally and effectively fake response patterns). Nevertheless, to deal with these critics, Hogan consultants monitor the response patterns of individuals on several subscales of the Hogan Personality Inventory to ensure that they do not match a faking good strategy.