[IPAC-List] In-Baskets

Richard Joines mpscorp at value.net
Wed Dec 14 14:05:59 EST 2011

Dear Patrick:

There is an abbreviated form of the General Management In-Basket (GMIB)(Conoley & Impara, 1995, The Twelfth Mental Measurements Yearbook) known as the Managerial Skills Assessment Test (MSAT). Both the GMIB and MSAT are narrative response format simulation tests that are typically taken online (including writing memos, letters, email). The MSAT consists of eight management situations that are designed to evaluate fundamental competency as a manager. The MSAT has been completed by over 5000 University business school students. An article about the MSAT is in press (The Elusiveness of Applied Management Knowledge: A Critical Challenge for Educators), scheduled I believe for publication this month in the Academy of Management Learning & Education Journal (Baldwin, Pierce, Joines & Farouk).

The approach taken is to sample the kinds of commonly-occurring management situations that all managers, at all levels, encounter. These areas include, for example, knowing when to involve others vs. making a unilateral decision, knowing how to evaluate and manage new ideas, dealing with performance problems, understanding and effectively dealing with common teamwork problems, etc. The eight items in the MSAT are a subset of the 15 GMIB items. Just as for the GMIB, each item in the MSAT is separately scored and dimension (factor) scores are generated using a weighting formula derived from a principal components factor analysis study. Each item is scored using a detailed scoring key. For the full GMIB, the mean inter-rater reliability coefficient across 42 studies was about .92 as I recall. Scoring time is greatly minimized using the item-by-item scoring system, and reliability is far higher than anything that can be obtained using the traditional dimension scoring model.

There is a paper at my website about the GMIB that may help you (http://www.mps-corp.com/MPSreports/gmib.pdf). Over 28,000 management candidates across the United States, Canada, and Europe have taken the GMIB or MSAT. No candidate has ever claimed that any of the GMIB or MSAT items are not job-related. So, candidate acceptance for the GMIB and MSAT are very high. I believe this is the case because the GMIB and MSAT are comprised of relatively simple, commonly-occurring management situations. There are no surprises or tricks. Incredibly, scores on these tests indicate that the majority of managers (and students) have great difficulty in identifying the management principles and concepts that are embedded in these situations, and consequently, usually fail to devise appropriate action plans. I believe that our educational system needs to be changed to teach business school students and managers how the theories and principles and concepts that they are taught actually manifest themselves in real-world situations.

I guess I should mention that I have a book that I only make available to university students who take the MSAT as part of their curriculum (Applied Management Knowledge: The Abyss Between Theory and Practice). The book addresses six key areas that are considered critical to fundamental competency as a manager. This belief is backed up by a number of validation studies that are addressed in the GMIB Technical Report.

By the way, the GMIB has been used by the RCMP and some other Canadian police organizations for promotion exams.

Richard Joines
Management & Personnel Systems, Inc.

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