David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Business Ethics 12 (2):147 - 156 (1993)
Federal legislation (the Employee Polygraph Protection Act) adopted in 1988 prohibits virtually all private sector employers from requiring or requesting preemployment polygraph examinations for prospective employees. Since then, written integrity testing designed to reliably distinguish those prospective employees who may steal from the company from those who are far less likely to do so has been something of a growth industry. Indeed, the American Psychological Association has recently noted that honesty tests have demonstrated useful levels of validity as an employee selection measure. We provide an alternative perspective. We argue that, even under the most charitable of assumptions, the propensity of integrity tests to generate false positives (i.e., to identify prospective employees as potential thieves when, in fact, they are not) is unsuitably large. Thus, the integrity test as currently configured is largely without merit as a personnel selection device.
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