ORIENTATION : The assessment centre (AC) is a prominent measurement tool for selection and
RESEARCH PURPOSE : The aim of this study was to determine the construct validity of a one-day
development assessment centre (DAC) using a convenience sample of 202 managers in a large
South African banking institution.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY : Although the AC method is popular, it has been widely criticised as
to whether it predominantly measures the dimensions it is designed to measure.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD : The fit of the measurement models implied by the
dimensions measured was analysed in a quantitative study using an ex post facto correlation
design and structural equation modelling.
MAIN FINDINGS: Bi-factor confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess the relative contribution
of higher-order exercise and dimension effects. Empirical under-identification stemming from
the small number of exercises designed to reflect designated latent dimensions restricted the
number of DAC dimensions that could be evaluated. Ultimately, only one global dimension
had enough measurement points and was analysed. The results suggested that dimension
effects explained the majority of variance in the post-exercise dimension ratings.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS : Candidates’ proficiency on each dimension was used as
the basis for development reports. The validity of inferences holds important implications for
candidates’ career development and growth.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE ADD : The authors found only one study on construct validity of AC
dimensions in the South African context. The present study is the first use the bi-factor
approach. This study will consequently contribute to the scarce AC literature in South Africa.