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The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance
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The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance

Author: Ernest Jr O'Boyle; Herman Aguinis
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Personnel Psychology, v65 n1 p79-119 Spr 2012
  Peer-reviewed
Database: ERIC
Other Databases: Business Source CompleteWorldCatWorldCat
Summary:
We revisit a long-held assumption in human resource management, organizational behavior, and industrial and organizational psychology that individual performance follows a Gaussian (normal) distribution. We conducted 5 studies involving 198 samples including 633,263 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and amateur and professional athletes. Results are remarkably consistent across industries, types of jobs, types  Read more...
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Details

Title: The Best and the Rest: Revisiting the Norm of Normality of Individual Performance
Database Name: ERIC
Document Type: Article (EJ)
All Authors / Contributors: Ernest Jr O'Boyle; Herman Aguinis
ISSN: 0031-5826
Description: 41
Language Note: English
Year: 2012
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8598; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail: cs-journals@wiley.com; Web site: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/
Unique Identifier: 809100289
Article Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Source: Personnel Psychology v65 n1 p79-119 Spr 2012
OCLC No.: 809100289

Abstract:

We revisit a long-held assumption in human resource management, organizational behavior, and industrial and organizational psychology that individual performance follows a Gaussian (normal) distribution. We conducted 5 studies involving 198 samples including 633,263 researchers, entertainers, politicians, and amateur and professional athletes. Results are remarkably consistent across industries, types of jobs, types of performance measures, and time frames and indicate that individual performance is not normally distributed--instead, it follows a Paretian (power law) distribution. Assuming normality of individual performance can lead to misspecified theories and misleading practices. Thus, our results have implications for all theories and applications that directly or indirectly address the performance of individual workers including performance measurement and management, utility analysis in preemployment testing and training and development, personnel selection, leadership, and the prediction of performance, among others. (Contains 2 figures and 5 tables.)
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