Study of Race Effects in Objective Indices and Subjective Evaluations of Performance. A Meta-Analysis of Performance Criteria


Although the criterion problem has been acknowledged as critical in personnel research, few attempts have been made to systematically examine the nature and covariates of criterion measures of performance. In the present study we used meta-analytic techniques to examine the race effect for objective measures of performance and to compare the relative effect sizes for objective indices and subjective ratings. Fifty-three samples were located that included at least one objective index of actual performance, absenteeism, or cognitive test performance, and one subjective measure of performance for the same group of black and white employees. The corrected average effect sizes across the 53 samples were relatively low but quite similar for the objective and subjective criteria. Moderating effects for the objective criteria were found, as race effects were much higher for cognitive than for performance criteria. Subjective ratings had a lower effect size than objective cognitive test scores but were higher than comparable objective performance indices. The implications of the results for personnel research practices are discussed and the need for a better understanding of the constructs underlying criterion measures is emphasized. © 1986 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychological Bulletin