Pathfinder’s Validity

As with all diagnostic tools, the results are meant to be seen as a starting point for an educated and constructed discussion.

1 Research & Development Objective

To establish this diagnostic and development method as a sound, useful, reliable and valid instrument for a variety of applications in personal, team/group and organisational development.

2 General

The Pathfinder diagnostic and reports are of the self-report type.

The issue of diagnostic reliability is the first question asked when exploring how accurate an assessment is. The word ‘reliability’ usually refers to ‘consistency’ when seen in the context of assessments and tests.

The Systemic Business Pathfinder is based on 2 well-established theories.

The first model is the Graves Value System developed by Prof. Clare W. Graves (1914 –1986). Graves created a theory that he hoped would bring together the various approaches to human nature and questions about psychological maturity. He collected pertinent data from his psychology students and others (in total a diverse group of around 1,065 men and women aged 18 to 61) in the seven years from 1952 to 1959.He built up an understanding of the mature personality and performed numerous psychological tests with recognized instruments. His analysis of this data became the basis for a theory that he called, among other titles, “The Emergent Cyclical Levels of Existence Theory” (ECLET).

The management consultants Don Edward Beck and Christopher C. Cowan based their study (1996) on the potentially game-changing work that professor Clare Graves completed 30 years earlier. They made it more applicable, provided today’s colour coding and tested the model.

The main sources of academic work on the 7S model (Pascale & Athos, 1981; Peters & Waterman, 1982; Waterman, Peters, & Phillips, 1980) can be used with regard to the validity of the second model. The 7S model can provide a comprehensive view of every organisation. This helped them give proper and thorough consideration to the many dimensions and associated factors of an organisation. We could have used any kind of model to capture and structure the main parts of a company. However, over the decades, authors, consultants and organisations have exploited this model and developed its conceptual framework. To us, this is validity in its own right.

We have ourselves tested both original models, over and over again. They have withstood the test of time and are of great assistance. However, like every tool, they are to be used for a particular purpose, and therefore they need to be seen in context and should be considered a starting point for discussion and clarification.

3 Validity Based on Context & Interdependencies

In statistics, inter-rater reliability, inter-rater agreement or concordance is the degree of agreement among raters. It gives a score of how much homogeneity, or consensus, there is in the ratings given by judges. It is useful in refining the tools given to human judges, for example by determining if a particular scale is appropriate for measuring a particular variable. If various raters do not agree, either the scale is defective or the raters need to be re-trained.

The Pathfinder uses the self-report methodology,which eliminates inter-rater reliability issues because of the forced scoring method of the instrument. Using the self-report method, the instrument captures one’s own self-perception and records responses. While inter-rater reliability is eliminated, an inherent issue with all self-reported instruments is the accuracy of one’s responses and the focus of self-perception. Therefore, the person is always encouraged to be frank in their response and clear in their situational focus when they choose an order (of answers).

This methodology has been widely used and adopted in academic and commercial contexts.

4 Content Validity

The Pathfinder considers all 7S aspects equally for the description of its results.
Additionally, it is important to explore social desirability, i.e. the need to be viewed favourably by others, as an element of content validity. If there is an imbalance between words that are socially desirable versus descriptors that are less desirable, then content validity is affected. This can also be down to working in a different language.
The Pathfinder instrument is regularly screened for content validity and, since its initial development, some descriptors have been replaced to boost both content validity and reliability of the instrument.

5 Criterion-related Validity

This refers to the ability of an instrument to predict a person’s behaviour in certain future situations.
One’s scores are compared with any variety of external “criteria.” In the use of the Pathfinder, there are a variety of studies available from OnO-Line LTD and Values 4 Change that have clearly linked given scores and patterns of scores to job performance in specific, well-defined areas. Criterion-related validity takes two forms: concurrent validity and predictive validity.
Concurrent validity examines one’s scores and compares them to external criteria at the time of using the instrument.
Predictive validity explores one’sinstrument scores against criteria after a specified time interval.Both methods provide robust support for the Pathfinder.

6 Construct Validity

This considers the ability of an instrument to measure a theoretical construct (concept) or characteristic. Construct validity is built from a pattern of evidence and multiple measures across a variety of sources. Some constructs explored in behavioural trait analysis include: developmental changes of participants responding to the instrument at different ages and stages of their lives or under different response focus points. Correlation with other tests is a form of construct validation.

7 Factor Analysis

One very important technique within construct validity activity is a factor analysis. This is a technique that “refines” an instrument by comparing and analysing the inter-dependencies of data. In this process the interrelationships are examined and “distilled” from all initial combinations to a smaller number of factors or common traits.

8 Measurement for Explanatory Theory Building

The Pathfinder instrument has been refined through the factor analysis process and subtle scoring changes have been made to increase both the overall validity and reliability of the instrument and reports.