Evaluating Job Analysis Approaches

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Ask a probing question.
  • Share an insight from having read your colleague’s posting.
  • Offer and support an opinion.
  • Validate an idea with your own experience.
  • Make a suggestion.
  • Expand on your colleague’s postings

Classmates Post:

Kari B.

Position Analysis Questionnaire versus Job Task Analysis

Two approaches to job analysis include the Position Analysis Questionnaire (PAQ), a deductive approach (Peterson & Jeanneret, 2012), or a job task analysis, an inductive approach (Harvey, Anderson, Baranowski, & Morath, 2012). The PAQ is a broadly applicable job survey composed of 187 behavior-related questions, compiled based on information gathered during analysis of 2200 US jobs (Carter & Biersner, 1987). The PAQ breaks the US workforce down into 45 job dimensions, 49 human aptitudes, and 22 auxiliary personal attributes important for particular jobs (Carter & Biersner, 1987). Using the PAQ, an organization can derive human behaviors that are most important for certain job positions (Peterson & Jeanneret, 2012). On the other hand, a job task analysis is a highly specific evaluation of tasks that make up a particular job or job family (Harvey, Anderson, Baranowski, & Morath, 2012). Whereas the PAQ is focused on worker behaviors, the job task analysis focuses on an inventory of what workers do when performing their job. As such, a job task analysis illustrates for an organization how workers should be prepared to accomplish the most frequently performed and the most important tasks within a job category.

Determining Which Job Analysis to Use

Choosing which job analysis to utilize depends on what analysis results will be used for. For example, either analysis could be utilized in the selection process, but the job task analysis is more helpful if a human resource department is creating training programs for particular jobs or job families (Harvey, Anderson, Baranowski, & Morath, 2012). When considering compensation, however, the PAQ is more appropriate. The PAQ master database contains information generated by a large number of job analyses, making it useful in developing a fair and accurate compensation plan (Peterson & Jeanneret, 2012). The PAQ is also better at predicting aptitude, which is helpful to determine what types of employees may be successful in certain job positions (Carter & Biersner, 1987). Regardless, both the PAQ and the job task analysis have their role within a human resource department.

Most Legally Defensible Job Analysis

The PAQ is likely more defensible in court. It has been used to analysis hundreds of thousands of jobs, and the results of each of these analyses have been retained in the master database (Peterson & Jeanneret, 2012). This means that conclusions gleaned from each new PAQ are compared against an extensive database, producing highly valid and reliable information. In fact, interrater reliabilities for the PAQ are usually around 0.80, and are consistent even when raters are from different positions, such as supervisor, incumbent, or external analyst (Peterson & Jeanneret, 2012). Defensibility of a job task analysis weighs heavily on how structured was its creation (Harvey, Anderson, Baranowski, & Morath, 2012). For example, court proceedings would likely call into question the appropriateness of the subject matter experts who contributed to creation of the task survey, especially if only a small number were consulted. This and other reasons make the PAQ more useful in court proceedings.


Carter, R. C., & Biersner, R. J. (1987). Job requirements derived from the Position Analysis Questionnaire and validated using military aptitude test scores. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 60(4), 311-321. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.2044-8325.1987.tb00263…

Harvey, J. L., Anderson, L. E., Baranowski, L. E., & Morath, R. A. (2012). Job analysis: Job-specific information. In D. L. Whetzel & G. R. Wheaton (Eds.), Applied measurement: Industrial psychology in human resources management (pp. 57-95). New York, NY: Psychology Press.

Peterson, N. G., & Jeanneret, P. R. (2012). Job analysis: Overview and description of deductive methods. In D. L. Whetzel & G. R. Wheaton (Eds.), Applied measurement: Industrial psychology in human resources management, pp. 13-55). New York, NY: Psychology Press.”

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