Date of Award

Fall 11-17-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Industrial/Organizational Psychology (PhD)


Industrial/Organizational Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Helen Chung

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Jorge Lumbreras

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Annie Kato


situational judgment test, general domain knowledge, personality, implicit trait policies, specific job knowledge


The Situational Judgment Test (SJT) is a popular selection tool used by employers to

make hiring decisions due to their strong predictive validity. SJTs present job candidates with

hypothetical scenarios, asking them to choose the responses that best fit those situations. SJTs

have been used to measure a range of knowledge, skills, and abilities, but what they measure and

why they predict performance remains unclear. Lievens and Motowidlo (2016) called for a

reframing of the SJT as a measure of general domain knowledge. According to their theory, SJTs

measure procedural knowledge, which is composed of general domain knowledge—

operationalized as implicit trait policies (ITPs)—and specific job knowledge. ITPs are beliefs

about the effectiveness of expressing trait-related behaviors in various situations that

theoretically mediate the relationship between personality and SJT performance.

This study utilized archival data from two samples of firefighters (novice and incumbent)

to test the hypothesized relationships within Lievens and Motowidlo’s (2016) model, which

included personality, implicit trait policies, tenure, and situational judgment test (SJT)

performance. The results supported several hypothesized relationships within the model, where

ITPs were found to partially mediate the relationship between International Personality Item Pool

(IPIP) traits and SJT performance, and ITPs were found to significantly predict SJT performance.

Results failed to support the hypothesis that tenure, a proxy for specific job knowledge,

moderated the relationship between ITPs and SJT performance. Overall, these findings support

the call to reframe SJTs as measures of general domain knowledge, which has implications for

both theory and practice. These implications are discussed along with proposed directions for

future research.