What are ‘norms’ and why are they relevant?

3 minute read

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Psychometric assessment tools offer insights about how people will perform at work, behave in relationships and lead teams and groups. Well-constructed instruments, like the Hogan Assessment Systems, are designed to be free from bias, unlike human interviewers, and a great deal of effort and research occurs to ensure they remain that way.

A raw score by itself is essentially meaningless as there is no way of knowing whether the result is a good or poor one. For example, it is like hearing that the All Blacks scored 16, but not knowing what their opposition scored. Normative scores (norms) provide a basis for the interpretation and comparison of an individual’s score to a relevant comparison group.

Both organisations doing business solely in New Zealand, and those operating around the world, need a relevant metric for comparing scores of participants across languages, countries, and cultural regions. This is where norm groups become important as they help us put the score in context. Winsborough works alongside Hogan Assessment Systems to produce both local (NZ) and Global norm groups. Further information is provided on each norm group to help you decide which is most relevant for your project or organisation.


New Zealand Norms

Winsborough regularly undertake normative comparison research on our population groups to ensure no group is unfairly treated by psychological testing. A Hogan Assessment norm update was undertaken in 2019 from the results of thousands of people assessed as part of hiring or development activities in a wide range of Aotearoa New Zealand companies. The results were taken from people who had completed three measures of personality:

  • the Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI),
  • the Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and
  • the Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI).

The sample for our 2019 update to the NZ database comprised European (n=8,727), Maori (n=1009), Pasifika (n=497) and Asian (n=671).

This research revealed that ethnic groups all have practically identical profiles on the major assessment tools we use. This means we can be extremely confident that no group is treated differently from another. While we expect small variations, they are of no practical implication for use of the tools. It is important to note that the ethnic group sample sizes did differ significantly, and smaller samples will exhibit greater variation. As our numbers in each ethnic group increase through time, any differences noted will become less marked.


Global Norms

Hogan Assessment Systems designed the Global Norm for projects including participants across languages, countries, cultural groups, or within countries where a local single-language norm is not yet available.

The Global Norm represents data from 41 languages across geographic areas using results from the HPI, HDS and MVPI. It includes more than 145,000 cases of HPI data collected from working adults. A cap of 10,000 cases per language was set to prevent bias toward frequently used languages. When more than 10,000 cases were available, we selected cases based on availability of HDS/ MVPI data, occupational category, assessment purpose, age, and gender. We included all data for languages with less than 10,0.00 cases. No language represents more than 7% of the total sample in the Global Norm. It includes variables to identify cases based on all major ISCO-88 job codes, assessment purpose, age, and gender.

The Hogan Global Norm is not designed or appropriate for use as a substitute for local norms, when available, for projects including participants from within one country, language, or cultural region.


Need Help?

We’re very happy to discuss which norm would be most appropriate for your context with you directly. Contact us via 0800 222 061 or email support@winsborough.co.nz

Reference Documents:

Hogan Research Division: The Development and Technical Review of Norms for the New Zealand HPI, HDS, and MVPI. July 2017

Hogan Research Division: Group Differences for the New Zealand Sample on the Hogan Personality Inventory,

Hogan Developmental Survey, and the Motives, Values, and Preferences Inventory. June 2019.

Hogan Research Division: The Development of the Global Hogan Personality Inventory (HPI), Hogan Development Survey (HDS), and Motives, Values, Preferences Inventory (MVPI) Norms: Off-the-Shelf Selection Impact Analyses. January 2019

Hogan Research Division: Global Norm Update 2019

Photo credit: Unsplash @yasinyusuf