Frank L. Schmidt
University of Iowa
One of the most widely cited researchers in industrial-organizational psychology, if not the entire field of psychological science, Frank L. Schmidt may be best known for developing and applying psychometric meta-analysis methods for estimating the predictive validity of employment tests and other personnel selection procedures. His work has demonstrated that conflicting research findings about the validity of such tests were due almost entirely to statistical and measurement artifacts and that validity actually varied little, if at all, across organizations, time periods, and settings.
These findings led the field to reject the long-standing belief in industrial-organizational and educational psychology that validity is situation-specific, to support the conclusion of wide generalizability, and to open the way to development of cumulative knowledge and theory in these areas. These validity-generalization methods are unique in incorporating corrections for data biases due to measurement error, range restriction, sampling error, dichotomization of variable measures, and other research artifacts, with the purpose being to estimate the research findings that would be obtained if studies could be conducted without methodological flaws.
Schmidt’s influential work has had a significant impact in many areas of science. In a series of articles and three books starting in the early 1980s, Schmidt and his collaborator John Hunter generalized these methods for application to research literatures in many fields. The methods have been applied to over 150 research literatures in industrial-organizational, social, counseling, and educational psychology, as well as in finance, economics, nursing, political science, and other areas.
Frank Schmidt has also made important contributions to measurement issues and models in psychological research, the economic value of improved personnel selection methods, fairness of employment and educational tests to minorities, and causal model of job performance. A tireless researcher, educator, author, and editor, Schmidt’s contributions have profoundly shaped the American workplace through improved employment practices and organizational productivity.