Encouraging Debate on the Uniform Guidelines and the Disparate Impact Theory of Discrimination


This response summarizes commentaries on the M. A. McDaniel, S. Kepes, and G. C. Banks (2011) article, which argued that the Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures are a detriment to the field of personnel selection. Several themes were present in the commentaries. No compelling arguments were presented to dispute the assertion that mean racial differences in job-related attributes will be with us for a long time. However, compelling arguments were made that the disparate impact theory of discrimination is a more central issue for personnel selection than the Uniform Guidelines. Similarly, arguments were presented that the assessment of adverse impact is problematic and that expert witness testimony needs improvement. Areas in need of further investigation were also identified. Finally, the role of the Society of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) in guiding regulatory, legislative, and court actions was considered. We were motivated to write the focal article because of our frustration with professionally developed employment tests being judged to be ‘‘bad tests’’ because they show mean racial differences and do not meet the arcane and scientifically inappropriate Uniform Guidelines on Employee Selection Procedures. We had the possibly delusional idea that all would be better if the Uniform Guidelines were extensively revised or possibly rescinded. We received 11 commentaries that in part support our positions and in part disagree. We hope that this article, the focal article (McDaniel, Kepes, & Banks, 2011), and the set of commentaries in this issue of Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice will encourage additional Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael A. McDaniel. E-mail: mamcdani@vcu.edu Address: Department of Management, Virginia Commonwealth University, Snead Hall, 301 W. Main St., PO Box 844000, Richmond, VA 23284-4000 constructive discourse concerning the Uniform Guidelines, adverse impact, and related issues. We organize our presentation along a few themes. Mean Racial Differences in Job-Related Attributes Are Not Going Away Soon The focal article argued that the mean racial differences in job-related attributes are not going away anytime soon. No commentators provided any compelling evidence or arguments to the contrary. Consistent with the position of the focal article, Barrett, Miguel, and Doverspike (2011) asserted that we can expect such differences for at least the next 100 years. Jacobs, Deckert, and Silva (2011) noted that ‘‘eliminating group differences is not possible for many effective predictors.’’ We offer that it is best to recognize that mean racial differences in job-related attributes

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@inproceedings{McDaniel2011EncouragingDO, title={Encouraging Debate on the Uniform Guidelines and the Disparate Impact Theory of Discrimination}, author={Michael A. McDaniel and Sven Kepes}, year={2011} }