The Impact of Selection and the Assessment Center Method on Leader Development

  • Hubert AnnenEmail author
Part of the Annals of Theoretical Psychology book series (AOTP, volume 15)


Personnel selection is a factor that has a big impact on the development of individual leaders. An appropriate selection instrument for leaders is the assessment center (AC) method. This is a condensed probationary period in which candidates are observed and evaluated in a variety of simulation exercises by a group of independent assessors with respect to several relevant behavioral dimensions, mostly used to identify leadership potential. But it only attains its full effect when the relevant quality standards are considered. That is, ACs have to be developed, implemented, and evaluated according to their intended purpose; organizations must analyze the target position and define success-relevant behavior with sophisticated methods, resulting in behavioral dimensions that can be defined and observed with consistency. On this basis can simulation exercises be developed which tap into all facets of previously defined competencies. During the AC process itself, assessors must use systematic procedures to record and rate assessed behavior and discuss their observations and judgments with other assessors in order to monitor and minimize the inevitable subjectivity. The whole process results in a fair and sound report on the individual assessed, which allows well-founded decisions to be made and helpful feedback to be provided. Due to its solid theoretical foundation, the involvement of the relevant stakeholders, and its systematic, multi-methodical approach, the AC is the most tangible instrument encountered in the process of leader development and also has an effect on the leadership culture in the respective organization. With the implementation and application of the AC method, the organization makes a clear statement concerning the perception of good leadership and that one is willing to invest in leader development.


Selection Assessment center Behavior evaluation Personality Culture Recruitment Diagnostic 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Military Academy at ETH ZurichBirmensdorfSwitzerland

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