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The Role of General Cognitive Ability and Job Performance: Why There Cannot Be a Debate

Article (PDF Available) inHuman Performance 15(1):187-210 · April 2002with1,098 Reads
DOI: 10.1207/S15327043HUP1501&02_12
Given the overwhelming research evidence showing the strong link between general cognitive ability (GCA) and job performance, it is not logically possible for industrial -organizational (I/O) psychologists to have a serious debate over whether GCA is important for job performance. However, even if none of this evidence existed in I/O psychology, research findings in differential psychology on the nature and correlates of GCA provide a sufficient basis for the conclusion that GCA is strongly related to job performance. In I/O psychology, the theoretical basis for the empirical evidence linking GCA and job performance is rarely presented, but is critical to understanding and acceptance of these findings. The theory explains the why behind the empirical findings. From the viewpoint of the kind of world we would like to live in - and would like to believe we live in - the research findings on GCA are not what most people would hope for and are not welcome. However, if we want to remain a science-based field, we cannot reject what we know to be true in favor of what we would like to be true.