The use of personality assessments in Hong Kong SAR

2.6 The use of personality assessments in Hong Kong SAR

Notwithstanding the cultural differences, the development of Chinese testing of Chinese people in Hong Kong has been subject to a similar evolution as that of mainland China. At the same time, due to the fact that Hong Kong has held a closer relationship with the West than has mainland China, Hong Kong SAR has had greater exposure to Western-developed tests.

In Western developed nations it is clear that personality assessment is a popular tool in organisational settings. O’Meara (1994) estimated that 5,000 to 6,000 organisations in the USA use personality assessment as part of their hiring process. It is likely that this figure has grown considerably in the intervening years. However, and as noted by Chan and Lee (1995), taking Hong Kong as the gateway from the West to China, the pattern of use in Hong Kong SAR is somewhat difficult to assess. Their review focuses on tests that are most frequently used in educational and clinical settings and in the main ignores the use of occupational assessments. More recently, Cheung and colleagues at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have contacted members of the Hong Kong Psychological Society (HKPS) by email in order to update Chan and Lee’s survey (Email communication, May 2004). However, the online questionnaire that members were directed to contained checkboxes that listed mainly educational and clinical tests, showing a potential lack of awareness of the organisational, personality- and aptitude-based assessments in use in Hong Kong. With the import of Western and regional consultants for brief periods of time, the current non-necessity of statutory registration/membership of the HKPS and the fact that many non-psychologists (e.g. human resource professionals) use psychological tests, one may assume that even if organisation-based tests were listed in their entirety in such a survey, it would not be sufficiently representative of test use in Hong Kong. Cheung’s recent survey excluded non-HKPS members as well as HKPS members without email contacts and those without time or interest to reply. Anecdotal and experiential evidence (see for example psyasia.com) of the researcher suggests that personality and aptitude tests that have traditionally been used in work settings in the West are also used to a large extent in Hong Kong, even if this cannot be supported by current surveys of test use (For comparison purposes, the reader may view a UK survey on psychological test use, which included all forms of test use: Tyler, 1986).