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Constructive Developmental Framework: Evaluating corporate leaders

"Selection decisions concerning a business organization´s management are critical to the success of that organization, but to date there has been little use of rigorous scientific methods and knowledge to inform the decision making process", the prominent British consultant Nick Shannon criticizes. He recommends the Constructive Developmental Framework (CDF): It is "a step forward in terms of meeting such requirements in the field of executive selection decisions." Shannon and colleagues describe the CDF-application in a special issue of "Wirtschaftspsychologie" (English + German).

"The CDF methodology gives a comprehensive view of the capability of an individual from the perspective of cognitive, socio-emotional and behavioral assessments - and links this theoretically to the maximum level within an organisation at which the person would work effectively", Shannon argues.

"CDF is soundly based theoretically and produces testable hypotheses. As such I consider it meets the requirement of a decision theory, if not yet those of a decision science. As with any system of assessment there are some potential limitations:

  • From a methodological point of view, interviewers need to be highly skilled in eliciting cognitive and socio-emotional data from their subjects. Simply put, a poor interview yields poor data.
  • At a minimum, interviewers may need to be the equal of their interviewees from a developmental standpoint in order to engage in a dialogue in the cognitive interview that would allow the interviewee to demonstrate the full range of their thinking.
  • In terms of socio-emotional interview, interviewers must also be capable of generating a level of personal disclosure from the interviewee that would not be typical of more standard selection interviews ..."