IQ A smart History of a Failed Idea


According to the psychologist, David Wechsler the term Intelligence can be defined as, "The aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment." As a psychometric approach the Intelligence Quotient has been widely used in determining the competence of individuals in scholastic and professional arenas. However, in recent times, the question of the authenticity of using the IQ as a sole criterion of an individual's ability to perform well is being raised. In an increasingly diverse and dynamic work environment, it is important to consider factors other than just the IQ of an individual. Moreover, work places are becoming highly specialized, indicating the need for developing a workforce with specific aptitudes and the flexibility to adapt to varying situations successfully. Human potential is a vast and as yet unexplored field that constantly manages to both surprise and awe us. To set limits to this potential by reducing it to one number renders many talented and capable people redundant.

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Also I do not subscribe to the view that IQ is an innate quality that cannot be bettered. Individuals can and have in the past demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity and emerge as winners in their chosen fields. Richard Branson, the multi billionaire who started the Virgin group of more than 360 companies had this to say about IQ and it is something worth reading:

"I was dyslexic, I had no understanding of schoolwork whatsoever. I certainly would have failed IQ tests. And it was one of the reasons I left school when I was 15 years old. And if I - if I'm not interested in something, I don't grasp it. "

The topic of human intelligence is a volatile one. Intelligence testing is something that is emotionally charged, controversial and a commonly misunderstood aspect of psychology and education. The use of IQ for testing intelligence is an abstract concept. (Elliot,2004) IQ tests conceptualize intelligence too narrowly and they don't measure all aspects that are essential in picking the best candidate for the job. (Anonymous,1990)

I come to observe that you view intelligence as a composite of several specific and general abilities, which in a way is true. Based on this conception of yours, you use these IQ tests as a way of summarising these many facets of intelligence and present it in a single number. It is quite clear that you insist all applicants who want to be a part of your organisation must necessarily have a minimum score of 125, based on which you generate ideas as to how capable that individual is in adapting and performing in your work environment. The one thing that you fail to recognise is to realise is that, ability is only one aspect that is central to the structure of intelligence. You need to understand that IQ is not intelligence, it is only a random score that an individual obtains in a test. The IQ of an individual is something that is dependent on various factors which include motivation from someone, depends on how anxious an individual is and what sort of reaction an individual would show when being tested for IQ and offcourse the examinees ability to take up the exam. Again the IQ score that you are willing to give depends on your ability and understanding of the same test. (Elliot, 2004)

There are certain aspects that you need to understand while you use IQ tests to judge certain abilities and capabilities of a person. There is no one specific way of measuring an individual's IQ. If your test is not a reliable medium of testing an individual's IQ then it is as good as not using it. And it needs to be reliable over time. (Guterman, 1979)

Another important thing that you need to understand is whether your tests are really valid based on which anyone can judge its quality. Probably the only way to understand its validity is when you understand how your IQ test works and what is expected out of an individual when they take up the test. Your ability to evaluate the validity of your IQ tests can make a great difference in the ultimate benefits that you intend to receive in favour of your organisation. (Elliot, 2004)

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Intelligence is a factor that largely depends on what sort of background an individual comes from and what sort of culture he or she is from. Each culture is different and every person's IQ to an extent depends on what sort of background they come from. Thus by using such tests in your recruitment practice, it might prove to be a potential discriminatory factor. Another discriminatory factor is that, to take up an IQ test an individual is required to know English. Especially in a unique working environment such as yours, you require people from various backgrounds and cultures to serve the diverse needs of your clients. (Gunderson, Siegel, 2005)

Assessment devices such as IQ tests should only be used as one of the many tools to help diagnose and improve an individual's skills rather than completely relying and simply judging what the person is capable of

I hope that, with this brief portrayal of issues and controversies that we have gone through, you now have a clear cut idea of IQ and intelligence.

Success is not the sole property of those who are considered conventionally intelligent. As our society has time and again proved, it is interest, passion and a strong work ethic that really counts. While using an IQ test consider the following to make sure the tool is an effective one. And always put the person before the number.

Like any other organization, Prentice and Page's success depends on how well it manages its human resources. The employees determine the organization's objectives, and people like you (Deborah Page) who actually run the operations, are the ones who allow the organization to reach its objectives. You as the founder of Prentice and Page need to focus your actions on areas which are most likely to make a difference in the organization's competitiveness. There are plenty of ways to spend time and resources - but the key for your organization to achieve its business objectives lies in your decision making capabilities. In an environment of intense competition, you should seek to gain and sustain a competitive advantage rather than just keeping up.

Your first and foremost objective would be, is to devise a strategy that defines the business mission, vision and values. I personally believe that strategies persist as a guiding force and quite so often, point in the right direction to organizations that are willing to make a promising change. The reason for you to formulate a strategic plan is to make sure that you

Determine the organization's mission - by doing so you would be in a position to define your business scope and operations that distinguish your organization from others of similar nature.

Scan the organizational environment - internally and externally to identify strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats.

Set strategic goals - specify the desired outcomes that must be achieved if your firm is to accomplish its mission.


But beware, the level of change you desire, determines the level of difficulty required to formulate and apply your business strategy. Nonetheless, you will use these strategies as a response to any internal issues your business is likely to face in near future. Once you have your strategies formulated, implementation of the same will automatically create a focus that will enable your organization achieve its business objectives.

Knowing the right factors to guide your organization, requires you to maintain the right balance in your decision making choices. It is one thing to create a competitive advantage and another to sustain it over a period of time. Listed below are a few factors pertaining to your organization's Human Resource Management practices that you might need to reconsider in order to achieve a competitive advantage and be in a position to sustain the same.

HR Planning

Clearly it would be sensible for you to start finding out as much as u can about your "personnel" plans - most notably their role, benefits and drawbacks that affects your organization's performance. HR planning is the thread that ties together all other human resource activities and integrates these with the rest of the organisation. Through HR planning you can identify the mix of skills you will need in the future. These are the factors that you will need to look into while compiling your HR plan. (Kleiman,1997)

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Assess your current situation

Identify your present staffing needs, typically in terms of the number of employees you require, their skills and experience.

Look into your existing workforce.

Make adjustments where ever necessary to meet your requirements.

Identify likely influences that are caused by internal and external factors.

Be in a position to recognize the probable changes that are most likely to occur.

Estimate your future staffing needs and levels.


You can then use this information to carry out the remaining functions that goes into other human resource practices. The HR planning process will help you to start recruiting effectively at the right time for the right cost and in line with your future organizational requirements. Equally important, it enables you to compile a long term recruitment programme. When your HR planning process is complete, you will be in a position to establish and implement other HRM practices that help you meet your human resource needs.

Analysing Jobs

The preliminary stages in recruiting the right people consist of analysing jobs, compiling job description and specification. As an employer you will need to identify and hire the most suitable applicants. The job analysis information will help you identify your selection criteria and also help you to devise appropriate and effective selection methods. You will need to

Gather as much information regarding

The employees activities (job content).

Conditions under which work is performed (job context).

Employee requirements.


Recruiting Applicants

Knowing that there are certain jobs to be filled and you are aware of the types of employees that you require, you can move ahead to look for people and start filling in the vacancies. Effective recruitment requires a great deal of planning. You must be aware that you unique business environment call for a situational approach in attracting employees. These are certain factors that you will need to look into when you decide to fill in the vacancies.

Identify the job opening - try and find out the opening well in advance, filling it up will take some time.

Decide whether to fill the vacancy at all - sometime it is unnecessary for you to staff a vacant position, when you can rely on other alternatives.

Decide how to fill the job opening - if at all you do require someone, you can choose to fill up the vacancy, internally or externally.

Identify your target population -specify your job requirements and based on that you will need to decide whether to target certain segments of applicant population.

Notify the target population - you can reach out to people through various communication mediums like newspaper ads, journals and community magazines. While doing so, try to limit the size of the applicant pool by attracting only the most appropriate candidate.

Meet with the candidates - finally decide to call in applicants for interviews, whom you think are most appropriate for the job.


Selecting Applicants

Your recruitment process will typically yield a number of applicants whose qualifications must be assessed against the requirements of the job. You must practice a selection process that is much reliable than your existing one, and must provide as much valid information as possible about applicants in order to match the job specification with their qualification. The information that you obtain must be clearly job related and free from potential discrimination. You can use the interview system that are customarily used most of the organisations and you can use them in conjunction with application forms, background investigations and other sources of information. While using the interview system, make sure that those who conduc interviews, receive special training that acquaints them with interviewing methods and equal employment opportunity considerations. (Nankervis,2005)

The only thing that you might want to reconsider is your criteria and insistence that all candidates must undertake the IQ test. The question you need to ask yourself is whether those tests are really reliable and valid. My personal opinion is that, selecting a candidate only based on IQ tests is not quite appropriate in terms of validity. The candidate might take up the same test twice and is most likely to have a different score on both the occasions. In that case your reliance on the validity of IQ tests is diminished. What you can do is, you can use the IQ tests as one component amongst several other tests, in a broader selection process.

Learning and Development

The aim of individual development is to help people to be effective learners. Organisations such as yours must continually be able to learn, adapt and grow if you are to survive in white water environments. Your training and development practices will contribute to your organisation's competitive advantage by enhancing worker competence and will reduce the likelihood of unwanted turnover. The factors that go into an effective training and development process requires you to

Decide what to teach - your training and development program should contain material that instils knowledge, abilities and skills necessary for effective job performance.

Decide how to maximize participant learning - you should present you material in such a way that it maximizes learning.

Choose an appropriate training and development method - you must have an appropriate training method for achieving your organizational objectives.

Ensure that trainees apply the learned material on the job.

Determine whether the training and development program is effective or not.


Appraising Employee Job Performance

The success of any organisation depends largely on the performance of its human resources. Appraisal systems have the capability to influence employee behaviour which leads to an improved organisational performance. While appraising an employee, it is important that you understand

A sense of management responsibility for evaluating performance.

The standards of an effective performance appraisal system - make sure that you are completely aware of the quality, accuracy, relevance and performance standards of which ever appraisal system you wish to follow.

The use if appropriate techniques with some pattern of logic and consistency.

How to develop the performance appraisal system and keep increasing standards and raising benchmarks.


Determining Pay and Benefits

Pay and Benefits are extremely important to both applicants and employees. It is these factors that heavily influence recruitment, morale and turnover. So it is important that your employees view these practices of yours in favourable light. Pay for performance is more important than ever. To implement this this direct link of rewards, you need to

Regularly review remuneration strategy and policies to ensure that they are driven by business needs and support your business objectives and that they reflect best practice.

Think more creatively about reward and developing recognition programs to motivate employees. (Mankin,2009)

You will seriously need to consider a good pay and benefit scheme to achieve the desired contribution in aligning employees with your organization's strategy.

The future of your organization depends on developments and decisions that you wish to make. Based on your willingness to adapt to an innovative and creative style of management, lies your organisation's potential to meet its strategic and integrative objectives.