Robert P. Tett

robert tett

Associate Professor of PsychologyDirector of Industrial/Organizational PsychologyLorton Hall 307-D

My research interests fall broadly within the field of industrial and organizational psychology. More specifically, they focus on how personality is related to job performance, with applications to personnel selection, work motivation, and team building. The primary theoretical underpinning of this work is "trait activation," which builds on well-established principles of person-situation interactionism. Extraverts, for example, will perform well in jobs where (a) there is opportunity to express extraversion, and (b) extraversion contributes to organizational success. By the same token, extraverts will perform poorly where (a) there is opportunity to express extraversion, but (b) extraversion impedes success (e.g., by distracting co-workers from doing their jobs). A key point here is that the process by which traits find expression at work is distinct from the process by which trait expression (as work behavior) is judged as job performance. Other research interests include leadership and managerial competencies, emotional intelligence, and assessment centers. I am lead author of a self-report questionnaire entitled, the Multidimensional Emotional Intelligence Assessment (MEIA) and consult with organizations on test development and the role of personality and emotional intelligence in hiring settings.

Education and Degrees Earned

  • BA Psychology (Honours), Simon Fraser University, 1985
  • MA Psychology (Measurement), The University of Western Ontario, 1987
  • Ph.D. Psychology (Industrial/Organizational), The University of Western Ontario, 1995

Previous Teaching Experience

  • Personality (Wright State University)
  • Work Motivation (University of Central Florida)
  • Tests and Measurement (Wright State University)

Professional Affiliations

  • Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)
  • American Psychological Association (APA)

Courses Taught at TU

  • Industrial Organizational Psychology (PSY 3073)
  • Psychometrics (PSY 7053)
  • Statistics for Behavioral Sciences (PSY 2023)


  • Tett, R. P. & Burnett, D. (2003). A personality trait-based interactionist model of job performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88, 500-517.

  • Tett, R. P., Steele, J. R., & Beauregard, R. S. (2003). Broad and narrow measures on both sides of the personality-job performance relationship. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 24, 335-356.

  • Tett, R. P., & Fox, K. E. (2006). Confirmatory factor structure of emotional intelligence in student and worker samples. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 1155-1168.

  • Tett, R. P., Fox, K. E., & Wang, A. (2005). Development and validation of a self-report measure of emotional intelligence as a multidimensional trait domain. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 859-888.

  • Tett, R. P., & Christiansen, N. D. (2007). Personality tests at the crossroads: A response to Morgeson, Campion, Dipboye Hollenbeck, Murphy, and Schmitt (2007). Personnel Psychology, 60, 967-993.

  • Tett, R. P., Fitzke, J. R., Wadlington, P. L., Davies, S. A., Anderson, M. G., & Foster, J. (in press). The utility of personality test norms: Effects of sample size and sample representativeness. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology