Order effects of task inventory design

Natalie Collins, Patricia M. Brown

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contribution


Precise job information is a vital resource for managers, with the task inventory approach to Job Analysis/Occupational Analysis being a valuable tool in collecting reliable and valid job information. However, research on the order of tasks in the inventory has been limited, with the alphabetised by verb approach frequently advocated as the most valid and easiest for respondents to complete. The current experimental study was designed to determine whether a different set of responses are produced when the same set of tasks are ordered using scripts, compared to when alphabetised by verb. A between groups design was applied in the current study where participants were matched based on their unit function (for example, participants from training establishments were matched), and assigned to either the script based or alphabetised by verb task inventory. Using a sample of 434 other ranks (ORs) in the Explosive Ordnance specialisation, analysis of variance results indicated that junior ORs in the alphabetised group took significantly less time to complete the task inventory compared to both junior ORs in the script group, and senior ORs in the alphabetised group. It was also found that job incumbents in the script group ticked significantly more tasks than those in the alphabetised group, and that senior ORs ticked significantly more tasks than their junior OR colleagues. Results are discussed with regard to cognitive processing theory, and the subsequent implications of the current findings on the design of task inventories within the Australian Defence Force.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings: 44th Annual Conference of the International Military Testing Association
Place of PublicationCanada
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2002


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