Original Research

The diversity-validity dilemma: In search of minimum adverse impact and maximum utility.

Callie Theron
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 35, No 1 | a765 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v35i1.765 | © 2009 Callie Theron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 November 2008 | Published: 26 October 2009

About the author(s)

Callie Theron, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

Full Text:



Selection from diverse groups of applicants poses the formidable challenge of developing valid selection procedures that simultaneously add value, do not discriminate unfairly and which minimise adverse impact. Valid selection procedures used in a fair, non-discriminatory manner that optimises utility, however, very often result in adverse impact against members of protected groups. More often than not, the assessment techniques used for selection are blamed for this. The conventional interpretation of adverse impact results in an erroneous diagnosis of the fundamental causes of the under-representation of protected group members and, consequently, in an inappropriate treatment of the problem.


personnel selection; adverse impact; unfair discrimination; employment equity; diversity


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