Meet the Author: Richard Hossiep, co-author of the BIP-6F Second Edition

Hogrefe Ltd is delighted to be publishing the Business-focused Inventory of Personality – 6 Factors (BIP-6F) Second Edition, the latest edition of the BIP-6F, and based on the BIP, a pioneering measure which has contributed significantly to the overall acceptance of personality testing in the workplace. The BIP-6F Second Edition, co-authored by C. Richard Hossiep, has been refined and enhanced to target a wider range of applications whilst delivering accessible, robust results. We were fortunate enough to interview Richard virtually about his career, his interests, and his inspiration behind developing the second edition.

Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

‘Today I am a trained psychologist, but I first gained a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I later went on to complete my master’s degree in the UK at the University of Manchester. Since 2017, I have been working on my PhD in business administration which is focused on intra- and inter-organisational trust and transparency.

When I’m not focusing on my studies, I work for Applysia, an HR technology start-up based in Munster, Germany. We provide software for complex HR selection processes. We are also partnering with Hogrefe in Germany, Switzerland, and hopefully Austria soon.’

Your father, Dr Rüdiger Hossiep, is a highly acclaimed psychologist and prolific test author, and the BIP is widely accepted as the “gold standard for personality testing in Germany”. To what extent did he spark your interest in Psychology?

‘That’s an interesting question, and I think the answer is both a lot, but also not a lot. As I mentioned before, I initially started higher education by studying business administration. I deliberately chose a subject that wasn’t psychology, but after a while I realised how much I am interested in it and that’s why I decided to do a second undergraduate degree in in psychology. I thought to myself, ‘if my father were a doctor and I wanted to study medicine, people would not be surprised’ so, it’s not uncommon. It felt like the best fit for me, and I already had some insights into the subject as my father was also teaching psychology at university.’

Expanding on your last answer, what inspires you most about the field of psychology generally, and occupational psychology specifically?

‘Psychology is the science of analysing and predicting behaviour, and that’s what I find most interesting. It is one of the few hard disciplines that truly connects a lot of different areas. Why occupational psychology specifically? I was always interested in how people interact and how things happen, so-to-speak. It is integral to how things are done in organisational settings, and so I think it was natural for me to find it so interesting.’

I believe that occupational psychology could - and should - be more vocal, we have so much to say

This is an extraordinary time for the world and therefore for organisations and leaders. What trends are you noticing and what role can occupational psychology play, in your opinion?

‘Generally speaking, it’s accelerated everything for a lot of people, but it has also stopped others in their tracks. Everything is moving faster but it’s more disrupted and fragmented. It’s a challenging time for everyone and coordination between individuals and teams is harder to achieve. I think that occupational psychology has a lot to offer to support businesses, take work-life conflict as a good example, a lot of research has been done in the area that can help facilitate balance.

However, I believe that occupational psychology could - and should - be more vocal, we have so much to say, and there are many self-proclaimed development coaches out there whose work doesn’t have the scientific back-up.’

You co-authored the BIP-6F Second Edition, which is launching now. What was the inspiration behind developing the second edition?

‘We started by looking at the BIP family; the current issues, the different language versions, where we have norm groups and where we need them. We knew that the quality of the product was good, but a successful measure needs norm groups and we didn’t have that for the first edition in English, so that’s where the motivation came from to go out and collect further data. We also wanted to ensure that we were fulfilling the requirements of good practice in test development, which led us to improve the item base and the factor fit. In short, we wanted to make a good product for the English-speaking market and an international audience by building on the first edition.’

The BIP-6F could be considered a statistical solution to the BIP, with a binocular view

Could you go into a bit of detail about how the BIP and the BIP-6F Second Edition differ?

‘One very useful way of looking at this is that one is the magnifying glass and the other is the binoculars. The main difference is that the BIP has 14 dimensions; that’s a lot of detail, therefore it is the magnifying glass. The BIP-6F is shorter, it has six dimensions (or factors, as the name suggests), so it can be applied in a broader range of contexts. The BIP-6F could be considered a statistical solution to the BIP, with a binocular view.’

In your opinion, who would be the most interested in using the BIP-6F Second Edition?

‘I think the BIP-6F Second Edition is even more applicable in a selection context. You could say this is because it’s shorter and needs less involvement from candidates. With 42 items, it takes no longer than 10 minutes to complete, compared to the English version of the BIP with 220 items which could take the test-taker up-to an hour. I can also see the BIP-6F being applied in contexts where employers want to do repeat measurements for comparative data, the first being in the selection process and then again after six months or a year. It’s important to note that, in terms of presenting feedback, the six very distinct factors make interpretation less complex, it means that the measure is much more accessible to more users.’

What would you say is unique about the BIP-6F Second Edition compared to its predecessors and other personality questionnaires that are on the market?

‘Firstly, its brevity, and secondly, the quality. It’s short but it works. We know that because we started with a solid foundation. It’s been validated against the NEO-Five Factor Inventory-3 (NEO-FFI-3), the factor solution is broad, we have very low intercorrelations, and it’s already well established — but now it’s even more accessible.’

...you can use the BIP-6F Second Edition to compare British with US Americans, but I can see huge potential in assessing diverse, multinational, and multicultural teams

English-speaking norm groups are now available for the US, the UK, and a bilingual population...

...with this in mind, how do you see the BIP-6F Second Edition benefitting international teams where working remotely is the only option, and where some individuals may not speak English as a first language?

‘I believe it’s absolutely crucial and it’s one of the benefits of the second edition. If you have a multinational team where one member is from Russia, one from Switzerland, one from China, and one from Australia for example, it doesn’t make sense to use four different language versions of the same measure because you can’t accurately compare the findings, it’s not good practice. Ideally you need one test that can be applied across languages, which is where the BIP-6F Second Edition comes in. When we put together the items, we took into account that there will be differences between native English speakers and those who are still learning to speak the language, so we made sure they weren’t difficult to understand. Again, this improves on the accessibility of the measure. Of course you can use the BIP-6F Second Edition to compare British with US Americans, but I can see huge potential in assessing diverse,  multinational, and multicultural teams.’

What behavioural changes have you seen as a result of the pandemic?

‘The big one is working from home, right? It has affected nearly everybody and it’s one that takes self-management skills, which is where personality comes into play. Businesses will offer as much support as they can; they can provide resources, technology, and a desk but, at the end of the day, a lot of it comes down to the individual, and so I think personality is playing an even bigger role than before.’

What do you think is the biggest challenge facing future leaders?

‘The variance of individuals’ workplaces. In a team where you have people working for you and you don’t know or understand their personal situations completely; their languages, their time zone, schedule, etc., the different needs of different individuals must be considered more thoroughly. Some might require a desktop computer but others can do their work on a smartphone, one individual can work with a lot of trust and can organise themselves, another needs more control and feedback from their line manager. Some work better in the day whereas others are more productive in the evenings, and it’s looking like this way of working will continue long after the pandemic is over. I think there will be a return to the workplace but it won’t be as regularly or as formally as before. There will be more flexibility, and flexibility always means uncertainty. For leaders, being able to manage this uncertainty whilst maintaining high productivity and delivering on objectives will be a challenge.’

Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to add to the conversation?

‘I would encourage people to use repeated measurements of anything in order to gather more comparative data, we have a great instrument in the BIP-6F Second Edition to do this, and to do it well.’

The BIP-6F Second Edition is available on the Hogrefe Testsystem 5 (HTS 5), our secure, high-performance online test platform. Click here to learn more about this exciting new measure, or contact us directly at customersupport@hogrefe.co.uk to find out how to get started.