The role of sergeants in military units is important as they are officers who deal with soldiers and are responsible for their wellbeing and military preparedness. Sergeants can be set for a variety of duties, therefore different kinds of personality traits and abilities are required. In Lithuania, sergeant selection is based on education, health report and reference letter. So there is no appropriate psychological criterion for the selection of sergeants. The purpose of the present research was to identify criteria of selection of leaders of small army units (section and squad) as well as develop a situational test for their psychological selection and testing their psychometric characteristics. The situational test was based on the leadership criterion. The total number of 369 respondents – soldiers, leaders of sections, leaders of squads and their supervisors – participated in the research. A job analysis questionnaire based on the evaluation of interview
data and on job descriptions for section and squad leaders was developed, as well as a questionnaire for rating the attributes possessed by good leaders of small army units was compiled. Afterwards, one more questionnaire was made, in which the importance of the chosen attributes was assessed by linking them to the most important tasks of section and squad leaders. Factor analysis of data resulted in five selection criteria: target-oriented behaviour, leadership, military discipline, interpersonal competence, dutifulness.
Within the initial version of the situational test, an interview with section and squad leaders and their supervisors was conducted. There were 29 problematic situations selected from their job. Experts assessed the relevance and difficulty of these situations. Finally, 15 situations were selected for the initial version of the situational test. Then the evaluation of test score reliability and concurrent validity was made. The level of difficulty and discriminative characteristics of each test item (problematic situation) was evaluated as well. Test score reliability and concurrent validity were significant (p < 0.01). Eleven situations were of sufficient difficulty and discriminative power level. The concurrent validity of the test was assessed after making some corrections by excluding four situations, and it was significant (p < 0.01).
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