Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Member

Marissa L Shuffler, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Thomas Britt

Committee Member

Fred Switzer


Given the changing nature of today’s workforce, it is becoming increasingly common, and at times even vital, for employees to be well-prepared for navigating complex social situations to fulfill everyday organizational demands (Grossman, Thayer, Shuffler, Burke, Salas, 2014). However, while effective interpersonal interactions are clearly required in many occupations, an ongoing deficiency of critical interpersonal knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAOs) among employees has been widely recognized (Hays-Thomas, Bowen & Boudreaux, 2012). The current study seeks to answer a critical call in the literature for better methods of assessing and developing employee interpersonal KSAOs, especially in terms of how to assess employee effectiveness in the application of these KSAOs to socially complex situations. Specifically, the current study develops and provides initial validity evidence for a situational judgment test (SJT) of critical social thinking (CST), the underlying set of processes that put interpersonal KSAOs into practice. Using a two-fold approach, the development of SJT items and respective scoring keys (both SME and empirically computed) are first presented, followed by the results of an initial validation study conducted with the subsequent SJT measure, in order to confirm the structural fit and items via data collected from a sample of 191 MTurk participants. The internal consistency reliability of the SJT measure is sufficient (α= .87) and evidence for construct, content, convergent and discriminant validity is presented. However, the factor structure of the model did not result as hypothesized, and it is likely that this measure is comprised of one large CST factor rather than three underlying factors that were predicted.