How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

# Repertory Grid

Disciplines > Human Resources > Job Analysis > Repertory Grid

## Description

To use the Repertory Grid to understand the detail of a job:

• Identify a range of 10-20 people who do the job (these are called elements).
• Select three at random.
• Select two that seem more similar in some way.
• Identify what it is about them that is similar (this is the similarity pole).
• Identify what is different about the other person (this is the contrast pole).

For example, given three sales people, two may be excitable whilst the other is calm.

• Repeat this until you have about 20 contrasts.
• Thin this down to about 10 by combining similar contrasts.

The remain contrasts should give you a good idea of the factors that make up the job.

## Discussion

The Repertory Grid is based on George Kelly's Personal Construct Theory. It is called a 'grid' because one way of doing it is to use a matrix with the people along one side and the similarity and contrast poles along another side.

Personal Construct Theory is based on the premise that people try to understand the world and build internal representations called constructs about things. The Repertory Grid discovers constructs by considering what is similar and different about a target group. A group of three is the minimum necessary to make such comparisons (two to find similarities and a third to note differences).

Consider these three animals: Ostrich, Penguin and Panda. by considering differences and similarities, you could identify constructs about them including:

• Bird vs. Not bird (needs construct of 'bird').
• Black-and-white vs. Multi-colored (needs constructs of 'color' and 'black and white').
• Found in northern hemisphere vs. Found in southern hemisphere (needs construct of global hemisphere).
• Name starts with vowel vs. Starts with consonant (needs constructs of letters, vowels and consonants).

Note that there is no judgement about what is good or bad about the contrasts identified or where on the spectra identified a 'good performer' will sit -- this can be done in a future activity.

Personal Construct Theory

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