Roger Birkman

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Roger Birkman
Born(1919-02-01)February 1, 1919
DiedMarch 26, 2014(2014-03-26) (aged 95)
Alma mater University of Texas at Austin
Known forpsychology and social perception in the workplace

Roger Winfred Birkman [1] (February 1, 1919 – March 26, 2014) was an American organizational psychologist. He was the creator of The Birkman Method, [2] a workplace psychological assessment. Birkman received his Ph.D. in psychology in 1961 from the University of Texas at Austin. He was the founder and chairman of the board of Birkman International, Inc.

University of Texas at Austin public research university in Austin, Texas, United States

The University of Texas at Austin is a public research university in Austin, Texas. It was founded in 1883 and is the flagship institution of the University of Texas System. The University of Texas was inducted into the Association of American Universities in 1929, becoming only the third university in the American South to be elected. The institution has the nation's eighth-largest single-campus enrollment, with over 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students and over 24,000 faculty and staff.



Birkman began his studies in psychology at the University of Houston before enlisting in the United States Army Air Corps and becoming a B-17 bomber pilot. He became interested in the exploration of individual psychological differences while serving during World War II. His experiences with the impact that perceptions, and misperceptions, among his crew and fellow pilots had on performance led him to the study of social psychology. He began developing The Birkman Method in the late 1940s while working with a group of scientists at the University of Houston surveying psychological instruments for pilot selection by the Air Force.

University of Houston state research university in Houston, Texas, United States

The University of Houston (UH) is a public research university in Houston, Texas and the main institution of the University of Houston System. Founded in 1927, UH is the third-largest university in Texas with over 46,000 students. Its campus spans 667 acres in southeast Houston, and was known as University of Houston–University Park from 1983 to 1991. The Carnegie Foundation classifies UH as a doctoral degree-granting institution with "highest research activity."

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

World War II 1939–1945, between Axis and Allies

World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from more than 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.

Birkman sought to create a single instrument that would measure self-concepts, social expectations, stress behaviors, and occupational interests valuable to both work and life. By 1951, he had completed his first iteration called the "Test of Social Comprehension." A self-report questionnaire eliciting responses about perception of self, social context, and occupational opportunities. Scales were empirically developed by comparing self-report item results with descriptions of likes, dislikes and behaviors provided by third parties. The Birkman Method took its final form in his 1961 doctoral dissertation. His work aligns with the social psychology theories of the organizational psychologist Kurt Lewin.

Thesis document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree

A thesis or dissertation is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings. In some contexts, the word "thesis" or a cognate is used for part of a bachelor's or master's course, while "dissertation" is normally applied to a doctorate, while in other contexts, the reverse is true. The term graduate thesis is sometimes used to refer to both master's theses and doctoral dissertations.

Kurt Lewin German-American psychologist

Kurt Lewin was a German-American psychologist, known as one of the modern pioneers of social, organizational, and applied psychology in the United States. Exiled from the land of his birth, Lewin made a new life for himself, in which he defined himself and his contributions within three lenses of analysis: applied research, action research, and group communication were his major offerings to the field of communication.

Birkman authored two books: True Colors (1995) and A Man of Understanding (2002). He was certified as a Licensed Psychologist in the State of Texas and was a member of the American Psychological Association, the Southwestern Psychological Association, Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, and the Texas Psychological Association.

He died in his sleep on March 26, 2014, at the age of 95. [3] [4]

The Birkman Method

The Birkman Method is an online personality, social perception, and occupational interest assessment consisting of ten scales describing occupational preferences (Interests), 11 scales describing “effective behaviors” (Usual behaviors) and 11 scales describing interpersonal and environmental expectations (Needs or Expectations). A corresponding set of 11 scale values was derived to describe "less than effective" behaviors (Stress behaviors). Occupational profiling consists of 22 job families with more than 200 corresponding job titles all connected to O*Net.

The construction and comparative analysis of the Birkman Method is designed to provide insight into what specifically drives a person's behavior, with the goal of creating greater choice and more self-responsibility. It attempts to measure social behaviors, underlying expectations of interpersonal and task actions, potential stress reactions to unmet expectations, occupational preferences and organizational strengths. It is empirically supported by reliability and validity studies, including studies using classical test theory (CTT) and item response theory (IRT). The Birkman Method has 3 different types of assessments available. [5] [ non-primary source needed ]

Classical test theory (CTT) is a body of related psychometric theory that predicts outcomes of psychological testing such as the difficulty of items or the ability of test-takers. It is a theory of testing based on the idea that a person’s observed or obtained score on a test is the sum of a true score and an error score. Generally speaking, the aim of classical test theory is to understand and improve the reliability of psychological tests.

In psychometrics, item response theory (IRT) is a paradigm for the design, analysis, and scoring of tests, questionnaires, and similar instruments measuring abilities, attitudes, or other variables. It is a theory of testing based on the relationship between individuals' performances on a test item and the test takers' levels of performance on an overall measure of the ability that item was designed to measure. Several different statistical models are used to represent both item and test taker characteristics. Unlike simpler alternatives for creating scales and evaluating questionnaire responses, it does not assume that each item is equally difficult. This distinguishes IRT from, for instance, Likert scaling, in which "All items are assumed to be replications of each other or in other words items are considered to be parallel instruments" (p. 197). By contrast, item response theory treats the difficulty of each item as information to be incorporated in scaling items.

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  1. Birkman, Roger (June 11, 1961). "Development of a Personality Test Using Social and Self-perception Inventories". University of Texas at Austin. Retrieved June 11, 2019 via Google Books.
  2. "Who is Birkman?". Birkman International. Birkman International. Retrieved October 5, 2013.
  4. Mention of Roger Birkman's death, Birkman International
  5. "Birkman Method - Personality Test". Birkman Method. Retrieved 2016-04-19.