Friday 21 October 2016

Continuing to explore The Dark Side

I am always interested in the theoretical underpinnings of the tools I use, so have been reading up on the Hogan Development Survey instrument.  I have blogged about this tool a few times already (see the tag Hogan for the other posts).

So, where do the scales used by Hogan come from? The HDS Manual states that each scale is designed to describe various personality disorders as they may manifest in working adults:

Excitable - borderline
Sceptical - paranoid
Cautious - avoidant
Reserved - schizoid
Leisurely - passive aggressive
Bold - narcissistic
Mischievous - antisocial
Colourful - histrionic
Imaginative - schizotypal
Diligent - obsessive compulsive 
Dutiful - dependent

I recognise that it may not always be helpful to make that explicit when working with the tool: if my feedback had started with: you have a high risk of displaying Schizoid, Schizotypal and Histrionic behaviours, it might have been a bit of a distraction from the learning...  

Moreover, I think it would have been inaccurate; for what the Hogan tool is doing, if I am correct, is exploring how these tendencies might manifest in healthy functional people under stress (or when over-relaxed) and not at the extremes suggested by the label 'personality disorder.'

I find it helpful to know the link, however; and not least because the Hogan labels are not always perfect: Leisurely has quite different connotations for me than the passive aggressive meaning implicit in the Hogan scale. The Hogan sub-scales are helpful here, of course: the sub-scales for Leisurely are Passive Aggressive, Unappreciated and Irritated. 

One other thing I noticed with interest is that the way the Hogan groups these is different from the way the NHS does:

I do not think that is problematic, as they are focusing on different issues, in their groupings; and, as already mentioned, the HDS is meant to be (I think) the non-pathological manifestations of the traits (‘working adults’), rather than the more extreme manifestations implied by ‘personality disorders’ in the NHS categorisation.

But it is interesting - not least to me; my high scores for Reserved and Imaginative (Schizoid and Schizotypal) now sit together in Cluster A, Odd; it is now Colourful (Histrionic) that is the outlier, in Cluster B, Dramatic… Food for thought.

Incidentally (and perhaps manifesting some of my tendency to go off on tangents that may leave people behind) Stoppard's Dark Side is a great radio play....

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