The Position Analysis Questionnaire is one of the most widely used means of job analysis. It is a structured job analysis questionnaire that quantitatively measures job characteristics and correlates them with human traits.
It was developed at Purdue University by McCormick et al in 1972. The PAQ is concluded “in house” by the HR personnel or managers who are trained in administering and evaluating PAQs. It is widely used by HR departments as well as for Individual psychological assessment and Industrial Psychology.
The PAQ contains “job elements” or items which are 194 in number. The questionnaire defines roles and responsibilities associated with a position and further aids in determining the essential functions of a position, how appropriate is the position classification, if a particular position can be exempted from overtime and so on.
The 194 elements of PAQ are further classified into 6 divisions as under:
• Information Input
• Mental Processes
• Work Output
• Relationship with other persons
• Job context
• Job related variables
All the job elements are rated on 6 scales which are: importance, applicability, possibility of occurrence, extent of use, time, and some predetermined special codes for specific jobs.
The purpose of PAQ is to develop an ‘internal equity’ for the compensation offered in the organisation. PAQ scores are used for performance appraisal, job evaluation, devising compensation plans, training-need analysis, job design, counselling and development of assessment centres. It also plays a pivotal role in selection of right candidates for particular jobs.
There were previous versions of PAQ which had fewer elements as well. The PAQc, developed in 1989, had only 187 job elements which described employee behaviour. The most recent is the 2005 version, called ‘enhanced’ PAQ or PAQe, which contains a total of 300 elements. Modifications include important additions like stress-related job elements, and educational requirements.
Over 30 years of research has resulted in collection of PAQ data for thousands of jobs. This comprehensive database is maintained by the Purdue University.
It has gained popularity because of its effectiveness, as well as being inexpensive and less time consuming. It can be administered with a minimum level of training of supervisors/managers. However, the minimum reading requirement of PAQ is at college-graduate level.