Over the past 50 years, the assessment center has evolved into a tool used for making selection and job placement decisions, as well as for identifying development areas among incumbents to promote skill and competency development where gaps exist. The present study examined the latter, that of development centers, to address potential gender differences in performance on a variety of exercise and competency areas within a development center context. Research efforts were also directed toward the exercises and competencies themselves and the relationships between them. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate exercise-competency relationships, while t-tests were conducted to investigate potential gender differences in performance. Results revealed that women significantly outperformed men in the development center, aligning with findings of previous research on this topic. Specifically, women outperformed men on exercises and competencies that were relationship-oriented in nature, thus aligning with gender-based stereotypes that exist about women. Results also revealed that role play exercises made the strongest unique contribution to explaining performance in the development center, followed by presentation and leaderless group discussion exercises, respectively. Role play exercises were most significantly related to competencies with a relationship-oriented nature, while presentation exercises were most significantly related to competencies with a task- and analytical-oriented nature. Despite the lack of generalizability of these findings, the present study still contributes to existing literature regarding gender and performance within a development center context, as well as exercise-competency relationships. Future research might investigate how certain personality attributes, cognitive ability, or job performance is related to performance within a development and/or assessment center context.


Andrea Lassiter

Committee Member

Daniel Sachau

Committee Member

Kathleen Dale

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)




Social and Behavioral Sciences

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License



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