Belbin Reliability and Validity

Reliability and validity are concepts commonly used in evaluating psychometric tests.

  • Reliability is a measure of the internal consistency of a test
  • Validity is concerned with the strength of the conclusions and inferences drawn

The Belbin TRSPI does not have psychometric properties (it measures behaviour rather than personality), so some of the tools are applied differently.

Is Belbin reliable?

Yes. Belbin reliability is good across all nine Team Roles.

Internal consistency is highest where test items are repeated, but this narrows the focus of the test overall. Rather than repeating questions, or introducing items which are virtually identical, our algorithm seeks for clusters of related behaviour. For example, the Shaper cluster refers to an individual who is challenging, competitive, hard driving, tough and outspoken. However, that does not mean to say that everyone who is competitive will necessarily be outspoken.

Does Belbin have validity?

Yes. A series of independent, peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated that Belbin has good convergent, discriminant and concordant validity. Please see the review document below for more information.

Most psychometric tests rely on self-reporting. However, the behaviours identified may not correspond with what others observe. The strength of the our algorithm rests in its emphasis on construct validity: using multiple sources of evidence (the Self-Perception and Observer Assessments) to draw a conclusion. The system’s outputs are designed to take account of the degree of consensus on observed behaviour. Disparities between self-analysis and the perceptions of others can provide valuable leads for action. Formal correlations are, however, difficult to calculate, as those providing feedback are not required to make a fixed number of responses. This is because genuine responses are more easily obtained – and more valuable – when forced choices are avoided.

Remember that the self- and Observer Assessments feature several different behavioural traits for each Team Role. This is not the case in a psychometric test, where single personality traits are measured. To be a good example of a particular Team Role, an individual would have to demonstrate the cluster of positive traits for that role.


The History of Belbin Team Roles

A unique study of teams took place at the Administrative Staff College at Henley (now known as the Henley Business School) which ran an internationally famous 10-week course for successful managers with board potential. To read more about how each of the Team Roles were identified, please click here.

Dr Meredith Belbin

Dr Meredith Belbin originally identified the Team Roles as part of a unique study of teams that took place at Henley Business School which included a business simulation game. In 1969, Dr Belbin was invited to use this business game as a starting point for a study of team behaviour. More for information about Dr Meredith Belbin, please click here.



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