Thesis Title

Defining Subject Matter Expertise in Job Analysis

Date of Graduation

Summer 1996


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Robert Jones

Subject Categories



This paper seeks to define subject matter expertise in job analysis settings as the ability to differentiate between unique performance dimensions that comprise the target job. Past research and practice has failed to identify meaningful differences between incumbent groups when subject matter expertise is operationally defined in terms of high (v.s. low) job performance and long (vs. short) tenure. This thesis proposes that differences can be identified between these groups by looking at differences in the patterns of correlations between dimensions. Job analysis data was collected from 17 fleet managers and the fleet manager supervisor in a mid-West based trucking company. The matrix questionnaire that was administered was designed to tap the relationships between performance dimensions. Few differences were found between high and low groups when standard importance and agreement indices were used. However, experts and non-experts displayed significant differences concerning how they differentiated the performance dimensions. Comparison of the correlation matrices seems to have been a profitable endeavor in the quest for group differences in subject matter expertise, as defined here. Overall, the results also indicate that performance is a better measure of expertise than tenure, thus supporting this traditional distinction.


© Edward T Babor