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CPP Levels of Work and Rated Job Complexity

We set out to answer the question: "Do CPP Levels of Work assignments match the HR/CCM rated Levels of Work for existing job incumbents?"

Paul Barrett

on 7 April 2017

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Transcript of CPP Levels of Work and Rated Job Complexity

Rated Job Complexity and Cognadev's CPP Levels of Work
Paul Barrett & Maretha Prinsloo
In a recent Cognadev Technical Report
, we investigated the relationship between Stratified Systems Theory (SST) Levels of Work for actual organizational job-roles, and the SST levels assessed from the job-incumbents' performance on Cognadev’s Cognitive Process Profile (CPP).
Elliott Jaques' Levels of Work
Adapted from Figure 1 of: Jaques, E., Bygrave, C., & Lee, N. (2001).
Aligning multiple time horizons and multiple functions in strategic planning and budgeting.

International Journal of Organizational Analysis
, 9, 3, 257-271.
Stafford Beer's Viable Systems Model
System 1
contains several primary activities. Basic functionality.

System 2
represents the information channels and bodies that System 1 to function and System 3 to monitor.

System 3
represents the big picture view of the processes inside of System 1.

System 4
responsible for looking outwards to the environment to monitor how the organization needs to adapt to remain viable.

System 5
is responsible for policy decisions within the organization as a whole.
An integration of CPP, Jaques and Beer
The Study Aim
To investigate the relationship between CPP-identified current and potential levels of work and CCM & HR-rated levels of work using incumbent employees in specific job roles.
In the four samples analyzed as part of this study, employees from the mining, manufacturing and retail industries from 3 organizations were included.

A large number of roles were involved which primarily spanned Pure Operational to Parallel Processing work-complexity.

A fair proportion of the roles from the manufacturing and mining industries in particular represent managerial and executive functioning.

A total of
cases comprised the aggregate sample, although each constituent sample was analysed separately because results did show some organizational specificity,
possibly as a result of the differing use of the formal CCM job analysis estimation vs subjective assignment of the job SST level
The Samples
We are attempting to show that the CPP is effective in providing important information about a test-taker's current and potential Level of Work.

That information can be very useful for personal and leadership development strategies within organizations.

Level of Work
In the aggregate data sample, the correlation between the CCM/HR and CPP Current Level of Work SST assignments is
, with constituent sample values ranging between

Level of Work
For the CPP Potential level of work, the aggregate sample correlation was
, with constituent sample values ranging between

The CPP report indicates a person’s
work environment, where they may be most productive, comfortable and in flow with the job requirements.
As the Level of Work data are ordered-classes {1...5}, we used Goodman-Kruskal gamma correlations
Classification Accuracy

In the next two slides we show how well the CPP Current Levels of Work assignments
match the Current Levels of Work ratings by HR using personal judgements or the CCM.
First we show the range of the observed classification accuracies where exact-matches between Levels of Work are indexed.

Then we answer the question:
"if the CPP was only allocating Levels of Work at random
(i.e. it was a totally inaccurate assessment)

what classification accuracy would we then expect to observe?"

CPP Classification Accuracy

An example classification table using Sample 2 data (Table 10, p. 9, in Technical Report #8)
Gamma correlation is
Classification accuracy is

Random CPP LOW Classifications

Here, we create data where we now randomly allocate the CPP current Levels of Work (LOW) across each CCM rated level, retaining the same proportion of cases we observed at each CCM level.

This simulates what the frequencies of CPP Levels of Work might look like if the test was so inaccurate that it was producing LOW 'scores' which were, for all intents and purposes, entirely random .
Classification accuracy is now just
instead of
Given the fact that many job-role levels were
assigned by a single HR executive rather than using the more-formal CCM Levels of Work assignments, the results nevertheless indicate
a meaningful overlap
between SST job levels and the CPP Levels of Work assignments.
Stratified Systems Models
Elliott Jaques SST:
uses “timeframe” as the key indicator of complexity within hierarchical organisational structures.
Stafford Beer's Viable Systems Model (VSM):
based on cybernetic principles. It refers to the organisational structure of autonomous systems capable of reproducing themselves to be viable in changing environments.
Maretha Prinsloo's CPP Level of Complexity:
Focuses on the complexity preferences and capabilities of people.
Complexity is measured in terms of:

unit of information

stylistic preference

judgement capability, and

job-related tendencies and preferences including specialist
generalist focus; short
long term feedback, tangible
intangible information; structured
unstructured contexts.
Complexity in the CPP
Cognadev's CCM
The CCM is an online job analysis questionnaire which is used to evaluate the SST level of a position, its cognitive and broader competency requirements and the degree to which a person or team matches certain work-related competency requirements.
CPP and SST Levels of Work
The complexity measured at
Level 4 CPP
is sufficient for effective functioning at levels 4 and 5 of the SST.

CPP level 5
complexity will enable effective cognitive functioning in SST levels 5, 6 and 7.

CPP complexity is applicable within a variety of organisational structures including: hierarchical, holarchic, flat, matrix and circle structures.
Full transcript