Personality Fit with a team and organisation is importantThe California Psychological Inventory (CPI) is a psychometric assessment which was developed in America has been studied extensively and around for decades.

The CPI was developed by Harrison Gough Ph.d. and its purpose was to provide the interpreter a true to life and useful picture of the person taking the test. 

The results should be recognisable by friends and others, who know the individual and they should be able to predict future behaviour. Read more about the test construction of the CPI test construction of the CPI

The CPI has been revised several times to keep up to date and requires a high level of experience and qualifications to interpret competently, due to its complexity.  As a restricted tool it is only available to those with advanced psychological training such as the Registered Psychologists at Niche.

At the same time the language used in the interpretations and manual are both cross-culturally significant and should be intuitively easy to understand for psychologists and non-psychologists.

Some of the key advantages of the CPI over other personality assessments is that:

  1. It is designed to give a measure of the way others would describe them, not how they would describe themselvesThe CPI has several advantages over other personality tools
  2. It has low “face validity” meaning, it is harder to “fake” than most personality assessments
  3. If it is “faked” then the individual is asked to re-sit the questionnaire and be more candid in their responding - read more about faking faking personality assessments
  4. It is a normative measure of personality, not ipsative - read more about the problems with ipsative tests ipsative personality tests
  5. It has a measure of a person’s realisation or satisfaction with their life situation which can impact on their behaviour and motivation at work and home
  6. While normative it has a True/False questionnaire format, meaning it is not possible to take the middle answer to hide one’s preferences
  7. We have developed extensive NZ norms for this tools broken into different occupational groups and levels
  8. The individual’s results are shown graphically against both a general population norm and an appropriate business norm
  9. The asssessment can be completed by candidates in several different languages including English, French and Danish.

Californian Psychological Inventory (CPI 434) Overview

  • 434 true/false items
  • Untimed and takes approximately 45-60 minutes to complete
  • 20 Primary scales
  • 3 Folk scales
  • 7 Special scales
  • Measures of “fake good”, “fake bad” and internal consistency
  • Provides a very in-depth and robust picture of the individual’s preferences
  • The profile needs to be interpreted as a whole due to the scales having some overlap and impact on each others interpretations

CPI Graph

Californian Psychological Inventory (CPI 260) Overview

  • 260 true/false items Coaching Report for Leaders
  • Untimed and takes approximately 30-40 minutes to complete
  • 20 Primary scales
  • 3 Folk scales
  • 6 Special scales
  • Measures of “fake good” and internal consistency
  • This shorter version of the California Psychological Inventory 434, measuring the same scales, though it does have some limitations compared to the original version
  • This version has a coaching report for leaders available which can be a useful development tool - Click here to go to a page where you can buy the CPI260 Assessment with Coaching Report Leaders for personal development

CPI434 Scale Descriptions




Unassuming, not forceful, not likely to take charge


Confident, assertive, dominant, task-oriented

Unsure of self, dislikes direct competition and may be laid back but could avoid major responsibilities

Capacity for Status

Ambitious, wants to succeed and attain symbols of power and success

Shy, feels uneasy in social situations, prefers keeping in the background


Sociable, likes to be with people, friendly

Hesitant to assert own views or opinions; cautious in social situations and keeps low profile

Social Presence

Self-assured, spontaneous; a good talker; not easily embarrassed in large social situations and often energetic

Self-doubting, readily assumes blame when things go wrong; often thinks others are better than them

Self Acceptance

Has good opinion of self; sees self as talented, and as personally worthy

Lacks self-confidence, seeks support from others and may lack initiative


Self-sufficient, goal focused, resourceful,  but possibly more detached

Ill at ease in many people situations, possibly withdrawn or less empathic


Comfortable with self and well accepted by others; understands the feelings of others and can build rapport/warmth easily

Not overly concerned about duties and obligations, may have other priorities or possibly may be careless or lazy with very low scores


Responsible, reliable, takes duties seriously

Resists rules and regulations; finds it hard to conform; not conventional and may challenge. May be opinionated and outspoken


Comfortably accepts ordinary rules and regulations; finds it easy to conform

Has strong feelings and emotions, and may make little attempt to hide them; speaks out when angry or annoyed; may bore with detail

Self Control

Tries to control emotions and temper; takes pride in being self-disciplined and can attend to detail

Insists on being themselves and telling it how it is, even if that causes friction or problems

Good Impression

Wants to make a good impression; tries to do what will please others; may be conflict averse

Sees self as different from others; does not have the same ideas, preferences etc. as others

Cm: Communality

Fits in easily; sees self as quite an average person

Concerned about health and personal problems; worried about the future


Feels good in physical and emotional health; optimistic about the future

Not tolerant of others; sceptical about what they say and more wary


Is tolerant of others’ beliefs and values, even when different from or counter to own beliefs

Has difficulty in doing best work in situations with strict rules and expectations. May resist conforming to the organisation

Ac: Achievement via Conformance

Has strong drive to do well; likes to work in setting where tasks and expectations are clearly defined

Has difficulty in doing best in situations which are vague, poorly defined and lacking in clear-cut methods and standards

Ai: Achievement via Independence

Has strong drive to do well; likes to work in settings that encourage freedom, individual initiative and decision making

More practical and hands on; May have difficulty getting started on things, and seeing them through to completion or in efficient time management

Ie: Intellectual Efficiency

Efficient in their use of intellectual abilities; can keep on task where others might get bored or discouraged; May be strategic or conceptually oriented

More interested in the practical and concrete than abstract; look more at what people do than what they feel or think

Py: Psychological Mindedness

More interested in why people do what they do, than in what they do; good judge of how people feel and what they think; more perceptive

Not changeable; likes a steady pace and well-organised life; want to control change; very low scores may be stubborn or a little rigid


Flexible; likes change and variety; easily bored by routine and everyday experience; may be impatient, and even erratic with very high scores

Decisive, action-oriented; takes the initiative; not easily subdued; rather unsentimental and may be impatient with others

Femininity / Masculinity

Sympathetic, helpful; sensitive to criticism; tends to interpret events from a personal point of view; may feel vulnerable and may be conflict averse

6 Special Scales

Not very ambitious, may be erratic in decision-making, puts own interests first, reacts defensively to criticism

Managerial Potential

Deals effectively with people, shares credit with others, good at explaining decisions, has good judgment

Restless, distractible, often careless, not a steady worker, has fluctuating moods

Work Orientation

Reliable worker, readily accepts subordinate roles, not self-seeking, has modest aspirations, seldom complains

Prudent, avoids risk, prefers the traditional ways of doing things, dependable at work

Creative Temperament

Likes what is new and different, thinks in unconventional ways, likes to think “outside the box,” has a rapid personal tempo

Avoids positions of leadership, low in persistence, doubts own competence, has trouble dealing with stress

Leadership Potential

Has good leadership skills, likes to take positions of leadership, deals effectively with stress and pressure, forceful and self-assured

Impatient, not tactful, questions the motives of others, easily annoyed, not a team worker


Cooperative, appreciative of others, not assertive or aggressive, tries hard to get along well with co-workers,
not self-seeking or self-promoting

Sees law enforcement practices as too strict and severe, likes to take chances, tends to be nonconforming, somewhat pessimistic and

Law Enforcement Orientation

Supports firm and strict law enforcement practices, well-suited for work in the law enforcement field, evaluates problems from a practical and commonsense standpoint

We have other assessment tools in the following categories:



















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