Occupational Personality Questionnaire – Factor Model Questionnaires


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Note: This test review was published by BPS in 2003

Description of the Test

The OPQ is actually a whole series of general personality measures specifically designed to be relevant in work settings. The two current Factor versions are reviewed here: FS5.2 has 136 items (eight items per scale plus a social desirability measure) while the FS4.2 has 160 statements arranged in 40 quartets – each quartet containing items from four different scales. They provide measures on 16 scales grouped into four main areas:

1 Relationships with people: Influential, Sociable, Empathic, Outspoken.

2 Thinking style: Traditional, Conceptual, Innovative, Data rational, Methodical.

3 Emotions: Relaxed, Emotionally controlled, Optimistic.

4 Energies: Competitive, Achieving, Active, Decisive.

The original Factor versions of the OPQ were developed between 1981 and 1984, and were based on differing levels of analysis that, in their final form, yielded various factor solutions. The different versions of the original OPQ Factor questionnaires are summarised below. (NB The Octagon and Pentagon versions have now been withdrawn and replaced by IMAGES.)

Version No of Scales Items Format
Factor 3 14 Multiple Choice (Q options)
Factor 5 14 Likert Scale (5 options)
Octagon 2 8 Ipsative, forced choice
Octagon 5 8 Likert scale (5 options)
Pentagon 2 5 Forced Choice
Pentagon 5 5 Likert scale (5 options)

Later, the Factor Model Extended (FMX) was added to the list, based on the 14- factor model but with several scales expanded to increase the number of traits measured to 19. Though there are some variations within the FMX group, the main instrument is the FMX5, which is standardised on a working population.

In 1994 a revised OPQ Factor questionnaire was published. This is based on further factor analysis work and on consideration as to what is most useful to employers. The new OPQ Factor versions differ in terms of the number of scales (now 16), the number of items and the addition of an ipsative format. (Previously, Factor 3 and Factor 5 were available only in normative form.) The 1994 version questionnaires are designated as FS4.2 (ipsative) and FS5.2 (normative). The relationship between the new Factor questionnaires and their ‘old’ counterparts in terms of what is measured is illustrated below.

Comparison of old and new versions of OPQ Factor questionnaires:

Relationships with People FM31FM5

New Versions







Social Confidence






Social Confidence










Thinking Style Conservative

Change oriented



Data rational

Detail Conscious






Authors: P.Saville, R.Holdsworth, G. Nyfield, L. Cramp and W.Mabey

Test Publisher: SHL Group Ltd.

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