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Peter Saville (born 26 October 1946) is a British Chartered Occupational Psychologist involved in Talent Management who is well known for his work in psychometrics.[1]

He earned his Ph.D. from research into personality structure.[2]

Saville created the original Occupational Personality Questionnaires [OPQ] in 1984, and was responsible for the British Standardisation of the 16 Personality Factor questionnaire in the early 1970s[2] - lavishly praised by the author, Professor R. B. Cattell.[3]

He is the chairman of the Saville Consulting Group.

Early lifeEdit

Saville was born in London, UK. As a child he was diagnosed as dyslexic with a short term memory problem, later attributed to having been swung by the neck as a baby as treatment for pseudo-scoliosis, a curvature of the spine.[4]

He obtained an Honours Degree in Psychology from Leicester University, followed by a Master of Philosophy Degree in 1974 and a Doctorate in 1977 from Brunel University, researching ability and personality structure. His PhD was examined by Professor Hans Eysenck.


He joined the National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER), the main publisher of psychometric tests at the time, as an assistant psychologist, adapting and standardising a wide range of psychological tests. At the age of 27 he was promoted to Chief Psychologist in the Test Division, responsible for the standardisation of psychological and educational tests for clinical, educational and industrial use.[5] In 1977 he teamed up with Roger Holdsworth to found Saville and Holdsworth Limited (SHL) - a company they took from £100 to full flotation and the London Stock Exchange. It was subsequently subject to a buyout which was backed by HG Capital, who in turn sold it to CEB, making the brand worth over half a billion US$. In 1984, Saville et al.[6] published the Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ®). Developed for use in workplace settings, the original OPQ® contained four different versions, allowing users the choice at what level of detail to work with. The Pentagon model, for example, measured five scales and was possibly the first dedicated measure of the Big Five factors of personality, pre-dating Costa and McCrae’s NEO-PI-R by a year. The Octagon, Factor and Concept versions of the OPQ® measured respectively 8, 16 and 30 scales.

In 1998 Saville was listed by Enterprise Magazine as one of the UK's Top Entrepreneurs and in 2001 as one of Britain's Top Ten Psychologists,[7] the only Industrial Psychologist included. That same year his photograph hung in London's National Portrait Gallery after he was presented with the British Psychological Society Centenary Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Psychology. His citation reads: "Ultimately the standardisation of questionnaires not specifically designed for an occupational arena made him frustrated and in 1977 led him set up his own company, which subsequently became SHL Group plc, with fellow Psychologist Roger Holdsworth. In doing so he has established Britain as a centre for Psychometric testing and is responsible for cementing the notion of fair and objective assessment in Human Resource departments across the world. As a skilled psychometrician and visionary leader, Peter Saville has made a significant impact on professional psychology in the UK and beyond. The widespread use of the tests which he developed by many major companies and public bodies is testament to the influence of his remarkable ideas".[8] In 2003, after 26 years, Saville parted company with SHL following an acrimonious EGM. The company had crashed in share price. Saville, Holdsworth and David Arkless, Senior Vice President of Manpower, challenged the board over a number of issues – including how the company was being run.[9] It was a traumatic time. Saville was legally barred from speaking to friends and colleagues and in one interview he is described as having been "ill, grossly overweight and sluggish."[4] In fact since the mid-1990s he had been suffering from a medical condition – a benign pituitary tumour - wrongly diagnosed as depression. He had also incurred injuries to the neck from rugby and football injuries. Four weeks after Saville's removal by the SHL board, he was asked back as President but refused, opting instead to start his new company, Saville Consulting. In 2006 SHL was delisted from the London Stock Exchange.[10] following a management buy-out by HG Capital.[11]

Today, Saville is reportedly a picture of health and still an active sportsman, playing tennis and golf. He lives in Surrey, and works from his office in Esher, where he co-ordinates the international arm of Saville Consulting ( developing and promoting his Saville Consulting Wave Questionnaires®, his other psychometric tools and talent management consultancy operations in 80 countries. SHL attempted to stop Saville from using his name for his new company.[12][13]

He has been a specialist consultant to the United Nations in staff selection, spoken at over 40 International Conferences and featured on a number of TV and radio programmes, more recently on BBC Breakfast Business News when he was interviewed about leadership.[14] In 2012 an interview was published describing him as one of the most influential leaders from the world of testing.[15] He was International Consultant Psychologist to Mensa, where he succeeded Professor P E Vernon, and Psychometric Test Consultant to Hodder and Stoughton Educational. He has also worked for many FTSE 100 companies, the Ministry of Defence and charities such as Oxfam and the Royal National Institute for the Blind.

Saville is a Chartered Psychologist, a Chartered Scientist, was made a Fellow of the Institute of Directors in October 2012, is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine and also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In January 2012 he was given Academic Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development [16] and on 15 June 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Honorary Fellowship of the British Psychological Society.[17] The award, which recognises excellence in psychology, has been established for 100 years, and early recipients include Carl Jung, Frederic Skinner, Robert Harlow, Jean Piaget and Noam Chomsky and is currently held by only some 35 psychologists worldwide. Professor Saville’s services to the field of psychology in terms of applying the science to the workplace and creating the global gold standard for psychometric tests are exemplary and worthy of recognition. He is held in the highest esteem by academics worldwide and acknowledged as a major leader in the field of occupational psychology.[17]

He was professor of occupational psychology at Queen's University from 1991 to 1997, and is currently visiting professor of talent management at Kingston Business School, London.

Personal detailsEdit

Outside of work Saville's interests include sport, military history and music. He has three children from his first marriage to Jane (William David Saville, born 30/8/75; Frances Jane Saville, born 17/5/77; Christopher Sean Saville, born 18/7/84), and twins Faye and Jack (born 21 October 2009) with his second wife Jemaine. He and his wife are Patrons of The Willow Foundation.[]

Selected works and speechesEdit

  • Saville, P. (1971). British Supplement to the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. The Psychological Corporation: London.
  • Saville, P. (1972). The National Adult Standardisation of 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). NFER: London.
  • Saville, P. & Blinkhorn, S. (1976). Undergraduate Personality by Factored Scales. NFER: London.
  • Saville, P. & Blinkhorn, S. (1981). Reliability, homogeneity and the construct validity of Cattell's 16 Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF). Personality and Individual Differences, 2, 325-333.
  • Saville, P., Holdsworth, R., Nyfield, G., Cramp, L. & Mabey, W. (1984). The Occupational Personality Questionnaire (OPQ). SHL: London.
  • Saville, P. & Wilson, E. (1991). The reliability and validity of normative and ipsative approaches in the measurement of personality. Journal of Occupational Psychology, 64, 219-238.
  • Saville, P. & Sik, G. (1991). Ipsative scaling: A comedy of measures, as you Likert or much ado about nothing? Guidance and Assessment Review, 7(3), 1-4.
  • Saville, P. (2004). Childhood Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Facial Pain and Fibromyalgia. Dysfunctional Growth Hormone and Dopamine Regulation? The Procrustes Foundation.
  • MacIver, R., Saville, P., Kurz, R., Mitchener, A., Mariscal, K., Parry, G., Becker, S., Saville, W., O'Connor, K., Patterson R., Oxley, H. (2006). Making Waves: Saville Consulting Wave Styles questionnaires. Selection and Development Review, 22(2), 17-23.
  • Saville, P. (Nov. 2006) Transforming Assessment and Talent Management. Keynote Speech in Paris, France.
  • Saville, P. (2006) Beyond the OPQ? Keynote Speech at Assoc. of Business Psychologists, Cambridge, UK.
  • Saville, P., Kurz, R., MacIver, R., Mitchener, A., Parry, G., Oxley, H., Archer, J., Lishman, J., Mason, J. & Roscorla, P. (2007). Validation of the Saville Consulting Analysis Aptitude Assessment Range. Paper presented at the BPS Occupational Psychology Conference, Bristol, UK.
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R. & Kurz, R. (2007). Internet Testing – Secure and Honest? Poster at the BPS Occupational Psychology Conference, Bristol, UK.
  • Saville, P. Kurz, R, MacIver, R., Parry, G., Mariscal, K., Mitchener, A. Oxley, H., Small, C., Sisodia, S., Miller, S. & Fullman, C. (2007). Predicting Work Competencies, Proficiency and Potential for Promotion with Saville Consulting Wave Questionnaires. Poster at the EAWOP Conference, Stockholm.
  • Kurz, R., MacIver, R., Saville, P., Parry, G., Oxley, H., Mariscal, K., Staddon, H., Hopton, T., Small, C. & Feindt, S. (2007). Construct Validation of the Saville Consulting Wave ® Types Model of Leadership Potential. Paper presented at the BPS Coaching Psychology Conference, London.
  • Kurz, R., Saville, P., & MacIver R. (2008). Coaching using Saville Consulting Wave. In: Passmore. J. (Ed): Psychometrics in Coaching. Kogan Page, London
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R., Kurz, R. & Hopton, T. (2008). Project Epsom: How Valid is Your Questionnaire? Phase 1: A new comparative study of the major personality questionnaires in predicting job performance.
  • McDowall, A., Kurz, R., MacIver, R. & Saville, P. (2008). A rejoinder to David Bartram, October, 2008. The Coaching Psychologist, 4(3), 142-149.
  • Oxley, H., Kurz, R., MacIver, R., Saville, P., Jayne, S. & Small, C. (2008). Performance and Potential… A Potential Paradox? Paper at the BPS DOP Conference, Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK.
  • Kurz, R., MacIver, R., Saville, P., Oxley, H. & Roscorla, P. (2008). Practical Policy Considerations on Internet Test Security and Score Interpretation – Cheating Candidates or Candidates that Cheat? Paper at the BPS DOP Conference, Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK.
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R. & Kurz, R. (2008). Free Choice or Forced Choice? Your Choice. Paper at the International Test Commission Conference, Liverpool, UK.
  • Saville, P. (2008). Measurement of Leadership : The X Factor (and the Y). Keynote Speech at A & DC Conference, London, UK.
  • Saville, P. (Jan 2009) Leadership in Elite Performance. Keynote Speech at Metro Conference, New York, USA.
  • Saville, P. and Hopton, T. (2009). "Talent": Psychologists Personality Test Elite People. Saville Consulting Group: Jersey.[16]
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R. & Kurz, R. (2009). Saville Consulting Wave® Professional Styles Handbook. Saville Consulting Group, Jersey.
  • Kurz, R., MacIver, R. & Saville, P. (2009). Measurement, Prediction and Development of Behaviour, Ability & Global Aspects of Work Effectiveness. 2nd European Coaching Psychology Conference, 15 December 2009, London.
  • Kurz, R., Saville, P., MacIver, R., Mitchener, A., Parry, G., Oxley, H., Mariscal, K., Staddon, H. & Hopton, T. (2009). ‘Matched Model’ Co-Validation of Three Swift Aptitude Assessments within the Saville Consulting Wave ® Performance Culture Framework. Paper presented at the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology Conference (DOP), Blackpool, UK.
  • Kurz, R., Saville, P., MacIver, R. & Oxley, H. (2009). A is for Ability: The Validity of Three Swift Aptitude Assessments against the Matched Ability Criterion Model in the Saville Consulting Wave ® Performance Culture Framework. Paper at the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology (EAWOP) Congress, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, May 2009.
  • Kurz, R., Saville, P., MacIver, R., Parry, G., Mitchener, A., Oxley, H., Small, C., Herridge, K., Hopton, T., Gohil, S., Chan, S., Tonks, R. & Rojon, C. (2009). The structure of work effectiveness as measured through the Saville Consulting Wave® Performance 360 ‘B-A-G’ Model of Behaviour, Ability and Global Performance. BPS PTC Assessment & Development Matters, Volume 1, Edition 1.
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R., Kurz, R., Hopton, T., Staddon, H., Mitchener, A., Tonks, K., Schmidt, G., Schmidt, S. & Saville, J. (2009). A Step Towards Validity Generalisation Across Self-Report Personality Questionnaires: A Co-Validation of Saville Consulting Wave Professional Styles, Wave Focus Styles, Saville PQ, OPQ32i, NEO-PI-R, Hogan Personality Inventory and 16PF5. Paper presented at the BPS Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) Conference, Blackpool, UK.
  • Hopton, T., Kurz, R., MacIver, R. & Saville, P. (2010). Analysis Aptitude Range Handbook. Saville Consulting Group, Jersey.
  • Kurz, R, Saville, P., MacIver, R. & Hopton, T. (2010). Stakeholder perspectives on behaviour, ability and global performance: Evidence for a Three-Factor Model. Paper at the BPS DOP Conference, Brighton, UK.
  • Kurz, R, Saville, P., MacIver, R. & McDowall, A. (2010). Coaching with Saville Consulting Wave: Balancing Dark and Bright Sides. Paper at the BPS Coaching Psychology Congress, London, UK.
  • MacIver, R., Kurz, R, Saville, P. & Hopton,T. (2011). Measuring Effectiveness Potential using Saville Consulting Wave®: Getting it Right. Paper at the BPS DOP Conference, Brighton, UK.
  • Saville, P., MacIver, R., Hopton, T. & Smith, J. (2011). Leadership Handbook. Saville Consulting Group, Jersey.
  • Saville, P. (2011). Personality, Leadership and Organizational Effectiveness. Presentation at ‘The Psychometrics Forum’. London, UK.
  • Saville, P. (2008)Valid Inferences - False Prophecies. BPS Keynote Speech Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, UK.
  • Saville, P. (Aug 2008) Does your Test Work? The Co-Validation against Job Performance of 10 of the most popular Personality Questionnaires - Implications for Psychology. Keynote Speech at SIOPSA 14th Conference South Africa.
  • Saville, P. (May 2010) New Horizons in Psychometric Assessment. Keynote Speech at BPS DOP Divisional Conference Belfast, Ireland.
  • Saville, P. (Sept. 2011) Improving People and Organisation in the Workplace with Saville tools; So can Psychometrics Improve Recruitment Decisions. Keynote Speeches Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Saville, P., Small, C. (Dec. 2011) Personality, Talent Management and Organizational Efficiency. Keynote Speech Beijing China.
  • Saville, P., Small, C.(June 2012) Leadership: What Psychometrics Reveal. Invited Speech Mumbai,India.
  • Saville, P., Small, C. (June 2012) Psychometrics beyond the HR Department. Invited Speech Bengalaru, India.
  • Saville, P., Small, C. (June 2012) Psychometrics for better HR decisions. Invited Speech Delhi, India.
  • Saville, P., Small, C. (June 2013) It's All in your Head,


  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Smith, P. (1994) - "The Standardization of the 16PF5: A Supplement of Norms and Technical Data". Windsor: ASE
  4. 4.0 4.1
  5. See Selected works, 1971 and 1972, above.
  6. Saville, P., Holdsworth, R., Nyfield, G., Cramp, L. & Mabey, W. (1984)
  7. Independent on Sunday, 14 October 2001
  8. The Psychologist, Vol.14 No.2, February 2001, page 100
  15. includeonly>"Great Careers in Testing", 11/4/2012.
  16. People Management.Co.Uk March 2012
  17. 17.0 17.1 The Psychologist August 2012

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