Cultivating better leadership with Texl - a free, scientific evidence-based 360-degree assessment platform

Frustrated by the multitude of scientifically invalid assessments flooding the market, a group of scientists from KLU (Kühne Logistics University), the University of Exeter, INSEAD, Duke University, the University of Michigan, and the Rotterdam School of Management, among others, have taken the issue into their own hands and have developed their own free, evidence-based 360-degree assessment platform.

Available to anyone, anywhere, at anytime, allows individuals and organizations to create scientifically valid surveys in less than five minutes. In drag-and-drop fashion, survey creators can choose from an ever-growing list of 50 validated scales, measuring aspects ranging from team conflict to personal initiative and transformational leadership.

Scientific standards - easily accessible

“The point of science is to develop knowledge that ultimately is to the benefit of society. Unfortunately, we are not always great in translating our knowledge so that it is usable for practitioners out there. With Texl we’re changing that,” explains Professor Niels Van Quaquebeke, KLU’s Head of Department of Leadership and Management as well as Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Exeter and co-lead of the project. “With the ease of our tool, we’re trying to lower the hurdle, and as such, may also appeal to SMEs and universities which otherwise don’t have the headspace or financial resources for such assessment tools. But the tool not only takes out the headache, it also adds scientific rigor to the currently somewhat Wild-West employee and leadership assessment space.”

The platform, which is General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)-compliant and employs two-factor authentication, features real time analysis of survey responses and comparison of data across multiple parameters.

Survey participants can quickly and easily get insights on how others perceive them or compare differences between departments in their organizations or classes in universities. Based on feedback that is collated into interactive, visually appealing panels, participants can even compare themselves against peers globally or set up their own individual lifelong learning journey.

New challenges for managers

“We support societal change by enabling individuals at all levels and in all fields to further their own leadership, allowing them to develop and lead more responsibly,” says University of Exeter Research Fellow Dr. Michelle Mahdon, who, co-leads the project with Van Quaquebeke, along with colleague Professor Alexandra Gerbasi.

“This is especially important given the pressing leadership challenges we face today. The climate crisis, increased integration with technology such as AI, and a declining sense of community amongst employees, to name just a few - there are bigger pictures around why we need to give leaders better resources to develop their own potential but also that of those around them, all while nurturing a healthy and decent workplace culture.”

“Just a couple of weeks after launch, we already have more than 1,000 users. We're getting massively good feedback,” says Van Quaquebeke. “Users recognize how the platform empowers them and appreciate the evidence-based approach of the involved universities. Finally, users have an easy way out of that horoscope reading offered by many of the scientifically unfounded assessment tools out there.”

Professor Alexandra Gerbasi, Pro-Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy and part of the TEXL project team, adds: “This is an exciting project for the University of Exeter for many reasons, not least as a great example of contributing to our aims of knowledge exchange and making academic rigor and insights more accessible to the wider community.”

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