Spekulative Praktiken: Zur Vorgeschichte des Assessment Centers


The article describes the genealogy of the assessment center process. Established in the context of new forms of war and new economic concepts like the human relations-movement the assessment center aimed at predicting, calculating and optimizing behavior under conditions of disturbance. Physical or intellectual performance was not the central category of prediction and optimization so much as competence: the selfdirected capacity to act. The category of competence makes that which itself remains inconceivable, uncertain, and observable only in its performance calculable and operationalizable: volition, self-management, emotional stability, commitment, creativity and spontaneity. The article proposes that the assessment center could be understood as a socioeconomic practice, which is part of a „dramatology of the speculative“ that generates economic knowledge in a somewhat „uneconomic“ way.