Personality and Values

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CHAPTER 4

Personality

and Values

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, students should be able to:

1. Define personality, describe how it is measured, and explain the factors that determine an individual’s personality. 2. Describe the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality framework and assess its strengths and weaknesses. 3. Identify the key traits in the Big Five personality model. 4. Demonstrate how the Big Five traits predict behavior at work. 5. Identify other personality traits relevant to OB.

6. Define values, demonstrate the importance of values, and contrast terminal and instrumental values. 7. Compare generational differences in values and identify the dominant values in today’s workforce. 8. Identify Hofstede’s five value dimensions of national culture.

Summary and Implications for Managers

Personality - What value, if any, does the Big Five model provide to managers? From the early 1900s through the mid-1980s, researchers sought to find a link between personality and job performance. “The outcome of those 80-plus years of research was that personality and job performance were not meaningfully related across traits or situations.”[i] However, the past 20 years have been more promising, largely due to the findings surrounding the Big Five. Screening candidates for jobs who score high on conscientiousness—as well as the other Big Five traits, depending on the criteria an organization finds most important—should pay dividends. Each of the Big Five traits has numerous implications for important OB criteria. Of course, managers still need to take situational factors into consideration.[ii] Factors such as job demands, the degree of required interaction with others, and the organization’s culture are examples of situational variables that moderate the personality–job performance relationship. You need to evaluate the job, the work group, and the organization to determine the optimal personality fit. Other traits, such as core self-evaluation or narcissism, may be relevant in certain situations, too. Although the MBTI has been widely criticized, it may have a place in organizations. In training and development, it can help employees to better understand themselves and it can help team members to better understand each other. And it can open up communication in work groups and possibly reduce conflicts. Values -Why is it important to know an individual’s values? Values often underlie and explain attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions. So knowledge of an individual’s value system can provide insight into what “makes the person tick.” Employees’ performance and satisfaction are likely to be higher if their values fit well with the organization. For instance, the person who places great importance on imagination, independence, and freedom is likely to be poorly matched with an organization that seeks conformity from its employees. Managers are more likely to appreciate, evaluate positively, and allocate rewards to employees who “fit in,” and employees are more likely to be satisfied if they perceive that they do fit in. This argues for management to strive during the selection of new employees to find job candidates who have not only the ability, experience, and motivation to perform but also a value system that is compatible with the organization’s.

The chapter opens by introducing Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group. He profited to the tune of $7.75 billion when his company went public. His combative style has not hindered his success as Fortune called him the “King of Wall Street.” Using military terms like war and he would rather kill off his rival; Blackstone has thrived under his leadership and has become one of the most profitable and feared investment groups on Wall Street. Schwarzman is not the easiest to work for. One executive was purportedly fired for the sound his nose made when he breathed. He may be a huge success but would...
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