In this essay I will be looking at two aspects of personality and the effect that personality traits have on behaviour within organisations. “Personality is the overall profile or combination of traits that characterize the unique nature of a person” (Ray French). This is just one of many definitions for personality, however all definitions linked to trait theory share the same key aspects, that personality consists of internal traits and characteristics that have an effect upon a person’s behaviour. There are thousands of different personality traits that can contribute to making up a person’s personality and influence the way they may act in a given situation. These traits can be broken down into five key dimensions which can then try to explain what sort of personality an individual might have and how they might act in a given situation. ‘The Big Five’ as they are sometimes called are: * Sociability/ extroversion
* Intellectual Openness
I will be looking at two of the big five, extroversion and adjustment in greater depth and looking at how useful these two dimensions are for explaining behaviour in organisations. Certain characteristics can be desirable or undesirable within organisations and therefore organisations may look to recruit people with certain personality traits in order to improve an organisations workforce productivity and limit deviant behaviour. As part of the selection process many firms will use a personality test, to try and indicate the personality traits of an individual, such tests usually come in the form a multiple choice questionnaire (Richard Pettinger).
Extroversion can be defined as, “the degree to which individuals are oriented to the social world of people, relationships and events as opposed to the inner world.” (Ray French). A person with high levels of extroversion tends to have characteristics such as, excitability, talkativeness, sociability, assertiveness and high levels of emotional expression. Adjustment/ Emotional stability can be defined as, the degree to which individuals are secure, resilient and calm, versus anxious, reactive and subject to mood swings.” (Ray French). So adjustment focuses in on a person’s emotional stability and looks at how well an individual can cope with stress and anxiety. However studies show that not all traits always appear together to make up someone personality. For example a person who may be classified as having an extrovert personality may only a few of the traits which are associated with an extrovert, such as talkativeness and sociability. An individual however who demonstrates lots of traits associated with either being an extrovert or emotional stability is likely to be at an extreme end of extroversion or adjustment. However it is very common for these traits to appear in someone’s personality together. The definition of personality given earlier suggests that a person’s personality will have an effect upon how they behave. Imperticular organisations will be interested in behaviour within their organisation. Interaction within the workplace will affect the way individuals perceive themselves and how others perceive them and the organisation (Ian Brookes). Personality differences can lead to conflicts between individuals within an organisation and can hinder effective team work and damage the overall organisational culture of a workforce. Although the right mix of different personality types can lead to the formation of effective and efficient teams (Belbin 1996). Studies and extensive research have been carried out that show correlations between certain traits and behaviours in the workplace. For example individuals with extrovert’s personalities have been positively correlated with demonstrating good leadership skills, whereas individuals with low levels of emotional stability have been negatively correlated with leadership qualities (Sean P. Neubert). Job satisfaction...
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