Personality and Values
After studying this chapter, you should be able to:
1. Explain the factors that determine an individual’s personality. 2. Describe the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator personality framework. 3. Identify the key traits in the Big Five personality model. 4. Explain how the major personality attributes predict behavior at work. 5. Contrast terminal and instrumental values. 6. List the dominant values in today’s workforce. 7. Identify Hofstede’s five value dimensions of national culture.
ur personality shapes our behavior, so if we want to better understand the behavior of someone in an organization, it helps if we know something about his or her personality. In the first half of this chapter, we review the research on personality and its relationship to behavior. In the latter half, we look at how values shape many of our work-related behaviors.
Why are some people quiet and passive, whereas others are loud and aggressive? Are certain personality types better adapted for certain job types? Before we can answer these questions, we must address a more basic one: What is personality?
What Is Personality?
Personality can be thought of as the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others. It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits. 33
Part II The Individual in the Organization
The early research on the structure of personality revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behavior. Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal, and timid. Those characteristics, when they’re exhibited in a large number of situations, are called personality traits. Much attention has been paid to personality traits because researchers have long believed that these traits could help in employee selection, matching people to jobs, and in guiding career development decisions. For instance, if certain personality types perform better on specific jobs, management could use personality tests to screen job candidates and improve employee job performance. However, early efforts to identify the primary traits that govern behavior resulted in long lists of traits that provided little practical guidance to organizational decision makers. Two exceptions are the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five model. Over the past 20 years, these two approaches have become the dominant frameworks for identifying and classifying traits. The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator The Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)1 is the most widely used personality-assessment instrument in the world. It’s a 100question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations. On the basis of the answers individuals give to the test questions, they are classified as extroverted or introverted (E or I), sensing or intuitive (S or N), thinking or feeling (T or F), and judging or perceiving ( J or P). These terms are defined as follows: ■ ■
Extroverted Versus Introverted—Extroverted individuals are outgoing, sociable, and assertive. Introverts are quiet and shy. Sensing Versus Intuitive—Sensing types are practical and prefer routine and order. They focus on details. Intuitives rely on unconscious processes and look at the big picture.
Thinking Versus Feeling—Thinking types use reason and logic to handle problems. Feeling types rely on their personal values and emotions.
Judging Versus Perceiving—Judging types want control and prefer their world to be ordered and structured. Perceiving types are flexible and spontaneous.
These classifications are then combined into 16 personality types. Let’s take two examples. INTJs are visionaries. They usually have original minds and great drive for their own ideas and purposes. They are characterized as skeptical, critical, independent, determined,...