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Case Study - Personality and the Virgin Group

By pk200 Oct 05, 2014 588 Words
Case Study – Personality and Virgin Group

Whatever the industry, a company will always consist of an association of two or more individuals working towards a certain global goal; the actions of each individual will contribute to the general welfare of his company and of others around him. So, for a manager, it is important to single out the individuals whose behaviours better fit those of the company, its objectives and the job positions they are to fulfill – much following the preparation principle of Frederick Taylor’s Scientific Management approach. Personality is a cluster of inherit and socially acquired traits that distinguishes an individual by influencing its behaviour, attitudes and emotions. Thusly, it is crucial that a manager has different tools in order to assess its employees’ personality. Tests – like Rorschach Inkblot Test and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator –, interviews and roleplaying are some of the innumerous dimensions of analysis that can be used to predict and observe an individual’s reaction to a set of controlled stimuli. Each company looks for the set of personality traits that best suit their needs and business. Virgin Group strives to continue to improve its multifaceted business and maintain its worldwide reputation of high consumer engagement. Why, then, should there be so much focus on “finding the best people to run the diverse businesses in the Virgin Group”? Traits like openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism (Big 5), individually balanced adequately to fill the optimal profile for the employer and the company itself, have been known to have a positive correlation with job performance. Richard Branson, the CEO of Virgin, shifts the paradigm of “consumers and shareholders first” to a chief focus on employees which, he believes, are the core agents for profit generating. Branson’s personality already exhibits some of the key characteristics of this organization: he “will do almost anything to promote the Virgin Brand”, partaking in “outlandish publicity stunts” – a highly extraverted individual, outgoing, action-oriented, that enjoys interacting with people (“he sets aside about 25 percent of his time for public relations activities”), conveying the ecstatic and vibrant spirit that attracts and inspires customers, keeping them constantly engaged with the brand. As mentioned above, the fundamental stakeholder of Virgin, according to Richard Branson, are its employees. When a company displays a multitude of worldwide businesses, it is essential to recruit “employees with strong communication and teamwork competencies”, that is, with high agreeableness qualities. Trustworthiness and cooperation support the company’s stability through the sharing of information between colleges, increasing group cohesion and creation of a solid company culture. Moreover, in a setting where all sectors are in close interaction with the customer, the ability of each employee to understand and empathize implies the strengthening of customer relationships and satisfaction. Furthermore, Branson is searching for an individual “who gets charged up when told that something cannot be done”, “who is unafraid of industry barriers and will not take no for an answer” – an individual that exhibits a high openness to experience. A company that endeavours to keep constantly changing needs its employees adaptable and creative, not only taking part in the chance but also contributing to it. Ultimately, personality defines an organization, from the CEO to the last recruited employee – it shapes decisions, procedures and culture, determining the inner and outer relationships of the company. Although the last two Big 5 traits – conscientiousness and neuroticism – where not directly mentioned in the case, their significance holds: an individual with a balanced combination of all these attributes will become an asset to its organization.

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