A. What Is Personality?
• Personality is a dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system; it looks at some aggregate whole that is greater than the sum of the parts.
• Gordon Allport coined the most frequent used definition: o “The dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment” • The text defines personality 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.
B. Personality Determinants
• An early argument centered on whether or not personality was the result of heredity or of environment.
o Personality appears to be a result of both influences.
o Today, we recognize a third factor—the situation.
♣ Influences the effects of heredity and environment
♣ The different demands of different situations call
forth different aspects of one’s personality.
♣ There is no classification scheme that tells the
impact of various types of situations.
♣ Situations seem to differ substantially in the
constraints they impose on behavior.
• Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception. • The heredity approach argues that the ultimate explanation of an individual’s personality is the molecular structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes.
• Three different streams of research lend some credibility to the heredity argument:
o The genetic underpinnings of human behavior and temperament among young children. Evidence demonstrates that traits such as shyness, fear, and distress are most likely caused by
inherited genetic characteristics.
o One hundred sets of identical twins that were separated at birth were studied. Genetics accounts for about 50 percent of the
variation in personality differences and over 30 percent of
occupational and leisure interest variation.
o Individual job satisfaction is remarkably stable over time. This indicates that satisfaction is determined by something inherent in the person rather than by external environmental factors.
• Personality characteristics are not completely dictated by heredity. If they were, they would be fixed at birth and no amount of experience could alter them.
• Factors that exert pressures on our personality formation: o The culture in which we are raised
o Early conditioning
o Norms among our family
o Friends and social groups
• The environment we are exposed to plays a substantial role in shaping our personalities.
• Culture establishes the norms, attitudes, and values passed from one generation to the next and create consistencies over time.
• The arguments for heredity or environment as the primary determinant of personality are both important.
• Heredity sets the parameters or outer limits, but an individual’s full potential will be determined by how well he or she adjusts to the demands and requirements of the environment.
C. Personality Traits
• Early work revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring characteristics.
o Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal, and timid. These are personality traits. o The more consistent the characteristic, the more frequently it occurs, the more important it is.
• Researchers believe that personality traits can help in employee selection, job fit, and career development.
2. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
• One of the most widely used personality frameworks is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).
• It is a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations.
• Individuals are classified as:
o Extroverted or introverted (E or I).
o Sensing or intuitive (S or N).
o Thinking or feeling (T or F).
o Perceiving or judging (P or J).
• These classifications are then combined into sixteen personality types. For example:
o 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, and often stubborn.
o ESTJs are organizers. They are realistic, logical, analytical, decisive, and have a natural head for business or mechanics. o The ENTP type is a conceptualizer. He or she is innovative, individualistic, versatile, and attracted to entrepreneurial ideas. This person tends to be resourceful in solving challenging
problems but may neglect routine assignments.
• MBTI is widely used in practice. Some organizations using it include Apple Computer, AT&T, Citigroup, GE, 3M Co. and others.
3. The Big Five Model
• An impressive body of research supports that five basic dimensions underlie all other personality dimensions. The five basic dimensions are: o Extraversion. Comfort level with relationships. Extroverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and sociable. Introverts tend to be reserved, timid, and quiet.
o Agreeableness. Individual’s propensity to defer to others. High agreeableness people—cooperative, warm, and trusting. Low
agreeableness people—cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic. o Conscientiousness. A measure of reliability. A high
conscientious person is responsible, organized, dependable, and persistent. Those who score low on this dimension are easily distracted, disorganized, and unreliable.
o Emotional stability. A person’s ability to withstand stress. People with positive emotional stability tend to be calm, selfconfident, and secure. Those with high negative scores tend to
be nervous, anxious, depressed, and insecure.
o Openness to experience. The range of interests and
fascination with novelty. Extremely open people are creative, curious, and artistically sensitive. Those at the other end of the openness category are conventional and find comfort in the
• Research found important relationships between these personality dimensions and job performance.
o A broad spectrum of occupations was examined in addition to job performance ratings, training proficiency (performance during training programs), and personnel data such as salary level. o The results showed that conscientiousness predicted job
performance for all occupational groups.
o Individuals who are dependable, reliable, careful, thorough, able to plan, organized, hardworking, persistent, and achievementoriented tend to have higher job performance.
o Employees higher in conscientiousness develop higher levels of job knowledge.
o There is a strong and consistent relationship between
conscientiousness and organizational citizenship behavior
o For the other personality dimensions, predictability depended upon both the performance criterion and the occupational group. o Extroversion predicts performance in managerial and sales
o Openness to experience is important in predicting training proficiency.
D. Measuring Personality
• There are three ways to measure an individual’s personality. These include:
o Self-report surveys
¬ Individuals may fake their answers.
o Observer-ratings surveys
¬ Observer-ratings are better predictors of success on the job o Projective measures
¬ These can often be costly because they are scored by a
¬ Studies show projective surveys are not very effective.
E. Major Personality Attributes Influencing OB
1. Core Self-Evaluation (Self-perspective)
• People who have a positive core self-evaluation see themselves as effective, capable, and in control.
• People who have a negative core self-evaluation tend to dislike themselves.
• Locus of control
o A person’s perception of the source of his/her fate is termed locus of control.
¬ There is not a clear relationship between locus of control and turnover because there are opposing forces at work.
o Internals: People who believe that they are masters of their own fate
¬ Internals, facing the same situation, attribute
organizational outcomes to their own actions. Internals
believe that health is substantially under their own
control through proper habits; their incidences of
sickness and, hence, their absenteeism, are lower.
¬ Internals generally perform better on their jobs, but one should consider differences in jobs.
¬ Internals search more actively for information before
making a decision, are more motivated to achieve, and
make a greater attempt to control their environment,
therefore, internals do well on sophisticated tasks.
¬ Internals are more suited to jobs that require initiative and independence of action.
o Externals: People who believe they are pawns of fate
¬ Individuals who rate high in externality are less satisfied with their jobs, have higher absenteeism rates, are more
alienated from the work setting, and are less involved on
their jobs than are internals.
¬ Externals are more compliant and willing to follow
directions, and do well on jobs that are well structured
and routine and in which success depends heavily on
complying with the direction of others.
o Self-esteem—the degree to which people like or dislike
o (SE) is directly related to expectations for success.
o Individuals with high self-esteem will take more risks in job selection and are more likely to choose unconventional jobs than people with low self-esteem.
o The most generalizable finding is that low SEs are more
susceptible to external influence than are high SEs. Low SEs are dependent on the receipt of positive evaluations from others. o In managerial positions, low SEs will tend to be concerned with pleasing others.
o High SEs are more satisfied with their jobs than are low SEs. 2. Machiavellianism
• Named after Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote in the sixteenth century on how to gain and use power.
• An individual high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance, and believes that ends can justify means.
• High Machs manipulate more, win more, are persuaded less, and persuade others more.
• High Mach outcomes are moderated by situational factors and flourish when they interact face-to-face with others, rather than indirectly, and when the situation has a minimum number of rules and regulations, thus allowing latitude for improvisation.
• High Machs make good employees in jobs that require bargaining skills or that offer substantial rewards for winning.
• Describes a person who has a grandiose sense of self-importance • They “think” they are better leaders.
• Often they are selfish and exploitive.
• This refers to an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external, situational factors.
• Individuals high in self-monitoring show considerable adaptability. They are highly sensitive to external cues, can behave differently in different situations, and are capable of presenting striking contradictions between their public persona and their private self.
• Low self-monitors cannot disguise themselves in that way. They tend to display their true dispositions and attitudes in every situation resulting in a high behavioral consistency between who they are and what they do. • The research on self-monitoring is in its infancy, so predictions must be guarded. Preliminary evidence suggests:
o High self-monitors tend to pay closer attention to the behavior of others.
o High self-monitoring managers tend to be more mobile in their careers and receive more promotions.
o High self-monitor is capable of putting on different “faces” for different audiences.
5. Risk Taking
• The propensity to assume or avoid risk has been shown to have an impact on how long it takes managers to make a decision and how much information they require before making their choice.
• High risk-taking managers make more rapid decisions and use less information in making their choices.
• Managers in large organizations tend to be risk averse; especially in contrast with growth-oriented entrepreneurs.
• Makes sense to consider aligning risk-taking propensity with specific job demands
6. Type A Personality
• Type A personality is “aggressively involved in a chronic, incessant struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, and, if required to do so, against the opposing efforts of other things or other persons.’’ • They are always moving, walking, and eating rapidly, are impatient with the rate at which most events take place, are doing do two or more things at once and cannot cope with leisure time.
• They are obsessed with numbers, measuring their success in terms of how many or how much of everything they acquire.
• In contrast to the Type A personality is the Type B Personality. o Type B’s never suffer from a sense of time urgency with its accompanying impatience.
o Type B’s feel no need to display or discuss either their achievements or accomplishments unless such exposure is
demanded by the situation.
o Type B’s play for fun and relaxation, rather than exhibit their superiority at any cost.
o They can relax without guilt.
• Type A personality compared to Type B personality
o Type A’s operate under moderate to high levels of stress. They subject themselves to continuous time pressure, are fast
workers, quantity over quality, work long hours, and are also rarely creative.
o Type A’s behavior is easier to predict than that of Type B’s. o Do Type A’s differ from Type B’s in their ability to get hired? ¬ Type A’s do better in job interviews; are more likely to be judged as having desirable traits such as high drive,
competence, and success motivation.
7. Proactive Personality
• Actively taking the initiative to improve their current circumstances while others sit by passively
• Proactives identify opportunities, show initiative, take action, and persevere.
• Create positive change in their environment.
• More likely to be seen as leaders and change agents
• More likely to achieve career success
F. Personality and National Culture
• The five personality factors identified in the Big Five model are found in almost all cross-cultural studies.
• There are no common personality types for a given country. • There are Type A’s in every country, but they tend to be more found in capitalist countries.
• Values Represent Basic Convictions
o A specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or endstate of existence.
o They have both content and intensity attributes.
o An individual’s set of values ranked in terms of intensity is considered the person’s value system.
o Values have the tendency to be stable.
o Many of our values were established in our early years from parents, teachers, friends, and others.
B. Importance of Values
• Values lay the foundation for the understanding of attitudes and motivation.
• Values generally influence attitudes and behaviors. We can predict reaction based on understanding values.
C. Types of Values (Value Classifications)
1. Rokeach Value Survey
• This instrument contains two sets of values; each set has 18 value items. o Terminal Values—refer to desirable end states of existence. ¬ The goals that a person would like to achieve during
o Instrumental Values—refer to preferable modes of behavior. ¬ Means of achieving the terminal values
o Several studies confirm that the RVS values vary among groups. o People in the same occupations or categories tend to hold
o Although there may be overlap among groups, there are some significant differences as well.
2. Contemporary Work Cohorts
• Different generations hold different work values.
o Veterans—entered the workforce from the early 1940s through the early 1960s.
o Boomers—entered the workforce during the 1960s through the mid-1980s.
o Xers—entered the workforce beginning in the mid-1980s.
o Nexters—most recent entrants into the workforce.
D. Values, Loyalty, and Ethical Behavior
• Many people think there has been a decline in business ethics since the late 1970s.
• The four-stage model of work cohort values might explain this perception .
• Managers consistently report the action of bosses as the most important factor influencing ethical and unethical behavior in organizations. E. Values Across Cultures
• Values differ across cultures; therefore, understanding these differences helps to explain and to predict behavior of employees from different countries. One of the most widely referenced approaches for analyzing variations among cultures has been done by Geert Hofstede.
2. Hofstede’s Framework for Assessing Cultures
• Five value dimensions of national culture:
o Power distance: The degree to which people in a country
accept that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally.
o Individualism versus collectivism: Individualism is the degree to which people in a country prefer to act as individuals rather than as members of groups. Collectivism equals low
o Masculinity versus femininity: Masculinity is the degree to which values such as the acquisition of money and material
goods prevail. Femininity is the degree to which people value relationships and show sensitivity and concern for others.
o Uncertainty avoidance: The degree to which people in a
country prefer structured over unstructured situations.
o Long-term versus short-term orientation: Long-term
orientations look to the future and value thrift and persistence. Short-term orientation values the past and present and
emphasizes respect for tradition and fulfilling social obligations. • Hofstede Research Findings:
o Asian countries were more collectivist than individualistic. o United States ranked highest on individualism.
o German and Hong Kong rated high on masculinity.
o Russia and The Netherlands were low on masculinity.
o China and Hong Kong had a long-term orientation.
o France and the United States had short-term orientation.
3. The GLOBE Framework for Assessing Cultures
• Hofstede’s work is the basic framework for assessing cultures. However, it is nearly 30 years old. In 1993, the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) began updating this research with data from 825 organizations and 62 countries.
• GLOBE Framework for Assessing Cultures Assertiveness: The extent to which a society encourages people to be tough, confrontational, assertive, and competitive versus modest and tender.
o Future orientation: The extent to which a society encourages and rewards future-oriented behaviors such as planning,
investing in the future and delaying gratification.
o Gender differentiation: The extent to which a society
maximized gender role differences.
o Uncertainly avoidance: Society’s reliance on social norms and procedures to alleviate the unpredictability of future events. o Power distance: The degree to which members of a society
expect power to be unequally shared.
o Individualism/collectivism: The degree to which individuals are encouraged by societal institutions to be integrated into groups within organizations and society.
o In-group collectivism: The extent to which society’s members take pride in membership in small groups such as their families and circles of close friends, and the organizations where they are employed.
o Performance orientation: The degree to which society
encourages and rewards group members for performance
improvement and excellence.
o Humane orientation: The degree to which a society encourages and rewards individuals for being fair, altruistic, generous, caring, and kind to others.
• GLOBE Research Findings:
o The GLOBE study had extended Hofstede’s work rather than replaced it.
o It confirms Hofstede’s five dimensions are still valid and provides updated measures of where countries are on each dimension.
For example, the United States in the 70s led the world in
individualism—today, it is in the mid-ranks of countries.
4. Implications for OB
• Twenty years ago organizational behavior had a strong American bias • Many of the studies were completed with only American samples • Now there has been an increase in cross-cultural research • OB is a global discipline
III. LINKING AN INDIVIDUAL’S PERSONALITY AND VALUES TO THE WORKPLACE A. The Person-Job Fit:
• This concern is best articulated in John Holland’s personality-job fit theory.
o Holland presents six personality types and proposes that satisfaction and the propensity to leave a job depends on the degree to which individuals successfully match their personalities to an occupational environment. ¬ The six personality types are: realistic, investigative, social, conventional, enterprising, and artistic
o Each one of the six personality types has a congruent occupational environment.
o Vocational Preference Inventory questionnaire contains 160 occupational titles. Respondents indicate which of these occupations they like or dislike; their answers are used to form personality profiles. o The theory argues that satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest when personality and occupation are in agreement.
B. The Person-Organization Fit
• Most important for an organization facing a dynamic and changing environment, and requiring employees who are able to readily change tasks and move fluidly between teams
• It argues that people leave jobs that are not compatible with their personalities.
• Organizational Culture Profile (OCP)
o Individuals have to sort their values in terms of importance. o Forced choice rationale—having to make hard choices that one’s true values become apparent
o Match personal values to those of the organization.
IV. SUMMARY AND IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGERS
♣ The Big Five provides a meaningful way for managers to examine personality ♣ Managers should look for employees high on conscientiousness ♣ Situational factors should be taken into consideration, they do impact personality-job performance
♣ The MBTI can be used for teams to better understand each other B. Values
♣ Values influence a person’s attitudes, perceptions and behaviors ♣ The Rokeach Values Survey can be used to measure an employee’s values ♣ Employees are often rewarded more often when their personal values match those of the organization