Personality Theories

Topics: Big Five personality traits, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Psychology Pages: 5 (1796 words) Published: May 7, 2010
The purpose of this essay is to review theories that have been linked and discussed in regards to personality. It aims to define personality, summarize the main ideas across different articles, pointing out the strengths and weaknesses that are in the articles. It also links my personal experience of personality traits to the theory of personality. The essay begins by defining personality from different articles and books, then analyzing critically the key definitions. Furthermore the essay discusses the relationship between personality and job performance and the relationship between personality and motivation. The essay contains a reflective writing section, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a theory of motivation and personality, in which my personal experience is discussed. Definitions

The word personality has many definitions across many fields, in different articles. Hogan and Holland (2003), defines personality as the unique pattern of psychological and behavioral characteristics by which each person can be distinguished from other people. This means each person’s characteristics are different from the other, and people are unique beings. Unlike Griffin (2007), who suggests that personality is understood by some people to mean self concept, by others, the consensus of other people’s opinions about one’s character, and by others, one’s true character. This definition is vague and over simplistic. It places individuals in single categories, ignoring the fact that every personality represents a unique combination of qualities. Walter (1986) goes on further to look at personality from two angles, the actors view and the observers view. Personality from the actors view is a person’s identity, which is defined in terms of the strategies a person uses to pursue acceptance and status, identity controls and actors social behavior. Personality from the observers view is a person’s reputation, and it is defined in terms of trait evaluations-conforming, helpful, talkative, competitive, calm, curious and so forth. However, the common trait on the definitions is restored on the following definitions. Griffin (2007) defines personality as the relatively stable set psychological attributes that distinguish one person from the other. This is often referred to as the long standing debate often expressed as nature versus nurture, that people’s personality is shaped by both inheritance and environment. The next definition implores a new trait that of interaction with others. It is suggested that personality is the term used to describe the overall combination of characteristics or traits that reflect the nature of a person and the way they react to and interact with others (De Janasz, Wood, Gottschalk & Schneider, 2006). Here the authors suggest that personality determinants appear to be shaped by inheritance, environmental and situational factors. Hellriegel and Slocum (2006) also define personality as the overall profile or combination of stable psychological attributes that capture the unique nature of a person. This definition suggests that personality combines a set of physical and mental characteristics that reflect how a person looks thinks, acts and feels. Hellriegel and Slocum’s definition contains two important ideas, the first being what sets people apart and what they have in common and the second refers to personality as being stable and happening overtime. The relationship between personality and job performance

Since 1990 analytical reviews have shown that personality measures are useful predictors of job performance. Although these results represent a substantial revision in how applied psychology views personality assessment (cf. Guion & Gottier, 1965; Locke & Hulin, 1962), there is still no agreed theoretical account for the findings. A theory of individual differences in work effectiveness that links assessment to performance would enhance the value of personality measures for...

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Guion, R.M. & Gottier, R.F. (1965). Validity of personality measures in personnel selection. Personnel Psychology, 18, 135-164.
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Hogan, R. & Roberts, B.W. (2001). Personality and Industrial and organizational Psychology. In B. W. Roberts & Hogan (Eds) _Personality Psychology in the workplace (pp. 3-16). _Washington, DC: American Psychology Association.
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