Barrick and Mount aggregated trait-performance relations for a variety of job families in terms of the Big Five. According to Goldberg, the dimensions of the Big Five include Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). These five personality dimensions should be defined in order to have a more integrate understanding of trait-performance relations.
Barrick, Mount and Judge (2001) and Salgado (1997) specified that conscientiousness is the most significant predictor of job performance. Thus, the discussion about conscientiousness will be more detail. As Costa and McCrae (1988) mentioned conscientiousness is a desire to impose order and precision. People with high conscientiousness tend to be organized, careful, responsible, self-disciplined hardworking and determined (Robbins, Stephen, Judge and Timothy, 2008). Some evidence indicates the significance of conscientiousness at work, correlating the construct to the attendance (Judge, Martocchio, & Thoresen, 1997), in addition to its association with job performance. For example, the great conscientious employees always work punctually and have well preparation for the job because they are responsible, self-disciplined and hardworking. Not only junior staff should work on time, but also senior staff, managers and the boss. Punctuality is one of the commitments for a company and for employees own. They are willing to devote more time to working harder. Most of conscientious employees have high expectations of themselves. Therefore, they set a lot of goals autonomously, even are more difficult and challenging goals. In order to achieve these goals, employees are more committed to put effort on preparation, which lead to high work motivation and great job performance (Locke & Latham, 1979). Moreover, Hollenbeck and Klein (1987) pointed out that the better goal commitment will cause better performance when only tough objectives are established.
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However, people with low conscientiousness tend to be disorganized, careless, irresponsible and lazy (Robbins, Stephen, Judge and Timothy, 2008), resulting in worse job performance. For instance, a lot of mistakes disclose because of their carelessness and laziness. It is very inefficient when the employees need to spend extra time on correction frequently. The more time they spend on corrections, the less time they spend on making meaningful contributions to the company. If they are conscientious and think twice before making a decision and check the work carefully before they hand in their work to others, it leads to better job performance.
Openness to experience is the rigidity of beliefs and range of interests with novelty. A highly open person is creative, open-minded, curious, sophisticated and imaginative in his/her intellect, however, those who lacks of openness is narrow-minded and conventional (Digman, 1990; Howard and Howard, 1995; Rothman and Contzer, 2003). The open-minded employees always provide new ideas and creative proposals to their superiors in order to do better. The companies can benefit from innovation. In our society, a majority of citizens pursue the new things constantly. If the company keeps producing old products, they will be eliminated. The company relies on those highly open people to launch some new product to survive in the marketing since they have a positive effect on new product performance. Moreover, the employees with great adaptability can cope with the different challenging such as downsizing and mergers (Judge, Thoresen, Pucik and Welbourne, 1999). On the other hand, the open-minded employers can build a good relationship between employees because they are likely to encourage their staff to express opinions about anything that they want to share such as the feelings of the company and improvement for working environment. Actually, it is easy for employees to get outstanding achievement when there is a good relationship through the effective communication with employers. Based on Aldridge (1997), those open-minded people are capable of dealing with hindrances. Thus, the cooperation between the employers and employees is also beneficial to the organization.
As I have mentioned, good cooperation with others is likely better to the job performance. One of the personality traits called agreeableness can obviously show how to predict employee’s job performance (Salgado, 1997). Agreeableness is the ability to get along with others. People with score high on this dimension are cooperative, trusting, sympathetic, honest, warm and helpful, whereas lowly agreeable people are antagonistic, selfish, rude and cold (Rothman and Contzer, 2003). Agreeableness takes on importance for the team members and the overall team performance. For example, when there is a negotiation, the highly agreeable workers create a friendly environment to strike a balance in opponents’ concerns and solve the problems by creating win-win situation by their pliable attitude (Neuman and Wright, 1999). Some of the conflicts can brainstorm the workers’ creative ideas and boost the morale in an organization. A peaceful environment can also improve the relationships between the colleagues, so that they can be in harmony with others because of their good propensity, honesty and trustworthiness (Goldber, 1992; Sucier and Goldberg, 1998). As the workers are selfish, dishonest and cold-blooded, there are a lot of complaints. No one wants to co-operate with them or talk to them. What is more, they cannot provide the confidence to their clients and then the company loses many businesses. Clearly, this negative personality trait harms to the job performance.
Extraversion is the level of comfort with relationships. Extraverts are sociable, talkative, passionate, dominant, self-confident and gregarious (Robbins, Stephen, Judge and Timothy, 2008). They can always attract some new clients, businesses and partnerships. It is easy for them to represent a move into a new market and create entirely new markets. Good interpersonal network benefits to a company, thus those people are likely marketable in some outgoing jobs. However, introverts tend to be timid, quiet and reserved (Robbins, Stephen, Judge and Timothy, 2008). They like working in the silent working environment. At that moment, they can also provide a better performance. For example, in short period of time, they can do thousands of paperwork. If the employers can divide all employees into these two types, their ability can be fully used and then the job performance will be maximized.
Neuroticism is about the emotional stability and stress management. People who have positive emotional stability are calm, relaxed, optimistic, contented and self-assured (Costa and McCrae, 1988). Emotionally stable workers can face any stressful situations. It is difficult for them to get angry although they have conflicts with others.
However, anxiety, irritability, depression, vulnerability and hostility are the symptoms of negative emotional stability (Costa and McCrae’s, 1992). It leads to bad job performance and physical illnesses because of the bad mood. Absenteeism and turnover are serious when the workers are under pressure and cannot manage the stress. For example, they may have headaches, stomach upset and insomnia, so they cannot concentrate on their work (Angela Stinson, 2009). They may make a lot of mistakes. When they get sick, they may absent. In other words, less people are working. The productivity may decrease.
On the above, we can clearly know how the personality traits predict employees’ job performance. Instead of the Big Five factor, of course, there are other factors linking to predicting employees’ job performance such as motivation, time management and ability (Luthans, 1998; Schriber and Gutek, 1987).
Intrinsic motivation such as job satisfaction, confidence (Cameron, Deci, Koestner, and Ryan, 2001) and belief and extrinsic motivation such as financial rewards, promotion and social relationships can affect the job performance (Akintoye, 2000; Brown and Shepherd, 1997; Luthans, 1998). Employees work autonomous and hardly in order to pursue some rewards. Hence, their job performance will be higher.
Time management plays a significant role in any organizations (Schriber and Gutek, 1987). Job performance can be improved by good time management (Webb, 2006). Employees make the best use of the time to increase productivity. For example, according to Importance-Urgency Matrix (Stephen R. Covey, 2003), they will distribute some tasks into two main types: urgency and importance. They always do the urgent and important thing first, whereas to do the not urgent and not important thing. On other hand, they devote much time to have a rest and sleep, so that they have enough energy to work. To conclude, time management helps employees maintain better performance and health (Adam and Seil, 2007; Jim and Tony, 2003).
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Job performance can influence by cognitive ability, emotional ability and physical ability (Schmidt & Hunter, 2004). The Schmidt et.al (1986) strongly argued that cognitive ability is the most essential cause of the job performance especially with task performance. As the economic structure has changed and the technology has advanced, more and more organizations want to employ workers who have better cognitive ability while the importance of the physical ability is decreasing. Cognitive abilities include verbal, quantitative, reasoning, spatial, perceptual and general mental ability. Better cognitive ability leads to better performance. For example, people with high general mental ability can analyse information effectively. Hence, they can present deep and all-rounded proposal to others in details. But, in fact, there are specific job requirement in different kinds of industries. For instance, the demand for workers who have good physical ability in manufacturing industry is still very high.
How do personality traits translate into individual’s professional careers?
Not only the personality can affect the job performance, but also translate into individual’s professional careers. Some career requires specifics personality traits that related to attributes of job requirements (Caldwell and Burger, 1998).
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