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Organisational Behaviour: The Big Five personality traits
What is personality? “Personality is defined as the characteristic set of behaviours, cognitions, and emotional patterns that evolve from biological and environmental factors”. (Corr & Matthews, 2009). What I will discuss in this essay is the personality traits of the Big Five or the Ocean model as it is often called, look at the strengths, weaknesses, and how this model can fit the right people to an organisation. The Big Five helps us understand the personality traits of individuals and how they will react to real life circumstances. How a certain personality will fit an organisation, what their potential strengths, and weaknesses may be. Can a job description be designed around a personality and can that personality guarantee results. The Big Five is a researched base model and has five basic dimensions that can group people into the common personality traits by answering a series of questions.
These are the Big Five personality traits:
My study material (Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 157) it describes the traits as;
Extraversion are normally full of liveliness, enjoy interacting with people they stand out from the crowd. An introvert can be reserved it is not to be confused with shyness, they need less social attention than an extraversion.
Agreeableness is described by Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 157) as somebody that has the tendency to behave in a particular way towards others. They are more open to meet somebody half way when their ideas clash. Where, someone who is disagreeable tend to have their interest upfront.
Conscientiousness Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 157) consider to be planned and have trustworthiness and aim to set the bar high. People who are low on conscientiousness may come across as sloppy.
Emotional stability Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 157) explain are people who are competent with dealing with stress and their character are less likely to feel negative emotions about themselves. Those who do not score well for neuroticism tend to lack belief in themselves and come across as insecure.
Openness to experience are willing to try new things are more imaginative. People who score low in this dimension tend to be “conventional and find comfort in the familiar”. (Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 157)
To better understand these traits I undertook the Big Five personality test on Open Psychometrics (OpenPsychometrics, n.d.). I wanted to see if I could relate my results into my everyday behaviour and see if it fitted with the model and test my strengths and weaknesses against it. My results are as follows:
From the results, I wasn’t surprised at how I fitted the model and could see clear patterns from my day to day behaviour, and how it fits my personality.
Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 160) suggests that these traits are what most people would like to score high on as they are seen as “socially desirable”. They go on to say that there are three personalities dimensions “which we all have in varying degrees” that one would consider “undesirable”. As these personalities are negative in nature they are known as the Dark Triad.
The Dark Triad has three personality traits, Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 160) describes Machiavellianism as a person who “manipulates others to their advantage” believe the “end justify the means” and uses the power of persuading to their advantage.
Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 160) explains Narcissism in people show traits of “self-importance”, they desire to be the focus of people’s attention, and feel they are entitled to things that others are not. The evidence they provide highlight that people in management positions often score high in this trait.
Psychopathy in organisational behaviour is not an indication of insanity, Robbins & Judge (2015, p. 160) define it “as a lack of concern for others”. The suggestion from the text is people who score high for psychopathy, do not want to go with the social model, are happy to be economical with the truth so their goals are met. They show little remorse towards peoples feeling.
Now that we have an understanding of the Big Five, we need to look at why organisations would use this model and how it can benefit them. Can an organisation target certain personality types that fit the cultures they have instilled in the company? Will an organisation know how adaptable someone can be by knowing their traits and how they will react in certain situations.
One of the things we must look at is John Holland’s personality-job fit theory which is touched upon by Robbins & Judge (2015, p.171,p.172) in my course material. There are six personality types that will determine how happy somebody will be in a role and the likelihood of them leaving the position, someone who matches their personality to the job is less likely to leave and will be more content.
(Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 171) “Holland’s six personality types” realistic, investigative, social, conventional, enterprising, and artistic.
Realistic people are hands-on and like to give things a go. They like to problem solve as they go and are less inclined to sit back and consider all options.
Investigative people like to know all the facts and figures before making decisions. They like to have a clear picture of what is happening.
Social people enjoy working with others, helping, and developing people and like close relationships.
Conventional people are structured they don’t like disorder, they want to stick within the rules and have self-control.
Enterprising people like to lead have good persuading skills and like to talk.
Artistic people like to work with ideas, people, and think outside of the box. They don’t enjoy the rules or structure.
(Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 171)
By answering Holland’s Vocational Preference Inventory a person can be grouped into one of the six personalities and a list of jobs that are suited to them, which the theory maintains will create a happier work environment and one will be less likely to leave.
The next thing that must be considered in Robbins & Judge (2015, p.172) work is the Person-Organization Fit which they noted “researches have looked at matching people to organisations as well as jobs”. The fast pace life and development of new technologies has challenged workforces to be interchangeable between teams and be able to adapt to new circumstances. It is key that employees are suited to the organisations principles rather than just a definite job role. “The person-organization fit essentially argues that people are attracted to and selected by organizations that match their values, and leave organizations that are not compatible with their personalities” (Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 172). Robbins & Judge (2015, p.172) suggest using the Big Five will help employees fit a company’s ideas and beliefs helping increase overall job satisfaction and likely to have a lower percentage of turnover. Employees who have the same principles as the organisation tend to be happier and have a loyalty to the organization.
While investigating these concepts, I came across a very interesting article on the web (Cooper, 2014) where her work told us that if organisations using and understanding the Big Five personality can have a better fit of a person to a specific job role. Where she states that “understanding the personality traits that suit the role you are hiring for” is important, getting the right people to work together will benefit the organisation because they will share the same traits and will have the same values as the organisation cultures.
Relationships between each personality type Robbins & Judge (2015, p.172) expresses it’s as important to match personality types together, and using the “Big Five terminology” (Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 172) to match the right people together from Holland’s Occupational personality types.
(Robbins. & Judge, 2015, p. 172)
The diagram they include matches each personality the closer one personality is to each other they should be compatibly to work with each other, the personality opposite should clash and would not create a good work environment.
When, are manager is hiring for their organisation they will need to consider the personality type they want to hire, and need to understand what personality types work well together and equally what types will clash and have a negative impact in the work area.
(Wittleberry, 2016) Explains the personality types from The Holland Codes that work well together in her article. An example from her work describes how realistic who is hands on and likes to see their work is compatible with investigative and conventional person. Someone who is investigative likes to “working with others who are grounded” (Wittleberry, 2016). People who are conventional will fit with these two personality groups because they are organized and takes direction well.
A manager needs to know his workforce and where best to employ these people, (Wittleberry, 2016) recommends that a manager plan his/her environment know which personality will fit with a department, but to have a blooming organisation she concludes the manage should put the right people in the right area so they will grow reach their full potential and work day to day with their strengths. This in theory should create a positive climate in the organisation.
As I have discussed there are many strengths to the Big Five and how they can benefit an organisation with having the right fit op employees, but we also need to consider the weaknesses of the Big Five and do they give an employer a clear picture of the person they are hiring.
(Vitelli, 2015) “The general consensus is that personality is shaped by early life experiences and tend to stay stable over time”. Vitelli (2015) describes how our personality is influence as we grow up. He says that life experience can give us a different outlook on life and in some cases change how we think. As, we mature people can tend to have a different outlook on life and hold different values to what one once thought was important.
(TheHRDepartment, 2015) They warn that not to only use the personality testing as a hiring tool the Big Five processes only the personality of a person it does not consider life experiences, that persons goals in life and that you often need to meet the person to get a feel for them and how they carry themselves. They go on to list some of the advantages and disadvantages of doing a personality test. When an organisation is looking for a new hire having a personality test done can help narrow the field to the types of people they want to hire, it can have a positive impact on the interview as the manager can have questions suited to that person.
Some of the disadvantages (TheHRDepartment, 2015) of doing the personality test is that in can be a long process and may turn off potential employees. The experiences that they have from other companies and upskilling they receive may contradict the test results. The test is not fool proof questions can be answered that seem more pleasing to the organisation. If an organisation always hire the same types of personality there can be a “lack of diversity”. Tests cost money so an organisation needs to have this budgeted if they decide to go this route. The final point they go on to make is that a future employee on paper make fit the organisational culture and share the same personality they may not bring those traits though to the job. The essential thing they conclude is that the test is not the only factor in the recruitment process, it can help identify the people to bring through to the interview stage and potential future employees.
From the personality test I took as part of this assignment (OpenPsychometrics, n.d.) I saw where my personality falls in The Big Five, I agree with the results, I know that some of them were skills I developed over time though life experiences and roles within some organisations I worked in. Personality can set the benchmark for an organisation and the Big Five can be the foundation to build employees upon. It will not always explain why people act a certain way, or why they do something.
For a hiring manager it’s important they understand the personality dimensions know the strengths and weaknesses of each trait, and how to pair that person to a department in which they will thrive. While personality testing is important it does not mean you will always get the right person for a job, a test will give you an idea of the person you are hiring but, it may eliminate someone that has the right ethics for your organisation.
- (Corr & Matthews, 2009)
- (Robbins. & Judge, 2015)
- (Wikipedia, n.d.)
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