Freudian Theory of Personality

5255 words (21 pages) Essay in Psychology

18/05/17 Psychology Reference this

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Freud was one of the most important scientists in the field of psychology in the past century. He formed the psychoanalytical approaches like no one else. He developed a topographical and structural model of personality. The first one, the topographical model, describes the detailed parts of the psyche. He said that one part of psyche is the unconscious which consists of thought and feelings that are crowded out. This part is not easy to bring into awareness. The second part is the conscious which is equal to what a person has actually in its mind. The third part is the preconscious which relies more to the conscious then to the unconscious. This thoughts and feelings are easier to bring into awareness because they are not crowded in an active way. According to Freud the development appears because of psychological conflicts which are caused by several reasons. For example the physical maturation as well as frustration which is caused by the environment, anxiety and inner conflicts. The last one exits because of the interaction of ID, Ego and Super-Ego. In his structural model Freud describes the architecture of personality which he divided into the three parts above. These psychological structures moderate between drives and behavior which is visible from outside because drives can’t lead to any reaction when they are burked. He defines the ID as the part of personality which consists of the biological drives. It is the part which is identified as the unconscious. The Ego is between the ID and the Super-Ego and it is responsible for the mechanisms of the personality to adapt on the reality. It leads through difficult situations and is supported by feelings of anxiety. To cope with these anxieties will be discussed in the theory of defense mechanism. The Super-Ego is formed by society’s and parent’s values. It is the person’s morality. It is responsible for the thinking what we can do or what we can not do. Freud is the opinion that these three parts of personality are linked with each other. But the Ego is the part which plays the central role in the personality of a healthy human being. All the knowledge above provides the foundation for many parts of the business environment nowadays. The marketing office of a company can create their products and advertising to attract customers. The information about how the customer reacts on different stimulation is very helpful for optimizing the company’s strategy. Furthermore the human resource management can use knowledge about the human’s personality for the recruitment of new employees. If they know how to stimulate the personality which is not visible at first, they can test if their new employee is suitable for the job or not through different stimuli. For both the theory is helpful because human being are running by their minds and emotions.

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Defense Mechanisms, Page 78

Freud describes the defense mechanisms as psychological strategies which are unconscious and used in different situations of coping with reality. We you have a look on healthy people you can see that they use different types of these defenses during their whole life. The reason for using the defense mechanisms is to protect oneself from fears, social sanctions or to escape from situations with which the person cannot cope. If fears are too overwhelming, the part of an individual’s personality which is described as the ego will use defense mechanisms to protect the human being. The situation of fear usually appears in the form of bodily or mental tension which caused the organism to start defense mechanisms towards the danger. The way, how the defense mechanism works, is to distort id impulses into a form that is acceptable. Another possibility is to block these impulses as an unconscious or conscious reaction.

According to Freud’s Theory above, Bovey & Hede (2001) say that people are different in the way of their ability and willingness to adapt changes because they made different experiences in term of organizational change. This is the reason why many change programs in organizations failed. Managers trend to ignore the important human dimension when implementing organizational change. Therefore individuals develop different styles of internal defense mechanisms to protect themselves from feelings of anxiety. The authors collected their data from questionnaires which were distributed to participants at their place of employment. As a result they found out a correlation between the maladaptive defense mechanisms and the level of behavioral resistance to change: The higher the level of maladaptive defense mechanism the higher the level of resistance. Furthermore the second hypothesis leads to following result: the higher the level of adaptive defense mechanisms, the lower the level of resistance.

Humor, Page 84

Freud mentioned that there is relationship between humor and the unconscious. He founded his theory on the dynamic process between id, ego and superego. This means that the superego curbs the ego to follow its pleasure-seeking from the id. You can say that the superego is responsible for the fact that the ego creates humor According to his research jokes, which are one of the three humor types, happen when the conscious letting in forbidden thoughts which the society restrains. People with a complaisant superego have a digestible and calming type of humor. In comparison to that people with a bitter superego often have a sarcastic style. But referring to Freud not everyone has the capability to formulate humor.

But how should the knowledge of humor be used in a business environment? According to Romero & Cruthirds (2006) “Humor is a common element of human interaction and therefore has an impact on work groups and Organizations.” In their paper the authors figured out the different types of humor and their impact on organizations, especially on leadership, group cohesiveness, communication, creativity and stress which is already attested. Furthermore they show that there is a difference between ethnicity and genders concerning humor. There result is that even a “small” thing like humor is very important for an organization and its employees because it is very important for the right way of managing and maybe teaching in humor should be a basic for every manager. It could help creating a good mood in the company and working more efficient.

Neo-Freudian Approach

Alfred Adler, Page 100

Adler, who was born in Vienna in 1870, was one of the first members of researchers who founded the Neo-Freudian approach. He was a practicing doctor and member of Freud’s discussion group. These experiences provided him the foundation of his theory. Like all the other researchers he based his approach on Freud’s theory but he did not agree with all parts of Freud’s research and broke with them to develop his own theoretical approach which he called Individual Psychology. According to this theory the key facts are striving for superiority, the role of parental influence on development and the effects of birth order which also seem to be the main differences between the two scientists. In comparison to Freud who said that terms for motivation are sexual and aggressive themes, Adler was the opinion that striving for superiority is the motivation for human beings. He described that striving for superiority always starts with a feeling of inferiority and everybody is born with this feeling. This feeling of inferiority motivates people to strive for more. It is the engine for human beings. But it also can have a negative effect that means that some people can develop an inferiority complex which makes them believe that they are more inferior than others. Regarding to a business environment he is the opinion that the business success is an expression of striving for superiority which is a difference to Freud who said that it is based on an unconscious desire to compete. Second, Adler identified the influence of the parents regarding to children’s development in their first few years. He figured out two ways of treatment, first pampering which let the children feel dependant and makes them get a feeling of inferiority and second neglecting which is characterized through less attention from the parents and which can lead to incapability regarding to personal relationships to others. Both ways are responsible for personality problems when children grow up and become an adult. Third, he analyzed the influence of the birth order to the development of personality. As the first psychologist doing that, he suggested that children who were firstborn often develop problems regarding to their personality like for example neuroticism etc.. Furthermore his view on middle children seems to be more positive. He said that these children have a strong striving for superiority because they were never pampered. At least he focused on last -born children who are pampered through their whole childhood. That’s the reason why they have a bigger chance to develop a strong feeling of inferiority because everybody around them is older and stronger. In comparison to that Berger & Ivancevich (1973) found out that managers who were the only child or the eldest sibling are more successful in business life than their youngest or even their mid-born siblings. That seems to be in opposite to Adler’s opinion.

The collective Unconscious by Carl Jung, Page 105

Carl Gustav Jung was born in Switzerland and was one of the founders of the Neo-Freudian approach, like Adler. In difference to Freud who did not talk about collective unconscious, Jung focused in his theory on the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is a term for the genetic fixed assumptions of the psychological operation and the collectivity of the universal possibilities of experience, behavior and development. In his mind everybody has this part of mind. This part consists of thoughts and images which are not easy to bring into awareness, the same Freud claimed regarding to his description of unconscious. In Jung’s eyes the unconscious material is basically the same for everybody because people inherit it from their ancestors like they inherit psychic characteristics. These complexes are also called archetypes which consist since the existence of conscience. There are archetypes for every typical situation in life. In his work, Jung tried to explain some important archetypes like anima and animus, and shadow. The first part of personality is shadow which seems to be the dark side of the personality like egoism, jealousy and so on. The second part consists of the aspects of the opposite sex. For men it is the anima which symbolizes the feminine side of the man. Jung was the opinion that there is a feminine counterpart inside every man. For women this part is called animus and it is the masculine side of the woman which means that there is a masculine counterpart in every woman. Jung said that for example searching for a romantic partner is influenced by these archetypes because people project their anima or animus onto potential partners. Castigators of Jung’s theory say that there is no scientific research which could be used as an evidence for his theory. Rather his theory is based only on his personnel long-life study of cultures and not on data from experiments or observations. Today Jung’s theory is implemented in many methods of assessment. The first method, which was successfully introduced, was a personality inventory, the Gray-Wheelwright Test. It was followed by the Myers-Briggs Type indicator or MBTI which was developed by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers (Ryckman, 1989) The MBTI became part of personality assessment internationally and has received recognition all over the world. Of course there are many more instruments for assessment based on Jung’s theory nowadays and the two above are only a small number of examples. At least Jung’s theory provided the basic knowledge for the development of some methods of assessment.

Erikson’s Concept of the Ego, Page 111

Erikson was the founder of the so called ego psychology. Freud was the opinion that ego functioned as a mediator between id-impulses and superego demands. In comparison to that, Erikson said that the ego’s main function is to develop a maintain sense of identity. He said that identity is a complex inner state that includes a sense of our individuality and uniqueness, as well as a sense of wholeness and continuity with the past and the future. Erikson observed the development of personality with a wider perspective which means that he also included social and historical variables in his theory. In his theory which is also called the eight stages of development, he described the development of children’s or rather human’s identity. This is a lifelong process which is caused by the needs and desires of the child as an individual and the changing social environment during the development. In his opinion the interaction between the child and its personal environment plays an important role. Every human has to handle with different crisis in different sequences of his life and the intension is to get the accomplishment of every of these crises. Erikson talks about eight stages (crisis) which have to be solved by the human being. The successful accomplishment of one stage is not necessary for the accomplishment of the next stage but I would be helpful. Former stages provide the basement to reach the following stages. Important is that one conflict don’t have be solved completely, instead it is up-to-date for the whole life. But it is important and necessary for the development and the successful accomplishment of the next stage, that every conflict of every stage will be solved sufficiently. The eight stages are basic trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. shame and doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation and ego integrity vs. despair. But some parts of his theory show weaknesses. One thing is that his theory neglect that circumstances of life could change which can’t be influenced by the human being. Furthermore he based his theory on a specific biographical development which became his standard in the theory. Altogether Erikson developed a very important theory which is the foundation for researchers nowadays. He changed his look on things in comparison to Freud and added a lot of new expertise. Although this theory has some weaknesses, it is very useful for further researches and it provides a good basement for other scientist. One of them was Patrick H. Munley (1977) who had a look on how the development of a career fits with the development as it is described in Erikson’s theory. In his research he comes to the conclusion that the eight stages provide a framework which can be used to integrate career development into overall human development and it is important for offering a perspective for the integration of social factors and personality development regarding to career development.

The Theory of Neurosis by Karen Horney, Page 116

Karen Horney was another researcher who was part of the neo-freudian approach. In her theory about neurosis she described another point of view regarding to neurosis as other scientist before. She said there is a consistency in the normal life. In her mind neurosis is the effort to create life more convenient. It is a form of interpersonal control and coping. Everybody tries to do that every day and most of the people are more or less successful. But there are also people which are sick of neurosis and that’s the reason why they fail. They are caught in a self-defeating interpersonal style. In comparison to Freud she changed important terms and assumptions regarding to the personality of people like the Libido theory, the Oedipus theory or altogether the fact that men and women should be born with a different personality. In her opinion the differences are not based on biological reasons rather cultural and social forces are responsible for it. Furthermore Freud said that neurosis is caused by fixated energy and battles of the personality. In contrast Horney describes that it is caused by disturbed interpersonal relationships during the childhood which could be homes which are advancing feelings of anxiety. According to Horney, children handle these situations of anxiety by developing strategies for dealing with people who threaten them. But sometimes children carry their anxiety of interacting with people to their adulthood. Horney finds out that there are three different types of interaction which neurotics adopt to eliminate experiences that causes anxiety. The first one is moving toward people which means they cling to everybody, second moving against people that means that they fight against everybody and third moving away from people that means to kick off the world. Ryckman, Thornton, & Gold (2009) based their study on Horney’s Theory and they investigated if competition avoidance could be a basic personality dimension. They accomplished six studies and as a result they find out that participants with a higher level of competition avoidance have higher levels of neuroticism. That means they have a greater fear of success and failure which is based on a lower desire to get into situations of competition. Furthermore they showed that they have a lack of self-confidence in achievement situations. In comparison to people who avoid competition, the authors did research about Hypercompetitives who are according to Horney ruthless success hunters who care only about the affection or approval of others in situations in which it is expedient to do so (Horney, 1945). They find out that the participants of the study who have high hypercompetitiveness are higher in neuroticism and lower in self-actualization. These results can be transferred to the business world without any problems. There it can be used for evaluating new staff by implementing situations of competition in assessment trainings or even to evaluate employees who are already working in the company.

The Trait Approach

Gordon Allport, Page 158

The trait approach is a very important part of study of personality. A trait is a relatively stable characteristic that leads people to act like they do. The theory focuses on differences between human beings and tries to identify the characteristics of every human being. Allport was one of the most important researchers concerning trait theory. In his work he figured out three types of trait. First, the cardinal trait that dominates the behavior of human beings which is very seldom. Second the central trait, which can be located in every person and which is a general trait. These traits build the foundation for the behavior of humans. But the cardinal traits are much more dominant. The last traits, which he explained, are the secondary traits. These characteristics appear rarely and are mostly known only by good friends. For the completeness of the theory and for the whole picture of a human’s personality, they have to be included.

Marketing and Human Resources Management are parts of the business which have to handle with employees or customers who both have their individual personality. That is the reason why Allport’s approach offers a lot of information these sections. According to that individuals’ value priorities are influenced by their perception of reality and they are the “dominating force” (Lichtenstein & Dade, 2008) in life because they direct all activities of an individual towards the achievement of his/her needs. This can help to understand why people behave in the way they do. Or it can help to create a work atmosphere, workplace and compensation system, which are in common with the employees needs. This leads to a higher level of motivation and both sides will have a benefit.

Henry Murray, Page 161

Murray was the opinion that needs are the most important reason for the motivation of people to act. He said that the behavior is affected and driven by needs which are based in the unconscious part of personality. They let people react in a certain way when they are in different situations. In his eyes the reason for the existence of needs is the satisfaction of the absence of something. Murray divided the needs into two groups which he called primary needs, like need for water and food and secondary needs, which he called psychogenic needs. According to his research, Murray said that these psychogenic needs happen in the unconscious part of personality and they are very important for the personality. Murray’s approach also built the foundation for later researchers and his knowledge was implicated in different parts of business.

Especially the field of marketing uses Murray’s approach to develop the best strategy. One example is the Thematic Apperception Test (T.A.T.). Zober (1965) tested the T.A.T. to find a tool which can improve the marketing research. He concludes that using pictures is acceptable and it can improve the effectiveness of other techniques to get information about the consumer’s motivation.

The Big Five Model, Page 164

The Big Five model is a description model which is based on the analysis of dictionaries and empirical data driven research and which describes the personality. At the beginning Allport and Odbert created a list of traits by scanning the dictionary and they encouraged the scientist to reduce the number of traits to most important ones. At the end of this research the investigators agreed that there are five central traits which dominate the personality. These five traits are neuroticism which is some scientists call Emotional Stability, extraversion, openness which is sometimes called intellect, agreeableness and conscientiousness. Even if the traits above are based on the researches of many scientists there is still criticism. Some scientists are the opinion that the model has limitations because it does not explain the whole personality of humans. The researchers used factor analysis to find the dimensional structure of personality traits, which is often criticized that the basis, for choosing among solutions with different numbers of factors, is not universally-recognized. Furthermore the model is not based on a theory. That means it is founded on data-driven researches of certain people.

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But although some people criticize the Big Five Model, it is used in different matters in the business environment. In their research Lounsbury, Smith, & Levy (2009) found out that there is a difference between business majors and non-business majors regarding to the Big Five traits. The results of the research could be useful for counseling students who think about choosing a major in business and for business majors who plan their careers. Because the knowledge, about which traits will be needed and which traits they really have, can support this decision and help to do the right choice.

The Biological Approach

Hans Eysenck’s Theory of personality, Page 232

In comparison to former researchers Eyseneck argued in his research that the differences between the people’s psychology is based on genetic factors. He developed a model which he founded on empirical data by surveying a lot of people. In this model the personality of every individual is a result of the development of the dimensions introversion – extraversion and stability – instability (neuroticism). Later Eysenck added another dimension which he called psychoticism. This dimension is characterized by a behavior that is not conform to society’s norms. At the top there are the super-traits extraversion, neuroticism and psychoticism which seem to be very stable during time and different situations. The bottom level of every trait is build by states which can be very alterable. In his opinion up and downturns in cortical arousal are responsible for extraversion. It appears not plausible why introvert people are more aroused than extravert people. But its effect on behavior is that introvert people aspire to lower stimulation and extravert people aspire to increase their arousal by more activity or any other kind of behavior that stimulates.

Eysencks approach is a module for business psychology today. Lynn (1969) observed what characters an entrepreneur has and what characteristics are dominant. This is very important when you decide to start a business. You have to ask yourself if your personality is capable with the specification of the job. An analysis can help you to prevent choosing a job in a business you are not capable for or hiring employees who cannot handle with these specifications because they have not the capable characteristics. Theories like that make recruitment more effective and provide a step forward because human resource manager don’t have to rely only on their instinct.

The Humanistic Approach

Carl Rogers, Page 292

In comparison to Freud, the foundation of Roger’s theory is the singleness of every human being. His basic thought of the personality is the drive of humans to reach self-realization and self-actualization. Everybody has to deal with the environment during his childhood and teenage. These experiences have an influence on the development of the self concept. It can happen that some people develop a positive self concept and reach their goal. He called this people fully functioning. And of course it could happen that some people develop a negative self-concept. The self concept consists of the “Ideal-self” which means the expectations of the society regarding to oneself and the own wishes of characteristics and abilities, the “Real-self” which means the characteristics and abilities someone really have and the individual reality which is responsible for the apperception of impulses caused by the environment. If the “Ideal-self” and the “Real-self” differ too much, there is the possibility to develop mental-health problems. If the self-concept is threatened Roger observed that people use distortion as a defense mechanism. He called this process subception. According to Roger there are seven essential factors which the parents have to care about during their children’s childhood to provide them the possibility for the development of a healthy self concept. These factors are: gratuitous love, value, identity and interest, autonomy, stimulation and support, safety, security and reliability above all key conditions and at least admitting of feelings.

Rogers Theory is used in marketing researches today. Especially in consumer behavior the business world fall back on one of his motivation factors – the self actualization. According to Hamm & Cundiff (1969) the gathering of information can be supported by studying about measuring the “perception of products descriptive of the subjects’ Self- and Ideal-Self” and measuring “the degree of satisfaction of the need for self-actualization”. Because people who are able to reach a high satisfaction level of the self-actualization need have different product notions than customers who have a lower level of satisfaction regarding to these need.

Abraham Maslow, Page 297

Maslow’s theory divides five types of needs which are sorted in a hierarchical way regarding to their acuteness. The first needs are the physiological needs, second the safety needs, third the belonging and love needs, fourth esteem need and at least the need for self-actualization. The pyramidal design means that the needs on the bottom appear earlier in the development. Maslow based his theory on two assumptions, the principle of deficit which consists of the deficit needs of the lower first four steps of the pyramid and the principle of progression. The principle of deficit means that people are striving for satisfaction of their unsatisfied needs. The principle of progression says that the behavior of human beings is motivated by that need of all unsatisfied needs which has the lowest hierarchical position. People can only reach the next step of the pyramid when they have satisfied they former step (need). That means that the next step begins to have an influence on the behavior after the former need is satisfied. The last need, self-actualization, also called needs growth, is a special need that cannot be completely satisfied.

In the business environment Maslow’s approach is accepted until today and is especially implemented in Human Resource Management and Marketing. For example Whittington & Evans (2005) discuss the influence of Maslow’s Theory on the development of job design, the motivation of employees and the evolution of leadership. The approach of Maslow provides as a guide for managers to help them recognizing individual differences between employees which are the basement for understanding employee’s behavior. It also provides the foundation for models which focus on goal-setting to motivate employees.

Basic principles of conditioning, Page 362

The classical conditioning, a behavioral learning approach which is founded by Pawlow, says that you can add a reflex to a natural reflex by learning. One example is Pawlow’s Dog. Every time the dog gets his food, a bell was ringing. After they repeat this procedure several times, Pawlow could observe that the dog produces spittle when he hears only the bell ringing. This reaction was caused because the dog was taught that every time the bell rings, he will get food. The technique of classical conditioning can also be used to treat anxieties or symptoms which are similar to anxieties. The second type of conditioning is the operant conditioning which you can call in common language “learning by punishment or reinforcement”. That means that the frequency a behavior which was spontaneous in its origins can be changed by using punishment or reinforcement. If you use reinforcement the person knows that his behavior is good and he will repeat it. By using punishment the person learns that his behavior is not right and the person will stop behaving in this way.

But how is conditioning used in the business world? Conditioning is especially used in marketing offices to make their product and advertising attractive for customers. There are many studies about how to influence the customer by conditioning. All of them are based on Pawlow’s and Skinner’s study. Webb (1999) discusses in his book how marketing affect the customers. For the customers a new product is the same like the bell for Pawlow’s dog at the beginning, it has a very little meaning. Now this is the task of marketing, to give the product a meaning. To make them feel good about the product trough attaching an affective feeling state like happiness or love.

Social cognitive Theory

The theory describes that parts of an individual’s knowledge acquisition are acquired by observing other people. Individuals are learning from other people by observing what they do. Even though Scientists support this theory, that there is an influence on development engendered by observing behavior which occurs in someone’s environment, they think that an individual is just as important in affecting the development of moral. In opposite to the conditioning theory, where individuals are regarded as passive-reacting objectives, the social cognitive theory, developed by Bandura, explains individuals as active-reacting objectives. People need a context to start the learning process. Observing the behavior of other people and the evaluation of this behavior and its consequences support the own behavior in the future. Behavior is no longer caused only by external influences, it is also influenced by the cognitive evaluation of the acting individual.

The knowledge about the social cognitive theory is introduced in the business world in almost every company today. Especially manufacturing companies teach their workers by social cognitive methods. When you have a look on car manufactures, you can see that the workers first will be introduced in their working place on the production line by observing their colleagues for the first days. As is well known, the constraints on human working m

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