Personality traits and organizational behaviour

Those personality traits which affect the organizational behaviour of a person are :

1. Authoritarianism : It was developed by the psychologist Adorno to measure susceptibility to autocratic, fascistic, or anti-democratic appeals. It was later extended to human personality. Authoritarians are oriented towards conformity of rules and regulation. They prefer stable and structured work environment. They believe obedience and respect for authority and blind acceptance of authority. They are conservatives. They are concerned with toughness and power, close minded and less educated. They make good followers, work better under directive supervision and are more productive within authoritarian organizational structure.

2. Bureaucratic Personality : It is based upon respect for organizational rules and regulations. Unlike authoritarian person, bureaucratic person's acceptance of authority is not total and blind. A bureaucratic person values subordination, conformity to rules, impersonal and formal relationships. These people are not innovative. They do not like taking risks. They are better supervisors when the type of work is routine, repetitive and proceduralized.

3. Machiavellianism (Mach) : Niccolo Machiavelli wrote in the 16th century on how to gain and use power. This personality trait named after Machiavelli are :

(i) A Mach man is pragmatic, maintain emotional distance and believes that ends can justify means.

(ii) High Mach people flourish when they interact face to face with others.

(iii) They have high self-confidence and high self esteem.

(iv) They are specially successful in exploiting structured situations and vulnerable people. We cannot conclude whether high Machs make good employees or not. The answer will depend upon the type of the job and whether moral and ethical values are considered in evaluating the performance of a person.

4. Introversion and Extroversion : These two terms are associated with the interpersonal behaviour of an individual and his sociability. Extroverts are gregarious and sociable individuals while introverts are shy, quiet and retiring. Extroverts are more suitable for positions that require considerable interaction with others. Managerial positions are dominated by extroverts. An introvert works best alone in a quiet office without external interruption or influence.

5. Problem-solving Style : There are the following four problem solving styles :

(i) Sensational Feeling Style : These people are dependable, friendly, social and they approach facts with human concerns. These people are pragmatic and methodical. Some suitable areas of jobs for these people are teaching, customer relations, social workers and marketing.

(ii) Sensation Thinking Style : They are practical, logical, decisive and sensitive to details. These people prefer bureaucratic type organizations. They are not highly suitable for jobs requiring interpersonal relations. But these people are more skilled in technical jobs, e.g., production, accounting, engineering and computers.

(iii) Intuition Feeling Style : They are enthusiastic, people oriented, charismatic and helpful. The professions which are suited to this style are pubic relations, advertising, politics and personal.

(iv) Intuition Thinking Style : These people are very creative, energetic, ingenious and like jobs which are challenging in terms of design and analysis such as system design, law, research and development, top management and so on.

6. Achievement Orientation : The people with very high achievement orientation strive to do things in a better way. They feel that their success or failure is due to their actions. These people do not like to perform easy tasks or tasks where the failure rate is more. These people like to the acts with moderate difficulties. The high achievers will do better in sports, management and sales.

7. Locus of Control : It refers to an individual's belief that events are either with one's control (internal locus of control) or are determined by forces beyond one's control. Some people believe that they are the masters of their own fate. They are labelled as internals. Other people see themselves as pawns of fate. This type is called externals. A person's perception of the source of his or her fate is termed locus of control.

Personality Traits Theories

• Big five personality traits.

• Holland's Typology of Personality and Congruent Occupations.

• Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

Characteristics of Internal Locus of Control

(i) Internals have more control over their own behaviour. They believe that they are the master of their own destiny.

(ii) Internals are more active in seeking more information to make decisions.

(iii) Internals prefer skill achievements outcomes.

(iv) These people are less likely to use coercion.

(v) They are more independent.

(vi) They prefer participative management.

(vii) They hold jobs of higher status and advance more rapidly in their careers.

(viii) They have better health habits. Their incidents of sickness and absenteeism are lower. (ix) Internals prefer intrinsic rewards.

Characteristics of External Locus of Control

(i) They are less satisfied with their jobs. They have higher absenteeism rates.

(ii) The prefer directive management.

(iii) He is at mercy of destiny, chance or other people.

(iv) He believes that everything will happen by the will of God.

(v) He feels that outside forces are affecting the events in his life.

(vi) He is more interested in job security and not in advancement of careers.

(vii) Externals prefer extrinsic awards.

8. Self Esteem : It refers to the feeling of like or dislike for oneself. It is the degree of respect a person has for himself. A few of the research findings about self-esteem are :

(i) Self-esteems is directly related to the expectations for success.

(ii) People with high esteem will choose unconventional job and take more risks in job selections. People with low esteem will choose conventional jobs.

(iii) People with low self esteem are more susceptible to external influence than those of high self esteem.

(iv) People with low esteem tend to be concerned with pleasing others.

(v) High esteems are more satisfied with their job than the low esteems.

(iv) High esteem people are very friendly and affectionate. Low esteem people are depressed

and blame others for their own failures. (vii) High esteem people are high performers while low esteem people are poor performers.

9. Self Monitoring : It is a personality trait that measures an individual's ability to adjust his behaviour to external situational factors. The following are the features :

(i) Individuals with high self monitoring adjust with external situational factors.

(ii) High self monitors can behave differently in different situations. Low self monitors cannot deviate their behaviour.

(iii) The high self monitors tend to pay closer attention to the behaviour of others.

(iv) High self monitors will be more successful in managerial positions.

10. Risk Taking : An impulsive person is a high risk taking manager. He will make rapid decision. A very conscious and low risk taking manger will be slow in taking decision. The job of a broker in a brokerage firm demands high risk taking person. The job of an accountant may be filled up with low risk taking trait.

11. "Type A" and "Type B" Personality : People who are impatient, aggressive and highly competitive are termed as 'Type A' personality. But those who are easy going and noncompetitive are termed as 'Type B' personality. Type A people tend to be very productive as they work very hard. Type A people are very impatient, more irritable and have poor judgement. Type B people do better on complex tasks involving judgement and accuracy. Great sales persons are usually Type A's while senior executives are generally Type B.

From the above mentioned personality traits, it becomes very clear that understanding of personality is immense help in the selection of right kinds of people for different jobs. Analysis of an individual's personality will reveal his strong and weak points. A person may be unfit for one job but may be fit for another job. Understanding the personality will also help in designing the training programmes for the personnel in the organization. Personality has a great influence on work performance. Personality is the major determinant of the person holding the key job.

Personality Psychology is a branch of psychology that studies personality and individual differences. Its areas of focus include:

• Constructing a coherent picture of a person and his or her major psychological processes.

• Investigating individual differences, that is, how people can differ from one another.

• Investigating human nature, that is, how all people's behaviour is similar.

One emphasis in this area is to construct a coherent picture of a person and his or her major psychological processes Another emphasis views personality as the study of individual differences, in other words, how people differ from each other. A third area of emphasis examines human nature and how all people are similar to one another. These three viewpoints merge together in the study of personality.

Personality can be defined as a dynamic and organized set of characteristics possessed by a person that uniquely influences his or her cognitions, motivations and behaviors in various situations. The word "personality" originates from the Latin persona, which means mask. Significantly, in the theatre of the ancient Latin-speaking world, the mask was not used as a plot device to disguise the identity of a character, but rather was a convention employed to represent or typify that character.

The pioneering American psychologist, Gordon Allport (1937) described two major ways to study personality, the nomothetic and the idiographic. Nomothetic psychology seeks general laws that can be applied to many different people, such as the principle of self-actualization, or the trait of extraversion. Idiographic psychology is an attempt to understand the unique aspects of a particular individual.

The study of personality has a rich and varied history in psychology, with an abundance of theoretical traditions. The major theories include dispositional (trait) perspective, psychodynamic, humanistic, biological, behaviorist and social learning perspective. There is no consensus on the definition of "personality" in psychology. Most researchers and psychologists do not explicitly identify themselves with a certain perspective and often take an eclectic approach. Some research is empirically driven such as the "Big 5" personality model whereas other research emphasizes theory development such as psychodynamics. There is also a substantial emphasis on the applied field of personality testing.

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