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This article provides an analytical view of the relationship between Big Five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness to Experience) and Job work performance. This article also discusses about the combination of the Big Five traits and Psychological Capital (hope, optimism and resilience) as an important factor of job performance. This also explores the importance of Big Five Factors and Psycap in personnel selection, performance appraisal, motivation, training management on the basis of contemporary research.
A number of researches and surveys have already indicated that there is a very significant relationship between personality (especially traits) and work performance and also success in professional and personal Life. Paul Harris rightly said -“Personality has the power to uplift, the power to depress, the power to curse, and the power to bless”.
Though it has been considered as crucial attribute there is no universally accepted definition of the personality. We commonly say that a person has a very strong personality or simply his personality is weak. According to Trait Theory Personality is observable patterns of behavior that last over time. According to Freud’s psychoanalytic or psychodynamic theory Personality is the unconscious determinants of behavior. (Fred Lathan’s Organizational Behavior). Indian literature also speaks about Triguna of mind mainly Satta, Raja, and Tomo and there are Indian versions of definition of personality
Sri Aurobindo in his “Essays on the Gita says “We have before us three powers, the Purushottama as the Supreme truth into which we have to grow, the Self and the Jiva. The supreme spiritual nature of being, the Para Prakriti, free from any limitation by the conditioning ignorance, is the nature of Purushottama. In the impersonal self, there is the same divine nature, but there it is in its state of eternal rest, equilibrium, inactivity, Nivriti. Finally, for activity, for Pravriti, the Para Prakriti becomes a spiritual personality, the Jiva.”
There was a long standing debate, whether human personality is driven more by nature or nurture. No doubt environment (nature) has a great impact in a person’s personality development, but also most of the behavioral scientist now agreed that gene (nature) has a significant contribution in a person’s personality. As American Psychological Association says “Studies over the past 20 years of twins and adopted children have firmly established that there is a genetic component to just about every human trait and behavior, including personality, general intelligence and behavior disorders.” (Fred Lathan’s Organizational Behavior).
In fact environment, gene or heredity, education, grooming, learning and brain all plays a significant role in a personality development.
Different research on this topic says personality traits are most relevant factors to deduce the relationship between employee’s personality with productivity and work performance. With the lights of existing research and literatures, this article tries to explore this relationship. In particular between job performance and Big Five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness and Openness to experience).
This article also tries to find connections between the employee personality traits and latest concept of Psychological capital (Positive psychology of hope, optimism and resilience).
In simple language this is basic or fundamental five self-determining dimensions of the personality discovered by Norman, Tupes and Christal (1963). This consensus was created as a result of comprehensive study and a lot of effort invested in this over last 50 years in research. Big Five are Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience.
These five traits have been identified from using almost every major personality inventory and analyzing 1500 adjectives in adjective English (Goldberg, 1990) and also in many other languages and generalized across the culture, source of ratings, measures, heritability of traits.
(Relationship of Personality to Performance Motivation: A Meta-Analytic Review by Timothy A. Judge and Remus Ilies University of Florida)
There has been a number of research is done in this area of behavior science Study of "Heckman and Rubinstein 2001",the Five Factor Model of Personality (Costa and McCrae, 1992)DelVecchio, Goldsmith; Jones et al., 2006,Study by Luthans, Barrick and Mount, Tupes and Chrystal and many are very good contributor for the gradual maturation of this concept.
Here are the characteristics of Big Five personality traits on the basis of different research literatures and scientist like Barrick & Mount, Goldberg and others.
Extraverts are Sociable, Expressive, and spontaneous, outgoing, talkative, assertive, gregarious, confident, determined persons.
Cooperative, kind, merciful warm, polite sympathetic, caring, courteous, trusting, sympathetic, and affectionate.
Trustworthy, systematized, self-disciplined, persistent, responsible, thorough or comprehensive, hardworking, observant, vigilant responsible, systematized and determined
stressed, moody, nervous, annoyed, petulant, unsociable, nervous, embarrassed, unclear, disbelieving, unconfident, fearful, and unhappy. Neurotic person find it hard to believe other.
Inquisitive, academic, innovative, creative, cultured, flexible, imaginative, out of box thinker, cultivated, curious, open-minded, keen to diversity, artistic
If we see the above Big Five personality traits and their characteristics we can easily think that these characteristics of a human being or an employee in an organization must have some impact in his or her performance and productivity for his or her specific job role without the help of any supportive research data. We can guess that all of these traits are not suitable for all types of job and surly some of these qualities support to perform well in some specific type of job. As an example, high neuroticism seems to be a problem for job performance and conscientiousness seems to be supportive to job productivity and performance. Importantly personality traits not only supports for measures in predicting job performance but also it can be used for
The following information is summarized after doing an extensive literature survey of contemporary research articles, reviews and relevant books on the subject. List for the same is being given in Reference and bibliography section. Discussion of detail result with meta-analysis is not in the scope of this article hence only key fact and findings have been highlighted below.
Extraversion (Sociable, Expressive, and spontaneous, outgoing, talkative, assertive, gregarious):
Some recent study reveals in some cases employee’s psychological capital overpowers (which is related to work satisfaction and employee’s subjective well-being) the impact of big five personality traits. Other research shows that with regards to coping mechanism in the work environment, both Big five and Psycap are significantly related and an important construct to measure this.
By analyzing the outcome of the multiple research, we find for an employee’s 5 basic dimension of personality known as the Big 5 are very crucial
for job performance. All traits are not fit for all types of job. So if these traits can be used properly, then management can optimally select
appropriate workforce for a job. Also an appropriate job can be assigned based on the personality trait and it can enhance productivity and
performance and can be very helpful to achieve organizational goals. It can provide a framework for selection, performance appraisal, training and development. This study also finds that other than the Big Five the latest concept of Positive Psychological Capital (HOPE, OPTIMISM, and RESILIENCE) is also very impactful in employee job satisfaction and in turn job performance. Psycap is related to a person’s subjective wellbeing (Health, Relationship and work satisfaction) and it can overpower Big Five traits. Some research reveals that combination of Big Five and Psycap is a good construct can be very significant to measure some aspect of behavior like coping mechanism. Combination of Big Five and
Psycap and their relationship contain the future scope of research.
In today’s business world the teams or groups are more significant than an individual contributor. A manger should be equipped with this knowledge of behavioral science to effectively manage his team, which consist of different individuals with different personality trait and having different level of Psychological capital. So this is not only a subject for the people in the HR department, but also very crucial, even for a technical manager in his journey from “GOOD TO GREAT”