Personality: Introduction, Meaning, Concept, Characteristics, Theories, Traits (2023)

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Personality means the constitution of mental as well as the physical health of an individual. Personality may be defined as the characteristic pattern of behaviour that determines an individual’s adjustment to the environment or situation.

Learn about:- 1. Introduction to Personality 2. Meaning of Personality 3. Definitions 4. Concept 5. Nature 6. Characteristics 7. Determinants 8. Stages of Personality Formation

9. Attributes 10. Theories 11. How to Predict Personality Traits? 12. Big Five Personality Traits 13. Methods Used for Measuring Personality 14. Development of Personality 15. Variables.

Personality: Introduction, Meaning, Concept, Characteristics, Theories, Traits, Stages, Development, Attributes and Theories

Personality – Introduction

In modern organisations, personality attributes of a manager are considered important, since they affect the entire behavioural pattern of the person. In common parlance, personality refers to the impression, which an individual forms on others through his personal attributes making attractive or unattractive view.


It is a fact that psychological factors of an individual are rarely known to others. An individual’s personality is not a superficial fact or occurrence that can be easily understood, merely on his personal appearance. Personality is the whole aspect of an individual from general point of view. It includes a person’s physical, psychological and emotional aspects.

Personality has come from a Latin word ‘Persona’ meaning to speak through (mask). As in the ancient days masks were worn in Greece and Rome by actors, while enacting plays. Thus, personality is used for influencing others through external appearance. However, personality is not the external appearance alone.

Personality, which makes an individual to stand apart, is the impression of characteristic attributes. It is an aggregate of an individual’s physical, psychological and behavioural aspects contributing to his ‘good personality’ or no personality, according to the presence or absence of the characteristic attributes. Some of these, which are of significant nature, are worth mentioning.


i. Omnibus – This personality view is the aggregate of recognizable pattern of properties-of qualities.

ii. Integration and configuration – Under this view of personality, the organisation of personal attributes is stressed.

iii. Hierarchical – This aspect mainly deals with adaptation, survival and evolution of the person to the environment.

iv. Distinctiveness – the definition of this category speaks the uniqueness of each personality.


From the above areas, G.W. Allport has drawn his definition on personality as “Personality is the dynamic organisation within the individual of those psychological systems that determine his unique adjustment to his environment”.

In his definition, Allport has touched upon the dynamic aspect of individual’s psychological system, which makes the adjustment with the environment.

Personality – Meaning

Personality has a long history. It dates from the time of Greek physician Hippocrates (460-377 BC). In order to understand the behaviour of people in the organisational setting, we need to know the basic nature of personality. It is a psycho-social phenomenon, which analyses the cognitive features and presentation of individual in the society.

Personality is made up of the characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviour of an individual. These attributes make a person unique. Personality originates within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. Personality exhibits distinctive qualities of a person, especially those distinguishing personal characteristics that make one socially appealing. If a person wins an election on his own, society may say that he/she has won “more on personality than on capability”.

Personality reveals distinctive traits of mind and behaviour of a person. It is a pattern of collective character which includes behavioural, mental, temperamental, and emotional traits of a person that makes one socially appealing. It exhibits the quality of a person, which is visible and impresses or disturbs others. For example, the statements such as “He has a pleasing personality Raju is a Crude persona” reveal the collective characters of a person which exhibits positive or negative personality.

“Personality is the supreme realisation of the innate idiosyncrasy, of a living being. It is an act of courage thing in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitute the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal, conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination.” — C.G. Jung

“Personality is the relatively stable set of psychological attributes that distinguish one “person from another.” — Lawerence Ervin


“Personality refers to the relatively stable pattern of behaviours and consistent internal states that explain a person’s behaviour tendencies.” — RT Hogan.

“Personality is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others.” — Stephen P. Robbins

The basic components of personality refer to the personality trait. Many researchers have shown interest to know about individual’s personality as it is linked with behaviour. If one can predict the behaviour of individuals, modification of behaviour can be done in a smoother way towards achieving the organisational goals. Each personality factor represents a collection of related or cluster of traits. These clusters of traits determine whether the individual is achievement-oriented, dominating, responsible, etc.


Personality – Definitions

A number of definitions are given in respect of personality in order to give meaningful one. Let us extract some standard definitions.

According to Gordon Allport, personality is “the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychological systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment.”

Fred Luthans defines the term personality as, “how people affect others and how they understand and view themselves, as well as their pattern of inner and outer measurable traits and the person-situation intervention.”


Robbins defines personality as, “the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts until others.”

Thus, personality devotes for the methods of affecting others, reacting to others’ actions and interacting with others. These methods are chosen by individuals based on several factors. Important one among these is their traits.

A careful analysis of the above definitions will observe the followings:

i. Personality may be defined as the characteristic pattern of behaviour that determines an individual’s adjustment to the environment or situation.

ii. It describes how an individual affects others, how he understands himself and his pattern of internal as well as external measurable traits.

iii. It is the dynamic organisation within an individual of those psychological systems which determines his unique adjustment to the environment.


It is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others.

Personality – Concept

Personality means the constitution of mental as well as the physical health of an individual.

In his medical text book, “Principles and Practice of Medicine,” Davidson states about personality, which is socially acquired after having a genetic basis, over the course of time. The individual arrives at an adult psychological stage after passing successively through a series of maturational stages.

According to McClelland, “Personality is the most adequate conceptualisation of an individual’s behaviour with all its details, which the scientist can provide in a moment.”


In the definition given by Davidson, there are three different aspects-Social, Physiological and Psychological of one’s personality and its development and growth. McClelland has stressed mainly the psychological aspects effecting desirable changes in the behaviour and personality of an individual.

Hence, both these definitions throw some light on personality development and individual behaviour. Thus, both these definitions have utmost applicability and usefulness in organisational behaviour apart from the comprehensive approach made by Allport on the subject.

Personality of an individual is unique, personal and a major determinant of his behaviour. Because of differences in personality, individuals differ in their manner of responding to different situations. Some personality theorists emphasize the need to recognize the person-situation interaction, i.e., the social learning aspects of personality. Such an interpretation is highly meaningful to the study of human behaviour.

Personality – Nature

The nature of every individual is attributed to his personality. Generally, an individual asserts through his behavioural characteristics. Matured persons with their longstanding experience, take an objective attitude towards themselves and others. They also introspect, so as to help improve upon their nature and behaviour.


i. Self-Conscious:

There is a vast difference between human being and other species. The special feature of his nature is ‘self-consciousness’, which makes him aware of his surroundings and self-identity.

ii. Adaptability to Environment:

Personality, off and on, does make adjustments according to the changes desired. Resistance to change, means a conflict with tension and unpleasantness. Normally, people adapt to the changed situations and challenges. Adaptation to new situations often follows a modification in behavioural pattern leading to a smooth working condition and a conducive environment.

iii. Goal Oriented:

Persons strive for achievement of goal. Individuals do have the drive to achieve goals. Wants and needs lead to motive. The desire of an individual directs the behaviour for the fulfilment of the same. Both the physiological and social motives make behavioural changes.


iv. Integration of Personality:

Personality works in consistency by integrating various activities (of mental and also experiences of the individual) together. Personality differs in the form of its integration. Persons with developed personalities are highly integrated with values and experiences. This depends on the standards of behaviour, which they have acquired right from the childhood.

Personality – Characteristics

If you apply for a job you’ll be asked to list your personal qualities. Employers are assuming that your personality is to an extent fixed and won’t change much from one year to the next, Most of us can relate to that idea, but where does our personality come from? Is it in our genes or is it created more by the circumstances of our childhood?

Of course the answer is both. There are bound to be genes which influence our behaviour simply because our brain and the chemicals that operate within it are made by genes. But trying to find any one of the hundreds of genes involved is notoriously difficult. The genetics of behaviour is complex, because personalities are complex. Scientists are only just beginning to have any success in understanding how genes influence behaviour.

i. Personality is organized and constant

ii. Personality is psychological, but is used by biological needs and processes.

iii. Personality causes behaviour to happen.

iv. Personality is displayed through thoughts, feelings, behaviours and many other ways.

Personality – Top 3 Determinants: Heredity, Environment and Situation

Different theories propose different factors that determine an individual personality. The most popular research work done by Freud deals with the identification of self-concept. Self-concept include things (factor) got by nature like gene, i.e., heredity and the biological formations and by nurture, i.e., through the social and environmental factors. The major determinants of personality are heredity, environment and situation.

Determinant # 1. Heredity:

Heredity refers to those factors, which predisposes to certain physical, mental and emotional states. It sets the outer parameters of an individual. It also limits the range of development of characters. The arrangement and structure of genes that are located in the chromosomes is passed around 20% to 50% from one generation to another. The studies reveal that twins though brought up in different places exhibit similar characters.

Thus, heredity is the transmission of qualities from ancestor to descendent through, a mechanism lying primarily in the genes. There are very many achievers in their own field like Sachin Tendulkar, U.R. Rao, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao, who gave a new turn to Indian economy and many such others, who are unique in their own, way. These achievers’ performance is directed by hereditary factor to certain extent.

Determinant # 2. Environment:

Environment refers to the surroundings in which the individuals are brought up. The environmental factors relating to the formation of personality includes culture, family, society upbringing and experiences. Experiences relate to the confrontation with that of family members, relatives, and friends and to the social groups, which they belong. Culture helps to find the similarity and difference in behaviour.

Family environment refers to the individual’s upbringing, the social and economic status the family holds and the size of the family. The society makes an individual to play different roles thus shaping his/her their personality. Environment tends to strengthen or weaken hereditary traits. For example, when an individual interacts with the environment through speech, his speech organs guarantee that he/she is learning to speak.

Determinant # 3. Situation:

Situation has an effect both on environment and heredity. Situation demands certain behaviour. Various psychologists have discovered what personality trait matters to an individual in his or her career. Being successful or unsuccessful depends upon how the individuals control their behaviour in various situations. For example, a candidate attending an interview may exhibit limited traits. The other trait or behaviour is concealed or not exhibited.

Personality – 4 Main Stages involved in the Personality Formation

Personality formation can mainly be divided into four stages, as given below:

1. Primary attachment

2. Family role and identification

3. Entering of a child into social world

4. Adolescent stage.

1. Primary Attachment:

It is a natural phenomenon that a child gets attached to a person(s) taking adequate care of the child. In this stage, the child after a few weeks starts responding with ‘a smile’ to whom it is attached. It also requires nourishment for proper growth. Normally, it resorts to crying for satisfaction of needs. During this period, a child is relatively passive and needs utmost care by those around.

2. Family Role and Identification:

This stage is between 2 and 6 years, during which the child understands the family interactions and some social normal, etc. It acquires sufficient knowledge to differentiate between father and mother (male and female). This is the stage of life, when child needs care, affection and recognition coupled with response to growth of personality.

3. Entering of Child into the Social World:

During this stage child starts adhering to the social norms by actively taking part in school life. He tries to be independent, as the major part of the day is spent outside home. The child imitates and adopts the qualities from friends, teachers and others.

4. Adolescent Stage:

The child’s personality may show much flexibility. During this period, certain traits are set aside and adoption of new traits takes place. This is the time, when bodily and sexual developments do occur.

A child normally has logical thinking between 7 and 8 years of age. When he attains the age of 13, there is every possibility of an ‘Abstract thinking’ and the process of ‘Reasoning’ are evident. From this stage, a child enters into the ‘Adult’, the prime stage of life.

Normal development of personality occurs through the process of identification and displacement, when conflict appears, identification and displacement are a common phenomena. Conflicts arise mainly due to physiological growth, frustration, and threat from outside. Tension is normally created by conflicts and the individual resorts to identification and displacement.

This process may be either partial or total. For example, an individual may hold his father’s role in high esteem in certain respects, however, in other respects, he may try to identify the qualities received from other people. Hence, the behaviour of an individual is the outcome of various identifications; likewise, the displacement also takes place in an individual.

Personality – 8 Major Personality Attributes that Govern Organisational Behaviour

The major personality attributes that govern OB are as follows:

Highlights of major personality attribute (SRI LASTMIA)

i. Locus of control.

ii. Self esteem

iii. Self-monitoring

iv. Risk taking

v. Type-A personality

vi. Introversion or Extroversion

vii. Authoritarianism

viii. Machiavellianism, and

ix. Achievement orientation.

The attributes in details:

Attribute # i. Locus of Control:

It may be defined as the degree to which people believe that they are the master of their own fate. In simple term, it can be described as the extent to which he believes that he knows everything.

There are two types of locus of control:

a. Internal locus of control which implies that the degree to which an individual controls himself without other’s assistance. In this case individual believes that he controls his destinies. Here the individual believe that his behaviour determines many of the events in his life. For example – individual with moderately strong internal locus of control is successful in his job career and lives. He performs his job better, copes better in stressful situation and is satisfied with challenging job and performance based rewards.

b. On the other hand External locus of control may be defined as the degree to which an individual is controlled by the help of other people. In this case individual believes that his life is controlled by outside forces. Here he believes that his behaviour determines chance, luck and fate. What happens to him is due to his luck or fate. For example – the individual with moderately strong external locus of control may not be successful in his jobs, career and lives.

Out of these two, internal locus of control is preferred more.

Attribute # ii. Self Esteem:

It signifies the degree of liking or disliking towards a particular object. In simple term, the extent to which an individual likes or dislikes himself, it defers from individual to individual. Some individual may have high self-esteem and some have low self-esteem.

The individual with high self-esteem believes the challenging job. But on the other hand the individual with /ore self-esteem depends on the receipt of positive evaluation from other. He is less likely to take unpopular stands.

Out of the two, high esteem individual is more satisfied with his job.

Attribute # iii. Self-Monitoring:

It connotes that the ability of an individual to adjust his behaviour with respect to external situation. In simple sense it is the sensitivity of an individual to adopt to the situational demand.

A high self-monitoring individual changes his behaviour easily based on the situational requirements than low self-monitoring individual. In this case, the behaviour of the individual plays a vital role from the organisational point of view.

Attribute # iv. Risk Taking:

It refers to the propensity to take risk. It is an integral part of decision taking in organisation.

An individual with high risk taking makes more rapid decision and use less information in making his choice than the low risk taking individual.

Attribute # v. Type – A Personality and Type-B Personality:

This indicates that the aggressive involvement in the organisational process to achieve more and more objectives. That means the type-A personality is based on active participation towards the organisational system. This type of personality is treated as positive personality.

The behaviours of type-A personality are:

a. Always moving, walking rapidly, talking and eating rapidly.

b. Impatient.

c. Does two things at the same time

d. Cannot cope up with leisure time.

e. Measures success with quantity

f. Aggressive and competitive

g. Always under time pressure

h. High competitiveness.

Type-B personality indicates the individual who is relaxed & incompetent. He is not serious about the objective of organisation to a great extent. This type of personality is rarely participating in an endless growing series of event in a decreasing amount of time.

The behaviour of Type-B personalities are:

a. Not concerned about time

b. Plays for fun not to win.

c. Relaxes without guilt

d. Has no pressing deadlines

e. Can reach higher position and promotion.

Attribute # vi. Introversion and Extroversion:

There two terms are normally associated with an individual’s sociability and interpersonal orientation.

The introversion is defined as those type of individuals who are shy and reserved, timid and quiet.

On the other hand extroversion refers to those type of individuals who are sociable, gregarious and assertive. This dimension deals with relationships with others.

Out of these two, extroversion individuals contribute more to organisational success.

Attribute # vii. Machiavellianism:

This is another attribute influencing OB. It refers to the extent to which an individual maintains emotional distance and believes that ends can justify means. This type of attribute is named after Niccolo Machiavellian who found out how people gain and manipulate power. This type of attribute is earmarked under two i.e. High Machiavellianism and Low Machiavellianism.

The individual with High Machiavellianism manipulates more & win more. This type of trait is exhibited in order to flourish more outcomes.

The high outcomes are obtained when he focuses on the following points:

a. When he interacts face to face with other indirectly.

b. To allow latitude for impoverishing when the situation is not structured nor has a minimum rules & regulation.

Attribute # viii. Achievement Orientation:

This is also another personality attribute which influences OB. This is the type it individual who is highly need to achieve and continuously strive to do things better. This type of individual may be high achiever or low achiever.

The high achiever individual looks for challenges having 50-50 chance of success.

To sum up, the above attributes are essential for building up healthy environment in the organisation provided due attention is given.

Personality – Top 5 Theories: Type Theory, Trait Theory, Psychoanalytic Theory, Social Learning Theory and the Humanistic Approach

Innumerable theories have been evolved on personality. Each theory exhibits one type of unique personality of an individual. However, following theories are considered to be more prominent among several theories.

These five theories are briefly explained in the following paragraphs:

1. Type Theory:

According to type theories, people are grouped into identifiable categories. One basis for classifying personalities is based on the physique. Sheldon proposed type theories and he feels that a relationship is sought to be established between features of body and personality. Thus, a short plump person (endomorph) is said to be sociable, relaxed and even-tempered; a tall, thin person (ectomorph) is characterized as restrained, self-conscious and fond of solitude; a heavy-set muscular individual (mesomorph) is described as noisy, callous, and fond of physical activity.

Classification of personalities on a physical basis is subjective.

i. Alfred Adler’s Psychological Types:

Alfred Adler postulates a single “drive” or motivating force behind all our behaviour and experience. By the time his theory had gelled into its most mature from, he called that motivating force the striving for perfection. It is the desire we all have to fulfil our potentials, to come closer and closer to our ideal. It is, as many of you will already see, very similar to the more popular idea of self-actualization.

Striving for perfection was not the first phrase. Adler used to refer to his single motivating force. His earliest phrase was the aggression drive, referring to the reaction we have when other drives, such as our need to eat, be sexually satisfied, get things done, or be loved, are frustrated. It might be better called the assertiveness drive, since we tend to think of aggression as physical and negative. But it was Adler’s idea of the aggression drive that first caused friction between him and Freud.

Freud was afraid that it would detract from the crucial position of the sex drive in psychoanalytic theory. Despite Freud’s dislike for the idea, he himself introduced something very similar much later in his life – the death instinct. Thus he came out with the following psychological types in his theory based on the energy level of the individuals.

ii. Henry Murray’s Psychogenic Needs:

American psychologist Henry Murray developed a theory of personality that was organized in terms of motives, presses, and needs. Murray described needs as a, “potentiality or readiness to respond in a certain way under certain given circumstances”.

Theories of personality based upon needs and motives suggest that our personalities are a reflection of behaviours controlled by needs. While some needs are temporary and changing, other needs are more deeply seated in our nature. According to Murray, these psychogenic needs function mostly on the unconscious level, but play a major role in our personality.

Murray’s Types of Needs:

a. Primary Needs – Primary needs are based upon biological demands, such as the need for oxygen, food, and water.

b. Secondary Needs – Secondary Needs are generally psychological, such as the need for nurturing, independence, and achievement.

Attributes or Needs which Influence Personality:

There are several attributes suggested by psychologists as parameters to identify a personality. All the people have these needs and on the basis of degree of these needs an individual’s personality can be identified.

Influences on Psychogenic Needs:

Each need is important of itself. But Murray believed that needs can be interrelated, can support other needs, and can conflict with other needs. For example, the need for dominance may conflict with the need for affiliation when overly controlling behaviour drives away friends, family, and romantic partners. Murray also believed that environmental factors play a role in how these psychogenesis needs are displayed in behaviour. Murray called these environmental forces, “presses.”

Thus, type theory focuses on needs, health and physical features to identify personality.

2. Trait Theory:

Another interesting approach to understand personality is the trait approach. A personality trait is understood as being an enduring attribute of a person that appears consistently in different situations. Each individual trait differs from the other individual in a unique way.

Psychologists working in the area of trait theory are concerned with two processes:

(i) Determining the basic traits that provide a meaningful description of personality and

(ii) Finding some way to measure them.

There are two ways of assessing personality traits – (a) the person describes himself by answering questions about this attitudes, feelings, and behaviours and (b) someone else evaluates the person’s traits either from what he knows about – the individual/or from direct observations of behaviour. For this, personality inventory or a rating scale is generally used.

3. Psychoanalytic Theory:

Sigmund Freud developed the first comprehensive personality theory, called psychoanalytic theory.

Freud saw personality as being- composed of three elements — id, ego, and super ego.

i. The Id:

The word ‘id’ is the Latin word for ‘it’ and refers exclusively to the innate component of personality. The id is the mental agency containing everything inherited, present at birth, and fixed in the individual’s constitution, especially instincts. The id, as the original personality system, expresses the primary principle of all human life — the immediate discharge of psychic scenery (libido) produced by animal drives.

Immediate tension reduction is called pleasure principle, and the id obeys it, manifesting itself in an impulsive and irrational manner, regardless of the consequences of its actions for others or its own self-preservation. Thus, “Id” is the primitive and unconscious part of the personality that contains instincts.

ii. The Ego:

Mental images do not satisfy needs. A man who is starving cannot satisfy his hunger by eating pictures. Reality should be considered. The ego develops out of the id because of the necessity for dealing with the real world. The hungry man must have food if the tension of hungry is to be reduced. Therefore, “The Ego” is the “executive” of the personality that is partly conscious and that meditates between the impulses of the Id, the prohibitions of the super ego and dictates of the reality.

iii. The Super Ego:

The super ego is the third part of the personality. It represents the internalized representation of the values and morals or society as taught to the child by and others. The super ego judges whether an action is right or wrong according to the standards of society. Superego is the moral arm of the personality that internalizes the standards and values of society and serves as the person’s conscience. These three elements, according to Freud, help an assessor to assess the personality.

4. Social Learning Theory:

Many activities of human behaviour is either learnt or modified by learning.

There are two ways of learning. Learning through reinforcement of direct experience, and learning by observing others. An individual can learn by observing the actions of others and this is called social learning theory. An interesting story is given in Box to have a deep understanding of what is social learning theory.

An individual’s action in a given situation depends upon the specific characteristics of a situation, the individual’s understanding of the situation, and past behaviour in similar situations.

The social learning theory focuses on behaviour patterns and cognitive activities like:

(a) Competencies;

(b) Developing cognitive Strategies;

(c) Outcome expectations; and

(d) Subjective value outcomes.

It also focuses on self-regulatory systems and plans, where the individual differences have self-imposed goals, rules guiding the individual’s behaviour.

5. The Humanistic Approach:

The humanistic approach share a common emphasis on man’s potential for self-direction and freedom of choice. They are concerned with the ‘self and the individual’s subjective experiences.

Carl Rogers Self Theory:

Carl Roger’s approach to personality is described as phenomenological. Phenomenology is the study of the individual’s subjective experience, feelings and private concepts as well as his views of the world and self. According to Roger, behaviour is dependent upon how one perceives the world. The theory emphasizes the self and its characteristics.

Thus in Rogers’ personality theory, there are two concepts – self and self-actualization. The self consist of all the ideas, perceptions and values that characterized “I” or “me”. It includes the awareness ‘what I am’? Self-actualization is the basic motivating force presenting the inherent tendency of the organism to develop all its capabilities in ways which serve to maintain or enhance the individual.

Personality – How to Predict Personality Traits?

According to Luthans the way people affect others as per their personality traits. Personality traits include- height, weight, facial features, colour, dimension, etc. Personality traits are enduring characteristics like shyness, submissiveness, laziness, timidity, loyalty, dynamism, aggressiveness, creativity, etc., exhibited in a large number of situations.

Allport and Odbert identified 17,953 personality traits. It is highly difficult to predict the individual behaviour based on such a large number of traits. R.B. Cattell reduced this number to 171. He further reduced them to 16 personality factors, or primary traits (See Table 13.1). The 16 factors are found to be generally steady and constant sources of behaviour. They help in predicting individual behaviour in specific situations.

1. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator:

This is a 100-question personality lest asking the respondents how they usually feel or act in particular situations. This is one of the most widely used personality tests.

According to the answers given by individuals they are classified as:

i. Extroverts or Introverts (E or I)

ii. Sensitive or Intuitive (S or N)

iii. Thinking or Feeling (T or F)

iv. Perceiving or Judging (P or J)

These arrangements are classified into 16 personality traits (as shown in Table 13.1).

People with INTJ viz., introverted, intuitive, thinking and judging have original minds, and great drive for their own ideas and purposes. Their characters are sceptical, critical, independent, determined and often stubborn.

ESTJs are- organizers, realistic, logical, analytical, decisive and have a natural inclination towards business/mechanics.

ENTPs are conceptualisers, innovative, individualistic and versatile entrepreneurs, resourceful in solving challenging problems.

The persons who created successful companies (Apple Computer, Honda Motors, Microsoft, Sony, Federal Express, etc.) are intuitive thinkers (NTs).

2. Big Five Model:

Personality traits of an executive/supervisor influences the behaviour of the employees in an organisation. Personality traits like talkative, smiling, and exhibitive in facial expressions and assertiveness are highly appropriate for executives to inspire, motivate and lead the subordinates.

Similarly, traits like openness and frankness of the managers reduce dysfunctional activities and conflicts and enable the subordinates to concentrate on work related activities and increase productivity. Mr. Jayasankaran of Delta Airlines attracts and impresses his subordinates due to his impressive height. Mr. Vasanta Rao of L&T is highly sociable. His subordinates are impressed with the way he conducts the meetings and directs his juniors.

The major personality traits which influence the job behaviour and job performance are labeled as the ‘Big-Five Personality Traits.’ These traits have emerged from the Research Studies.

They are:

I. Extroversion – Sociable, talkative and assertive.

II. Agreeableness – Good natured, cooperative and trusting.

III. Conscientiousness – Responsible, dependable, persistent and achievement-oriented.

IV. Emotional Stability – Calm, self-confident, secure, tense, insecure and nervous.

V. Openness to Experience – Imaginative and artistically sensitive.

3. The Self-Concept:

Almost all the people try to understand themselves by virtue of their qualities, characters, actions, reactions, responses, etc. This process in personality theory is called the self-concept. This process involves the interaction of the background, one’s own psychology, values, social, economic, religious and other internal factors of oneself. The concepts of self-esteem and self-efficacy are concerned with self-concept.

Mr. Michael of Human Resources Department of Lipton perceived in 1992 that he has the skills and competence of solving issues of the proposed corporate merger with Brooke Bond. This perception is referred to as self-esteem.

People’s self-esteem is concerned with their self-perceived competence and self-image. When Lipton merged with Brooke-Bond, Mr. Michael perceived that he could counsel and train the employees regarding the cultural diversity issues of the former Brooke Bond employees. This is called self-efficacy. Self-efficacy has to do with self-perceptions of how well a person can cope with situations as they arise.

Thus, self-esteem is concerned with the perceived competence while self-efficacy deals with the perceived performance based on the situation.

Personality – Big Five Personality Traits: Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability and Openness to Experience

1. Extroversion:

People get the energy from their preference of extroversion or introversion. The people who prefer extroversion get the energy from their interactions with other people. The people who prefer introversion get energy by spending time or doing the activities by themselves. Extroversion types people develop and maintain wide-range of social network while the introversion, type people narrow down their relationships to a few people.

According to Jung, even the introverts possess social skills, but prefer internal world of ideas, thoughts and concepts. In fact certain societies encourage and reward extroverts. Extroverts at workplace prefer variety and they don’t mind the interruptions at workplace by people/co-workers.

They prefer relationships over quality and quantity of output. In contrast, the introverts prefer complete concentration and least disturbances at workplace by people/coworkers and telephone calls. They prefer quality and quantity of output over relationships. Introverts prefer to work in isolation and concentrate on performance.

Extroversion represents a person’s interest in the external world. Person’s interest in the external world can be exhibited through sociability, talkativeness/gregariousness and assertiveness. Thus, this dimension deals with relationships with others. Extroverts are assertive, sociable, talkative, gregarious people and introverts are reserved, timid and quiet.

(a) Sociability:

Sociability is the ability of a person in maintaining interrelationship within a social group. Some executives possess the trait of maintaining social relations with their subordinates. They visit the subordinate’s houses; enquire about the subordinates’ health, financial, family, children’s educational and marriage issues. They participate in various social functions organized by the subordinates.

The employees with high social skills create, nurture and develop social networks. Such employees never feel the social relations as disturbance even at the workplace. Sociability of executives and superiors tend to result in positive job behaviour and improved job performance of subordinates.

Mr. Ravi, Human Resources Manager of Nutrine Confectionary Ltd., has been highly sociable, visits the employees’ families and monitors their welfare. During one summer when there was heavy demand for chocolates, employees refused to work beyond the scheduled hours despite his repeated requests.

Then Mr. Ravi arranged for a social get-together of the employees’ family members and explained to them the demands of the company regarding overtime work. The convinced family members influenced the employees to concede to the demand of the HR Manager. Thus, the sociability trait of Mr. Ravi resulted in positive job behaviour and enhanced the production of the company.

(b) Talkative:

People with talkative skills are with open-mind and speak their mind to others. They disseminate and share information with others without any hesitation. They also voice various issues, ventilate employee grievances and proact on various organizational and employee issues. Many executives, with their speaking skills attract and influence the subordinates regarding their job behaviour and performance. Mr. Mahajan of Grindwell Norton is a skilled speaker.

He is good at making presentations. He talks on various issues and attracts the employees and major customers. He makes enquiries with the employees regarding their family issues, welfare, etc. His subordinates are influenced by his abilities of voicing on various issues of the company, jobs, their personal issues, etc.

(c) Assertive:

Assertiveness is confirming one’s own ideas or actions confidently or defending oneself and/or others through positive arguments, declaring strongly or laying claims. Subordinates like the assertive character of their boss and mould their job behaviour and performance to his expectations. Mr. Rajiv of Mukand Industries never counts down on his employees though they commit mistakes.

In fact, he appreciates and defends them publicly. He calls them for discussions privately and makes them realize their mistakes. Similarly, he also defends himself through arguments, systematic analysis backed up with reasoning and cause-effect presentations. He attracts and influences his subordinates through his assertiveness.

2. Agreeableness:

Highly agreeable people are cooperative, warm and trusting, whereas less agreeable people are cold, disagreeable and antagonistic. Individuals with agreeable traits think from the view- point of their employees or clients, accept the proposals, needs or requests of the employees. Employees’ job behaviour and job performance is influenced with such a trait. Individuals with such a trait are good natured, cooperative and trusting.

Mr. Uday of Kotak Mahindra enters into the shoes of his employees and customers and analyses the issues and problems from their point of view. Added to this, his positive attitude towards others makes him to exhibit his trait of accepting the proposals or requests or needs of his subordinates. His subordinates are influenced positively by his trait of agreeableness.

(a) Good Natured:

Good nature includes respecting the employees’ ideas, views, opinions, values and considering them in decision-making. Further, it includes involving the employees in decision-­making, helping and guiding them in their work. Good nature of the superiors influence the job behaviour and performance of the subordinates positively.

Mr. Chowdary of Voltas respects the ideas, values and opinion of each of his subordinates. He encourages their participation in various activities and involvement in decision-making. They visit the workplace of his subordinates, offers suggestions, guide them and help them in their work. Employees in Voltas are influenced by the good nature and treatment given by Mr. Chowdary.

(b) Cooperative:

Cooperative traits regarding attitude and practice of superiors of an organization help the company in moulding the job behaviour and increasing the job performance.

Mr. Singh of Max India works jointly with his colleagues and subordinates, though; he has an independent work and independent office. Further, he shares his resources, time and expertise for the efficient performance of his subordinates and colleagues. Singh’s cooperation in attitude and practice influenced the job behaviour and performance of Max India to a greater extent through positive reciprocation of employees.

(c) Trusting:

Trust is worthiness of being relied upon or confidence in the truth of anything. It is resting on the integrity. Executives with the trait of trusting provide autonomy to the people, enable them to realize their potentialities and rise to the expectations of their boss. Executives can concentrate on strategic and policy issues.

Mr. Premji of WIPRO entrusts the work, broadly fixes the targets and gives freedom to the employees to achieve the targets. He proudly says that his employees achieve targets beyond his expectations. His employees happily reciprocate that their boss trusts them, which changed their behaviour and enhanced their performance.

3. Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness refers to governing or regulating the work activity by conscience. Conscientiousness is a measure of reliability. Persons with a high level of conscientiousness are reliable, organized, dependable and persistent; while persons with a low level are easily distracted, disorganised and unreliable. The conscientiousness trait of the executive changes the job behaviour and enhances the job performance of the subordinates. The conscientiousness trait includes responsibility, dependability, persistency and achievement-oriented.

Mr. Rajesh Chowdary, an executive of Bharat Heavy Plates and Vessels Limited (BHPVL) had no real pressure of work and responsibility to spend longer hours in the company, take risks, exert his energies, etc. But he worked sincerely beyond the expectations of the organisational culture and his colleagues. The responsive trait of Mr. Chowdary changed the work culture of his department to a considerable extent.

(a) Responsible:

Responsible trait is responding readily to discharge one’s own obligations towards others and the organisation. The responsible trait of the individuals enables them to take up the work activities with or without delegation, and makes the superiors to concentrate on policy issues. This process improves the job performance of the employees and moulds the employee behaviour towards organisational requirements.

(b) Dependable:

Subordinates commit themselves to organizational goals; take up the responsibility and carryout the organizational activities that contribute to the strategy even they are not assigned to them. Such subordinates are dependable. Employees with dependable traits maximize organizational performance. Thus, the dependable trait of the employees improves their job performance.

Mr. Prakash Singhal of Escorts frequently takes up the work activities of the company depending upon the situation, without being assigned to him by his boss. His boss feels that Mr. Prakash is dependable and the work he takes up or which is assigned to him need not be followed up.

(c) Persistent:

Persistent trait refers to the behaviour of rendering the services or doing the work continuously at a steady pace without any opposition. The persistent trait influences job behaviour and performance.

Mr. John of Dr. Reddy’s Lab reacts to the needs of his subordinates and organisational requirements continuously, steadily at a fast rate without any opposition. This persistent trait of Mr. John influenced the behaviour of his subordinates significantly.

(d) Achievement-Oriented:

Employees translate the objectives into achievable goals based on ground realities and conditions and achieve the goals to a large extent. The achievement oriented trait of employees improves their job performance and mould the job behaviour of others and shapes work culture.

4. Emotional Stability:

Some executives absorb the actions, reactions, views, feelings, attitudes, outcome of activities, etc., and maintain stability of their emotions. Consequently, they tend to be calm, self-confident and secure. People with negative scores tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed and insecure.

5. Openness to Experience:

Executives are expected to be open to new job experiences, learn, absorb and integrate them with their previous experiences and knowledge. This trait includes imaginative, artistically sensitive, intellectual, creative and curious people. Those with low level of openness are conventional and go along with the familiar.

(a) Imaginative:

All the business ventures come into existence only after they cross the stage of imaginative or projective. In fact all the business activities also cross this stage and as such, all the employees are expected to possess the imaginative trait. In fact, those who imagine much, achieve much.

(b) Artistically Sensitive:

Employees should be sensitive to all types of changes in the environment and imagination. Employees with this trait learn much from the environment and use such knowledge for the improvement of the job performance.

(c) Intellectual:

The intellectual trait enables the individuals to think and analyse rationally and understand systematically. This trait helps the employee to make efficient decisions and enhance the job behaviour.

Personality – Top 4 Methods Used for Measuring Personality

Personality is measured through tests. These personality tests are supposed to find out the traits possessed by an individual. These tests determine the personality factors mainly in three areas, viz. – (i) personal adjustments, (ii) attitudes, and (iii) interests. Research studies show that there is a positive relationship between the three different personality factors. The personality of an individual is attributed to the above factors.

Methods used for Judging Personality:

1. Word association test (WAT)

2. Situation Reaction Test (SRT)

3. Interview

4. Transactional Analysis

Method # 1. Word Association Test (WAT):

This test is intended to give an insight into the personality of an individual through his imagination. It works as guide to an individual’s emotional attitude and behavioural pattern. It is observed that different persons react in different manners to the same stimulus.

For example, certain words bring different ideas and feelings in different persons. Thus, the same stimulus word is associated with different traits of personality of the individual tested.

The test is conducted by showing the words printed on cardboard strips to the participants for a period of 15 seconds and they are required to write their feelings in a sentence or in a phrase or even in a word. The individual is expected to write his reaction within the minimum possible time, since sixty to ninety words are shown in quick succession in this test.

The word shown to the individual acts as a stimulus and he writes the idea with which he associates the word. Thus, it is known as ‘Word Association Test’. The psychologists interpret the feelings expressed by the individual and make their opinion, as to what type of personality the individual is?

One thing is to be understood that an odd sentence alone written by an individual in this test cannot give the idea about his personality. It is essential that several reactions of the individual in this test can help from an idea about the pattern of personality the individual possesses.

Now, let us examine the expression of word ‘achieve’ by two participants:

Participant-‘A’ – It is difficult to achieve the goal by everyone.’

Participant-‘B’ – It is possible to achieve the goal with diligence.’

In this, participant-‘A’- is not confident and also have a negative approach, whereas Participant-‘B’ is confident enough and have a positive approach.

Method # 2. Situation Reaction Test (SRT):

A situation reaction test measures an individual’s responses to a situation confronted by him in everyday life, one come across various unforeseen situations and one has to tackle such situations. This is normally done with one’s past experience of similar situations. For this purpose, an individual must have qualities of alertness, adaptability, logical thinking and presence of mind to take proper decision and quick action.

The reactions of an individual’s personality are measured through Situation Reaction test.

Method # 3. Interview:

This is a popular method of judging the personality. This method is commonly made use of by the Service Selection Board (SSB) and Public Service Commission. The very fact that an interview can be successful in finding the personality of a candidate, if the interviewer is well-trained in interview techniques. He must be aware of what he is looking for in a candidate, while conducting the interview.

In an interview, the interviewer must carefully note the following points:

i. The person to be interviewed is to be encouraged to speak freely and frankly.

ii. The interviewer must observe the hesitation and reservedness of the candidate in the conversation.

iii. What are the emotional responses of the individual.

iv. The interviewer must listen patiently what the candidate says and accept it.

v. The interviewer should make encouraging remarks to help the candidate speak more freely.

vi. The observations of the interviewer will reveal a lot about the candidate.

vii. If the method of interview is not scientific, the interviewer will be subjective and without any purpose whatsoever.

viii. A successful interview depends on the intimate rapport, which the interviewer establishes with the interviewee.

While concluding the topic, we may form a concise idea of an individual’s personality. An individual’s traits, habits, ideas, values and interests are mainly a product of the environment, the family in which the individual was brought up, the social background and relation with other members of society, his experiences as a student, the type of fraternity (friends’ circle) he has.

The mental make-up of the teachers, who taught him definitely influence his personality. Apart from the above, the community of which he is as member, socio-economic status, the entire cultural pattern, etc., have a definite bearing on the individual’s life and personality.

Method # 4. Transactional Analysis:

This is a theory of a communication process that helps predict the future pattern of behaviour. This was introduced by Eric Berne. He, after a long experimentation, through clinical examination and process advocated the principle as a rational form of theory suitable for psychic patients.

However, the theory was not confined only to people suffering from psychological disorder. It has found its use for normal people also, who face relation problem in some sphere or the other. This theory has a similarity of Freud’s concept of Id, ego and super-ego.

Berne emphasized that people possess three types of ego state like parent, adult and child. According to Berne, personality is a characteristic combination of three ego states in an individual. For example, the parent ego state is similar to that of a parent, the individual with adult ego has an objective approach to reality and the child ego accounts for the early period of life.

It is worthwhile to know what happens to an individual’s behavioral pattern in response to the stages of personality. These stages start developing in an individual right from the early period of life itself. During this period itself, the brain starts recording internal and external events, which, as a matter of course, are carried forward by an individual.

Everyone in life has parents or parent substitutes. Due to experience with them an individual carries with him certain feelings and behavioural pattern of parents. This is the beginning of ‘Parent ego state’ which is reflected in an individual according to certain situations.

The genes play an important role in behavioural pattern of an individual. They do not die, but are passed on to the posterity (coming generations).

Every individual has or had parents or parents substitute in life with a fixed residual effect to carry from preceding years. This is occasionally activated in an individual under certain circumstances. This process is known as ‘Parent ego state.’

Normally, every individual is capable of obtaining ‘objective information’ and processing it. He is also capable of behaving in a rational manner. This process depends on the type of individuals in various degrees. This is known as ‘adult ego state’.

Every individual was a child in his early life with a fixed residual effect to carry from preceding years. This is occasionally activated in an individual under certain circumstances. This process is known as ‘child ego state.’ These three stages of “personality structure” is noticed in every individual index varying degrees.

Parent ego state has two forms, viz.- ‘the direct’ and ‘the indirect’ according to behaviour. In the direct parent ego state, an individual responds either like his father or mother in the past. In the indirect form, the individual responds the way they desired of him.

Adult ego state is very essential for a good way of life. It is the source by which we can rationally deal with the external world. It is ego state having the function to regulate activities of the parent and child ego within ourselves.

Same way, there are two types in which the child ego state comes up. The adaptive child ego state comprises of adaptation of parent or authority demands by way of compliance, consciousness and withdrawal etc. The natural child ego state is described by spontaneous action, whether it is exhibited either in a rebellious way or in creativity.

Transaction denotes the exchange of communication, verbal or non-verbal that occurs between individuals making some gestures to acknowledge the presence of the other. This is known as the transactional ‘stimulus’. The other person will also make some corresponding gestures in response. This is called transactional ‘response’. A transaction is complete when both transactional stimuli and transactional response have occurred.


Every individual likes to have recognition. A childhood experience is an example to consider. When a child is completely dependent on parents for its survival, the parents put into his mind this feeling of dependency for existence; that is called a ‘stroke hunger.’ A stroke may be of a positive or a negative nature.

The early days’ personal experience of having approval and acceptance from other develops into a positive stroke hunger. On the other hand, the experience of disapproval and rejection later, develops into a negative stroke hunger.

There are mainly two types of strokes, the positive and the negative. The stroke that makes an individual feel all right (okay) is a positive stroke, i.e., a word of appreciation, expression of affectionate feeling from others, etc. The stroke that makes one feel dejected, not all right (not-okay) is a negative stroke, i.e., scolding, criticising, admonishing, etc. A stroke, in fact, can be conditional and/or unconditional, genuine or not genuine. Despite the nature of strokes, they are always expected through transactions.

In practical application, transactional analysis has two aspects:

1. Structural analysis (Analysis of personality, structure and transactional analysis).

2. Analysis of individual transaction (Analysis of games, life script analysis).

1. Structural Analysis:

This mainly deals with the personality of an individual. Regarding parent, adult and child ego states. The values of parents and their behaviour are perceived and retained as the basic values of one’s personality.

The present ego state has two main factors- (i) it enables the individual to be a successful parent, and (ii) it makes many automatic responses. The habit makes the adult ego state from making unimportant and trivial decisions. This provides more time for important matters. Adult ego state is the most essential for existence and survival, as it is said, “Survival of the fittest.”

This is the means through which we act in rationality with the external environment. The main function of adult ego state is to control the activities of child and parent and also in mediating effectively between them. The child ego state is enriched with initiation, spontaneity, creativity and adequate energy for enjoyment.

The transactional theory provides the personality analysis of an individual’s view of his internal aspects. This can be understood by the behaviour of the individual in any situation. From the variety of transactions, it is possible to identify three ego states, viz., the parent, adult and the child ego.

Which one of these is more prominent either in a particular relationship or in the entire social relationship of the individual in general needs to be analysed.

2. Analysis of Individual Transaction:

In this type of analysis stimulus is given by one person and response by the other. When two individuals have three ego states, each ego state (parent, adult or child) produces stimulus and response. Simple transactions are of two kinds; complementary and crossed.

If a transaction happens to be complementary, it expects response from corresponding ego state. For example, when the transactional stimulus is one ego state and the transactional response is from the corresponding ego state, such a transaction is known as complementary one.

When the transactional stimulus originated in one ego state and the response does not arise from a corresponding ego state, it is a cross transaction.

Complex Transactions:

Now, let us understand the notion of complex transactions. They are mainly of two types – (A) ‘DUPLEX’ and (B) ‘ANGULAR’. Transactional Stimulus and Response contain overt and covert level meanings, which is known as a duplex transaction. Overt and covert level meanings represent ‘social’ as well as ‘psychological’ meanings, respectively.

When transactional stimulus and response both having overt social level message at one end and psychological message at the other, it is known as Angular transaction.

The main difference in Angular transactions is that both the Social and Psychological level transactions come from the adult ego state of ‘X’.

1. Game Analysis:

Game analysis has become popular in the recent past. A game of continuous transactions that is carried on in a mechanical fashion. This has a well-defined ‘Pay-off’. A game initiated the message of social level along with a dormant message, which comes from other individuals at the psychological level.

When the response to the dormant message is received from the other end, the first person has a surprise that all that has happened was beyond his own awareness. This aspect has been explained by Berne through the example Why Don’t You-Yes But (YDYB) game.

Why Don’t You-Yes But was the first game to be devised by Eric Berne. This is a game most commonly played by groups of all strata of people in get together and other informal parties. (YDYB) can be played by any number of people. One person presents a problem and then others start getting into the talk. Why don’t you?

To each which the initiator (who is the person that has posed the problem) objects with a Yes, but “A clever player can sideline all others until everyone else gives up; thereby the INITIATOR becomes the winner”.

Following is an example of how the game is played (This example is of typical industrial employees in an informal get-together):

Mr.-X – (In an informal get together). My boss always talks about the machine tool room to be set right of our department; but he never does anything.

Mr.-Y – Why does he not take any interest to involve himself to set it right?

Mr.-X – Yes, but he is always on leave, not getting time.

Mr.-Y – Then why don’t you people in the workshop get it done?

Mr.-X – Yes, but he does not like others’ ideas; he wants to put up a new idea in setting up.

Mr.-A – Then, why don’t you take the help of other departments to set it right?

Mr.-X – Yes, but other department personnel are busy due to ‘over-time shift duties.’

Mr.-B – Then why don’t you keep the tool room as it is? Let it go on like that.

Mr.-X – Yes, but the entire tool room is in a mess. You can’t get any tool from there on time.

This is followed by a gap till another person explains, that is how the bosses make their plans, however, they seldom carry them out. So in this game the clever player X has won.

In this game, the initiator’s transactions prima facie (at first sight) may seem to be a series of adult transactions for solving the problem, whereas beneath all these, there is a strong concern to reassure himself as a child, who is inadequate to meet the situation. At the same time, others transform transactions into ‘Parent’ wants to give him useful advice. The pay-off is the victory of initiator, when all others have tried their best to solve his problem, but failed.

2. Script Analysis:

Take an example of a 7-8 years old child. What will be his future? Life script is a continuous programme stretched out in the entire span of life of an individual.

A child has to pass through ups and downs of his career, till he reaches to achieve the benefit. In a life script, there are ‘Don’ts’ that present or destroy expression of impulses due to parents’ authoritative restrictions. Apart from the above, the child may have to respond to the restrictions in obedience to please the parents.

Parents, normally give injunctions also like, ‘you must not waste time.’ Try to be a good boy, etc. Added to this, a child, in an effort to please the parents, tries to substitute something in place of his real feelings. Such a method, which a child uses, is known as ‘Racket’ in psychology, not a fair means in any way.

In this, a child resorts to a method, when he is sure of pay­offs (rewards). Racket forms in a peculiar way, e.g., in sadness, to racket the sadness is a substitute feeling for anger. So a person decides to feel sad instead of angry. These feelings attract others for sympathy. This is the typical outcome of an individual’s feeling; if I am sad for a prolonged period someone will look after me.

Therefore, the feeling of anger is substituted by sad feelings. When we deal with script analysis, we may come across certain games and programmes. Games are the ‘strokes’ a child collects. In programme, the games are played. A child gets information from the programme for taking and avoiding the decisions. In a script analysis, injunctions, counter injunctions, rackets, games and programmes and decisions are the important elements.

3. Life Positions:

Life position means the strokes in individual receives during his early life. An individual, who acquires an unconditional positive stroke is likely to develop an attitude of ‘Positive thinking’ (okay) about himself and others too. At the same time, if he has not acquired any strokes or got the negative stroke, he is supposed to develop an attitude of ‘Negative thinking’ (not okay) about himself and others also.

The early childhood experience of an individual has a major role in determining the attitudes. As per the strokes, a child gets or misses the limited ability to understand the reality.

The individual will acquire one or the other life position, as follows:

i. I am okay, you are okay.

ii. I am not okay, you are okay.

iii. I am okay, you are not okay.

iv. I am not okay, you are not okay.

Once a person acquires any of these life positions, it becomes a part of the personality and exists with him throughout life time, if not changed deliberately. Reversing the life position and correspondingly making a change is personality can be achieved through transactional analysis. This transactional analysis is necessary for implementation of organisational behaviour and for effective management practices.

Personality – 3 Stages Involved in the Development of Human Personality

There are two approaches to development of personality. One approach attempts to identify specific physiological and psychological stages that occur in the development of human personality. The second approach tends to identify the important determinants of personality.

The stage approach is theoretical whereas the determinants based approach is empirical in nature. Many psychologists have contributed to, the stage approach. The prominent psychologists include Freud, Erikson, Alfred Alder, Carl Jung, and Levinson.

1. Freudian Stages:

Sigmund Freud propounded psychoanalytic theory of personality which is based on the notion that man is motivated more by unseen forces than by conscious and rational thought. Freud noted that his clients’ behaviour could not always be consciously explained. This clinical finding led him to conclude that major motivating force in man is unconscious framework. This framework contains three aspects, though interrelated but often conflicting.

These are:

(a) Id,

(b) Ego and

(c) Super ego.

Their brief description is as follows:

(a) The Id – The id is the source of psychic energy and seeks immediate gratification for biological or instinctual needs. Freud believed that instincts could be classified under life-instincts and death-instincts. Life-instincts are hunger, thirst, and sex; the energy involved in these is the libido. The id would proceed unchecked to satisfy motives, particularly the sexual relations and pleasures, were it not for the channeling activity into acceptable ways by the ego. As an individual matures, he learns to control the id. But even then, it remains a driving force throughout life and an important source of thinking and behaving.

(b) The Ego – The ego is the conscious and logical part of the human personality and is associated with the reality principle. While id represents the unconscious part, ego is conscious about the realities of the external environment. The ego keeps the id in Check through intellect and reason.

(c) The Super Ego – The super ego represents societal and personal norms and serves as an ethical constraint on behaviour. It can best be described as the conscience. The super ego provides norms to ego to determine what is wrong or right. However, a person is not aware of the working of the super ego, and conscience is developed by absorption of cultural values and norms of the society.

Freud theorized that there are four universal stages of psycho-sexual development which are decisive in the formation of personality. These stages are – oral, anal, phallic and genital. The first three stages of development extend from birth to five years and are called pregenital stages since the genital zones of the body have not attained a dominant role in personality development.

(i) The Oral Stage:

It extends throughout the first year of life. The mouth is the body zone through which biological drives are sought to be satisfied, e.g., thumb sucking by an infant or biting when teeth erupt.

(ii) The Anal Stage:

During the second and third years of life, the focus of liberal energy shifts from mouth to the anal region. In other words, the anal becomes the body zone for sexual gratification. Young children derive considerable pleasure from both retention and expulsion of faeces. Toilet training given to the child by its parents will have its influence on adulthood. If the mother is too harsh and repressive, the child withholds faeces, and if this becomes excessive, the child develops an anal-retentive personality.

When grown up, such personality exhibits traits of obstinacy, stinginess, orderliness, punctuality, and extreme cleanliness or extreme messiness. Alternatively, if the mother pleads with her child to have regular bowel movements and showers him with praise when he does, the child will develop an anal-aggressive structure. A person fixated at this level would show traits of cruelty, destructiveness, disorderliness and hostility.

(iii) The Phallic Stage:

At about four years of age, focus on sexual gratification shifts to Mother erogenous body zone, the sex organs. During this stage children can be observed obtaining gratification by examining and fondling their genitalia, masturbating and expressing interest in matters of birth and sex.

Between the ages of six or seven and the onset of adolescence, there is the latency period. During this period, the child loses interest in sexual matters and seeks gratification of the libido from the external world, curiosity, knowledge and so on. It is a period of social development under which the child acquires knowledge and skills to get along with the world.

(iv) The Genital Stage:

The genital stage occurs during adolescence to adulthood. There is a revival of sexual and aggressive impulses coupled with an increased awareness of an interest in the opposite sex. The individual experiences satisfaction through heterosexual love. Discharge of libido through mature sexual relations with an opposite sex partner paves the way for genuine concern for one’s fellow.

Freud believed that in order for people to attain the ideal genital character, they must relinquish the passivity of early childhood days when love, security, and physical comfort-indeed all gratifications-were freely given and nothing was expected in return. They must learn to work, postpone gratification, become responsible, and above all, assume a more active role in dealing with life’s problems.

The psychoanalytic theory of Freud is based on a theoretical conception, rather than a measurable item for scientific verification. The theory does not give a total picture of behaviour .emerging from the personality. That is why this theory is not very relevant from behavioural science point of view. However, this theory gives an important insight into personality structure and the idea of unconscious motivation which can be used by behavioural scientists.

2. Erikson Stages:

Erikson criticised the heavy emphasis given by Freud on the sexual and biological factors in the developing personality. He felt that relatively more attention should be given to the social factors. Erikson identified eight stages of life that characterize the unending development of a person. He characterised each stage by a particular Conflict that needs to be resolved successfully before a person can move to the next stage. However, these eight stages are not totally separable, and the crises are never fully resolved.

Movement between stages is developmental as explained below:

(i) Infancy – During the first year of life, a child resolves the basic crisis of trust vs. mistrust. An infant who is cared for in an affectionate way learns to trust other people and lack of love and affection results in mistrust. This stage makes a serious impact on a child that influences events for remaining life.

(ii) Early Childhood – In the second and third years of life, a child begins to assert independence. If the child is allowed to control these aspects of life that the child is capable of controlling, a sense of autonomy will develop. If the child encounters constant disapproval by elders a sense of self-doubt and shame is likely to develop.

(iii) Play Age – The four and five year old seeks to discover just how much he can do. If a child is encouraged to experiment and to achieve reasonable goals, he will develop a sense of initiative. If the child is blocked and made to feel incapable, he will develop a sense of ‘guilt and lack of self-confidence’.

(iv) School Age – From ages 6 to 12, a child learns many new skills and develops social abilities. If a child experiences real progress at a rate compatible with his abilities, he or she will develop a sense of enterprise. The reverse situation results in a sense of inferiority.

(v) Adolescence – The crisis of the teenage years is to gain a sense of identity rather than to become confused about who you are. While undergoing rapid biological changes, the teenager is also trying to establish himself or herself as socially separate from the parents. The autonomy, initiative and enterprise developed in earlier stages are very important in helping the teenager to successfully resolve this crisis and prepare for adulthood.

(vi) Early Adulthood – The young adult during the twenties faces the crisis of intimacy versus isolation. The sense of identity developed during the teenage years allows the young adult to begin developing deep and lasting relationships.

(vii) Adulthood – During this stage, the adults face the crisis of generativity versus self-absorption. Self-absorbed persons never develop an ability to look beyond themselves. They become absorbed in career advancement and maintenance; and they never learn to have concern for future generations, the welfare of organisations to which they belong or the welfare of society as a whole. Generative people see the world as much bigger than themselves. Productivity at work and societal advancement become important to them. Through innovation and creativity, they begin to exert influence that benefits their organisations.

(viii) Mature Adulthood – The person is developed as a highly mature person. He has gained a sense of wisdom and perspective that can really guide the younger generations.

3. Chris Argyris’ Immaturity-Maturity Theory:

Chris Argyris argued that personality of an individual develops along a continuum from immaturity as an infant to maturity as an adult.

Chris Argyris further contended that:

(i) The seven dimensions represent only one, aspect of the total personality. Much also depends upon individual’s perception, self-concept and adaptation and adjustment.

(ii) The seven dimensions continually change in degree from the infant to the adult end of the continuum.

(iii) The model, being only a construct, cannot predict specific behaviour. However, it does provide a method of describing and measuring the growth of any individual in the culture.

(iv) The seven dimensions are based upon latent characteristics of the personality which may be quite different from the observable behaviour.

The personality development of a man in organisation is towards the mature end of the continuum. This will warrant a formal organisation to ensure activity for passivity, independence for dependence, long for short perspective, superordinate to subordinate position and self-awareness and control to lack of awareness and perhaps external control.

Argyris felt that generally reverse happens with the result that the “mature organisational participant” becomes frustrated which results in conflict with the organisation. Thus, there is an incongruity between the goals of the individual and those of the organisation. But Argyris’ assumption that all organisational men are mature people does not always hold good in practice. Moreover, the mature people continue with the organisation inspite of all aberrations in their personality.

Personality – Top 5 Variables: Personality Traits, Attitude, Perception, Abilities and Needs

Some people are quite and passive, while others are loud and aggressive. Certain personality types are better adopted for certain job types. Why this is so? To know this, we will have to understand the concept of personality.

Goldon Allport defines the personality as “the dynamic organization within the individu­als of those psychological system that determine his unique adjustments to his environ­ment”.

Personality is a concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system. For our purposes, we will consider personality as the sum total ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. This sum total behaviour of an individual is the result of certain personal variables.

These are:

1. Personality traits

2. Attitude

3. Perception

4. Abilities

5. Needs

1. Personality Traits:

Psychologists have identified literally thousands of person­ality traits and dimensions that differentiate one person from another. But in recent years, researchers have identified five fundamental traits that are especially relevant to organizations.

i. Agreeableness:

Agreeableness refers to a person’s ability to get along with others. It seems likely that highly agreeable people are better at developing good working relationships with co-workers, subordinates, and higher-level managers, whereas less agreeable people are not likely to have particularly good working relationships.

ii. Conscientiousness:

Conscientiousness refers to the number of goals on which a person focuses. People who focus on relatively few goals at one time are likely to be organized, systematic, careful, thorough, responsible, and self-disciplined; they tend to focus on a small number of goals at one time. Research has found that more conscientious people tend to be higher performers than less conscientious people in a variety of different jobs.

iii. Negative Emotionality:

People with less negative emotionality are relatively poised, calm, resilient, and secure; people with more negative emotionality are more excitable, insecure. Reactive, and subject to extreme mood swings. People with less negative emotionality might be expected to better handle job stress, pressure, and tension.

iv. Extroversion:

Extroversion is the quality of being comfortable with relationships; the opposite extreme, introversion, is characterized by more social discomfort. Extroversion reflects a person’s comfort level with relationships. Extroverts are sociable, talkative, assertive, and open to establishing new relationships. Introverts are much less sociable, talkative, and assertive, and more reluctant to begin new relationships.

Research suggests that extroverts tend to be higher overall job performers than introverts, and that they are more likely to be attracted to jobs based on personal relationships, such as sales and marketing positions.

v. Openness:

Openness is the capacity to entertain new ideas and to change as a result of new information. People with high levels of openness are willing to listen to new ideas and to change their own ideas, beliefs, and attitudes in response to new informa­tion. People with high levels of openness may resist change.

Other Personality Traits at Work – Besides the “big five” characteristics, several other personality traits influence behaviour in organizations. Among the most important are locus of control, self-efficacy, authoritarianism, Machiavallianism, self-esteem, and risk propensity.

vi. Locus of Control:

Some people believe that they are masters of their own fate. Other people believe that what happens to them in their lives is due to luck or chance. A large amount of research comparing these two types has consistently shown that individuals who believe that their lives are being controlled by outside forces, are less satisfied with their jobs, have higher absenteeism rates, are more alienated from the work setting, and are less involved on their jobs than the individuals who believe that they control their destinies.

vii. Self-Efficacy:

A person’s self-efficacy is that person’s beliefs about his or her capabilities to perform a task. People with high self-efficacy believe that they can perform well on a specific task, but people with low self-efficacy tend to doubt their ability to perform a specific task.

viii. Authoritarianism:

Authoritarianism is the belief that power and status differences are appropriate within hierarchical social systems such as organizations. For example- a person who is highly authoritarian may accept directives or orders from someone with more authority purely because the other person is “the boss.”

On the other hand, a person who is not highly authoritarian, although he may still carry out reasonable directives from the boss, is more likely to question things, express disagreement with the boss, and even refuse to carry out orders if they are for some reason objectionable.

A highly authoritarian manager may be relatively autocratic and demanding, and highly authoritarian subordinates are more likely to accept this behaviour from their leader. On the other hand, a less authoritarian manager may allow subordinates a bigger role in making decisions, and less authoritarian subordinates respond positively to this behaviour.

ix. Machiavellianism:

People who possess the personality trait of machiavellianism behave to gain power and control the behaviour of others. Research suggests that degree of Machiavellianism varies from person to person. More Machiavellian individuals tend to be rational and nonemotional, may be willing to lie to attain their personal goals, put little emphasis on loyalty and friendship, and enjoy manipulating others’ behaviour.

Less Machiavellian individuals are more emo­tional, less willing to lie to succeed, value loyalty and friendship highly, and get little personal pleasure from manipulating others. In jobs that require bargaining skills (such as labour negotiation) or where there are substantial rewards for winning (as in commissioned sales), high Machs will be productive.

x. Self-Esteem:

A person’s self-esteem is the extent to which that person believes he or she is a worthwhile and deserving individual. A person with high self-esteem is more likely to seek higher-status jobs, be more confident in his ability to achieve higher levels of performance, and derive greater intrinsic satisfaction from her accomplishments. In contrast, a person with less self-esteem may be more content to remain in a lower-level job, be less confident of his ability, and focus more on extrinsic rewards.

xi. Risk Propensity:

A person’s risk propensity is the degree to which he or she is willing to take chances and make risky decisions. For example- a manager with a high risk propensity, might experiment with new ideas and gamble on new products. He might also lead the organization in new and different directions. This manager might be a catalyst for innovation, or on the other hand, might jeopardize the continued well-being of the organization if the risky decisions prove to be bad ones.

2. Attitude:

People’s attitudes also affect their behaviour in organizations. Attitudes are a person’s beliefs and feelings about specific ideas, situations, or other people. When I say “I like my job,” I am expressing my attitude about work.

In organizations, attitudes are important because they affect job behaviour. If workers believe, For example- that supervisors, auditors, bosses, and time and motion engineers are all in conspiracy to make the employee work harder for the same or less money, then it makes sense to try to understand how these attitudes were formed, their relationship to actual job behaviour, and how they can be made more favourable.

Attitudes are formed by a variety of forces, including our personal values, our experi­ences, and our personalities. For example- if we value honesty and integrity, we may form especially favourable attitudes toward a manager who we believe to be very honest and moral.

Similarly, if we have had negative and unpleasant experiences with a particular coworker, we may form an unfavourable attitude toward him. Any of the “big five” or individual personality traits may also influence our attitudes. Understanding the basic structure of an attitude helps us see how attitudes are formed and can be changed.

Typically, there are three primary attitudes that are of concern to us; job satisfaction, job involvement, and organizational commitment.

Job satisfaction refers to an individual’s general attitude towards his or her job. A person with a high level of job satisfaction holds positive attitudes toward the job, while a person who is dissatisfied with his or her job holds negative attitudes about the job.

Job involvement measures the degree to which a person identifies with his or her job, actively participates in it, and considers his or her performance important to his or her self-worth.

The third job attitude we shall discuss is organizational commitment. This attitude expresses an individual’s orientation towards the organization by tapping his or her loyalty to, identification with, and involvement in the organization. Individuals who are highly committed to the organization are likely to stay with their jobs and feel psychologically attached to them, regardless of whether they are satisfying or not.

Attitudes are not as stable as personality attributes. For example- new information may change attitudes. A manager may have a negative attitude about a new colleague because of his lack of job-related experience. After working with the new person for a while, however, the manager may come to realize that he is actually very talented and subsequently develop a more positive attitude.

3. Perception:

It is another important element of workplace behaviour. People behave on the basis of what is perceived rather than what actually is. Each person has a point of view based on individualistic perceptions of the real world. This way, everybody having his distinct set of thought process perceives differently. If everyone perceived everything the same way, things would be a lot simpler (and a lot less exciting!).

As an illustration, think about how two people exposed to a person at the same time may form very different impressions. Hearing your new instructor tell lots of funny stories in class, For example- you and a classmate might reach opposite conclusions. You might find him friendly and approachable, whereas your classmate might think he’s unprofes­sional.

How can this happen? After all, the instructor is the same person. The answer rests on the fact that our perceptions of other people depend in great part not only on them, but on what we bring to the situation ourselves-our own biases and past experiences.

The process of perception may be understood in context of its three elements – stimulus, sensory registration, and cognitive process resulting into interpretation.

Stimulus———- Sensory registration——— Interpretation

The first important factor is stimulus, or situation present. Perception begins when a person is confronted with a situation. During the registration phenomenon, the physi­ological (sensory and neural) mechanisms are affected – the physiological ability to hear and see would affect the perception.

Interpretation is the most significant and cognitive part of the perception. Although perception depends largely the senses for the raw data, the cognitive process may filter, modify, or completely changes the data.

For example- when a person sec that his manager has entered into the factory with raised eyebrows and expressions of anger on his face. The stimulus is the need to guess the manager’s mood, and the sensory registration would see the raised eyebrows and other face expressions of the manager.

Now, the interpretation as to why it could be so, or how it would affect the worker would depend upon the way his mind would process the situation. Suppose he is coming late from last 6 days, or he is not completing his target output, he may perceive that today he is going to get scolding from the manager.

Suppose a machine is giving troubles, he may perceive that manager is upset because of possible losses. Likewise one may have any perception that may or may not be the actual cause of manager’s worry.

4. Abilities:

Ability of a person is his competence to perform a particular job. This includes general ability and technical ability both. It may be capacity of reasoning, analytical skills, communication skills, and so on. Ability of a person has a direct correlation with his job behaviour. The best part is that ability can be developed by education, training and experience.

5. Needs:

Need is not an independent variable. It depends on the individual’s basic personality plus his environment, like his education, financial position, family status, position of his relatives and peer group, his ambitions, perceptions, etc. For instance, a person with a poor financial background would prioritize money before any other need.

Again, same person’s needs keep changing over the period of time depending upon how he is positioned in the life. This can be better understood by studying the Maslow’s need hierarchy model.

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