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Personality

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  • 1. PersonalityWhat is Personality?Definition:Personality is a complex hypothetical construct that has been defined in a variety of ways. Following aresome of its more prominent definitions:1. Personality is the pattern of enduring characteristics that produce consistency and individualityin a given person.2. The sum total of characteristics on the basis of which people can be differentiated from eachother.3. Relatively stable pattern of behaviours and consistent internal states that explain a personsbehavioural tendencies.Main points:From above definitions we extract the following common points: Characteristics / traits / behaviors: Personality is an aggregate of consistent behaviors or traitson the basis of which we can differentiate one person from the other. Consistency: The stability in a person’s behavior over time and across situations. Distinctiveness: The behavioral differences among people reacting to the same situation. Personality refers to a relatively stable set of feelings and behaviors that have been significantlyformed by genetic and environmental factors.What are the factors that shape our personality?Factors influencing personality: Following are some major forces that influence our personality:
  • 2. How psychologists understand and explain personality?Personality has always been an interesting topic for psychologists. We can say this convincingly when weobserve their efforts in this area of psychology. Despite its wide spread importance, studying andknowing about personality has further increased in the organization settings. All types of organizationsrequire human capital with particular abilities to perform particular tasks, both effectively andefficiently. This has led the organizations to know more about personality and its constituents. Theoriesof personality can help managers in this regard. Theories of personality, in simple words, are theexplanations given by psychologists concerning what personality is, how and what differentiate oneindividual from the other.Theories of Personality: We can classify theories explaining personality into the following categories.1. Trait approaches / theories2. Psychodynamic approaches3. Behavioral perspectives4. Humanistic perspectiveExplanation: Now we explain each perspective separately.1. Trait approach to personality: This model of personality seeks to identify the basic traits thatare necessary to describe personality. This approach states that all human beings possesscertain traits that determine their personality. Traits are personality characteristics andbehaviors that individuals display in different situations. There are various theories categorizedunder this approach, however, following theories are very common:a. AllPort ‘s trait theory: Gordon Allport reviewed dictionary and identified words thatdescribe some traits of a person. He then categorized these traits into differentdetermine a person i.e. cardinal, central, and categories. According to him, there arethree fundamental categories of traits that secondary.b. Cattel and eysneck theory: Cattel and esyneck analyzed traits identified earlier. Throughfactor analysis they came up with different pairs of traits that represent variousdimensions of personality. According to Eysneck, Personality could best be described interms of just three major dimensions: extraversion (sociable), neuroticism (emotionality),and psychoticism. On the basis of these three diemensions, we can predict a person’spersonality.c. The big five personality trait model: There’re five set of traits that lie at the core of personality. These traitsare especially more relevant to organizations. A person, who is high on all ofthese five traits, is considered to be an asset for that organization. The traits include OCEAN (Openness to experience, conscientiousness,extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism).
  • 3.  All of these five sets of traits are positively related to organizations; highwould be leaders / successful in organizations and could take the orgazniationforward. Organizations / managers should look for these traits while recruitingand selecting new incumbents into their existing lot. Means, if there ‘re twocandidates who share the same experience, education etc, however, onebetween them is high in these five traits, then HR manager should prefer himover the other. These five traits are related to both intrinsic (job satisfaction) andextrinsic (income, status, reward) career success.Here is detail of these five traits:• Extroversion: Refers to the tendency to be sociable, friendly, and expressive.• Neuroticism (Emotional Stability): Refers to the tendency to experience positive emotionalstates.• Agreeableness: Being courteous, forgiving, tolerant, trusting, and self-hearted.• Conscientiousness: Is exhibited by those who are described as dependable, organized, andresponsible. They are more cautious while doing any task.• Openness to Experience: Reflects the extent to which an individual has broad interests and iswilling to be a risk-taker. They like new challenges and experiences.2. Psychodynamic approach: It is an approach to personality that states personality is the outcome(result) of psychological forces within a person. The most prominent in this approach is SigmundFreud who emphasized on the role of unconsciousness. According to him, personality is what aperson’s unconscious makes him. He thought that there’re three parts of personality i.e. ID,EGO, and SUPEREGO. Majority of them is made of unseen forces. These unconscious forcesexpress themselves in dreams, mistakes of everyday’s life, in a person’s mental disorders. Inshort, unconscious plays predominant part in a person’s personality and drive him towards whathe is.
  • 4. C.G Jung: Personality is predominantly determined by collective unconscious. The unconsciousthat we have inherited from our ancestors / forefathers as a result of their experiences. theseexperiences are preserved in the collective unconscious of a person in the form of archetypes.Archetypes are different patterns that make us behave in a certain way. Personality according toJung is determined by collective unconscious (Personal unconscious plus unconscious inheritedin us).Adler’s theory of Personality: Adler believes that the feelings of inferiority or inferioritycomplex plays predominant role in a person’s personality. According to him, inferiority complexis the motivation / variables that predominantly determine the nature of personality of aperson. Human beings have a tendency to become superior. This tendency to become superiormakes him what he is.3. Behavioristic theories of personality: This category of personality theories contains theoriesfrom the behavioral school of thought. These theorists stress more on the role of externalreinforcements and system of rewards and punishments. They believe that personality isdetermined by environment. This most prominent in this category is J.B Watson, who stressmore on external reinforcements. Personality is predominantly determined by what theenvironment reinforces. Any behavior that is rewarded by environment is likely to be repeated."He said “give me a child and let me control his environment. Thus, I can make him a thief or aprince.” If one can control external reinforcements then he can influence personality. In short,Personality is what environment writes on it.Albert Bandura, a Canadian psychologist, who puts across the view that it is the contingentfactors (the system of rewards and punishments in the environment) that determines what aperson is going to become. Personality to him is the sum total of contingent rewards andpunishments. Further, he puts forward the view that personality is influenced / determined byrole models e.g. a cricketer likes to become like a legendary player of his interest.4. Humanistic theories of personality: In this category, we have included theories of Karl Rogersand Abraham Maslow. The former believes that every person has been born with certainpotential and he is propelled /motivated / pushed from within to fulfill that potential and makeshim what he is. Whereas, the later believes that the need for self actualization motivates aperson to become what he is. If someone has potential in sports, music, mathematics and logicand he actualizes this then he can become great personality.How to assess personality?Assessment of personality: Over the passage of time, psychologists have come up with many waysthrough which we can measure personality. Following list contain some of these methods:1. Interview2. Observation and behavioral assessment3. Psychological tests
  • 5. a. Self report measuresb. Projective testsHence, the first two are very common and known to everyone; therefore, we skip them in ourdiscussion. We will explain remaining methods in the following discussion.3. Psychological tests: These are standardized measures devised to assess behavior objectively, to helppeople make decisions about their lives. There are many psychological tests devised for assessingpersonality, however, we have included two broad types of tests in our discussion.a. Self report measures of personality: in this type of test, subject is asked questions. His replies toquestions are recorded and then analyzed. The very common type of this test is MMPI-2MMPI-2 (Minnesota Multiple Personality inventory) is a widely used self report test that identifiespeople with psychological difficulties. It is used to predict every day behavior. The questions containedin this test are of true and false type questions. The test contains questions on 567 items.b. Projective tests: In this type of test, subject is shown an ambiguous stimulus and is asked to describeit in his own words e.g. tell a story about it. The most common type of project tests includes: Rorschach test Thematic apperception test (TAT)Conclusion: Personality test must have the following three characteristics: Validity: Test should measure accurately for what is it devised. Reliability: The test should be consistently measure it. Norms: The test should allow us to compare results of one person with another.