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Chapter 2

MGHB02H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 2: Job Satisfaction, Job Performance, Conscientiousness

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Phani Radhakrishnan

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MGHB02 Chapter 2
Personality and Learning
What is Personality?
Personality is so important that some companies focus on personality when hiring employees
o A recent survey of Canadian organizations found that when it comes to hiring recent
graduates, many employers rank personality as more important than work experience and
Personality: the relatively stable set of psychological characteristics that influences the way an
individual interacts with his or her environment
o An individual’s personality summarizes his or her personal style of dealing with the world
Personalities consist of a number of dimensions and traits that are determined in a complex way by
genetic predisposition and by one’s LT learning history
Personality is relatively stable
o It is susceptible to change through adult learning experiences
People have a variety of personality characteristics
Excessive typing of people does not help us to appreciate their unique potential to contribute to an
Personality and Organizational Behaviour
After WWII, the use of personality tests for the selection of military personnel became widespread,
and in the 1950s and 60s it became popular in business organizations
Dispositional Approach: individuals possess stable traits or characteristics that influence their
attitudes and behaviours
o People are predisposed to behave in certain ways
o Research provided inconsistent findings that failed to support the usefulness of personality as
a predictor or OB and job performance
As a result, there was a dramatic decrease in personality research and a decline in the
use of personality tests for selection
Situational Approach: characteristics of the organizational setting influence people’s attitudes and
o i.e. rewards and punishment, influence people’s feelings, attitudes, and behaviour
Proponents of both approaches have argued about the importance of dispositions vs. the situation in
what is known as the “person-situation debate”
Both approaches are important for predicting and understanding OB
Interactionist Approach: Individuals’ attitudes and behaviour are a function of both disposition and
the situation
o To predict and understand OB, one must know something about an individual’s personality
and the setting in which he/she works
o Most widely accepted perspective within OB
o Ex. In weak situations it is not always clear how a person should behave, while in strong
situations there are clear expectations for appropriate behaviour
As a result, personality has the most impact in weak situations because roles are
loosely defined, there are few rules, and weak reward and punishment contingencies
One of the most important implications of the interactionist perspective is that some personality
characteristics are most useful in certain organizational situations
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Trait Activation Theory: Traits lead to certain behaviours only when the situation makes the need
for the trait salient
o Personality characteristics influence people’s behaviours when the situation calls for a
particular personality characteristic
There is no one best personality, and managers need to appreciate the advantages of employee
o A key concept is fit: putting the right person in the right job
One of the main problems with the early research on personality was the use of inadequate measures
of personality characteristics
o However, advances in measurement and trends in organizations has prompted renewed
Another reason for renewed interest in personality has been the development of a framework of
personality characteristics known as the Five-Factor Model, or the “Big Five”, which provides a
framework for classifying personality characteristics into 5 general dimensions
The Five-Factor Model of Personality
Psychologists have discovered that there are about five basic but general dimensions that describe
o Aka the “Big Five” or “Five-Factor Model” (FFM)
The dimensions of the model are:
1. Extraversion
The extent to which a person is outgoing vs. shy
People who score high in extraversion tend to be outgoing, sociable, energetic, joyful,
and assertive
Enjoy social situations, while those low on this dimension avoid them
Important for jobs that require a lot of interpersonal interaction
2. Emotional Stability/Neuroticism
Degree to which a person has appropriate emotional control
People with high ES (Low Neuroticism) are self-confident and have high self-esteem
More likely to have more effective interactions with co-workers and customers
because they tend to be more calm and secure
Those with low ES (high neuroticism) tend toward self-doubt and depression
Tend to hostile, anxious, impulsive, depressed, insecure, and more prone to
3. Agreeableness
The extent to which a person is friendly and approachable
More agreeable people are warm, considerate, altruistic, friendly, sympathetic,
cooperative, and eager to help others
Less agreeable people tend to be cold and aloof
Sociable &
Talkative Vs.
Withdrawn &
Stable &
Confident Vs.
Depressed &
Tolerant &
Cooperative Vs.
Cold & Rude
Dependable &
Responsible Vs.
Careless &
Openness to
Curious &
Original Vs. Dull
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More argumentative, inflexible, uncooperative, uncaring, intolerant, and
Most likely to contribute to job performance in jobs that require interaction and
involve helping, cooperating, and nurturing others, as well as jobs that involve
teamwork and cooperation
4. Conscientiousness
Degree to which a person is responsible and achievement oriented
More conscientious people are dependable and positively motivated
Orderly, self-disciplined, hard working, and achievement striving
Likely to perform well on most jobs, given their tendency toward hard work
and achievement
Less conscientious people are irresponsible, lazy, and impulsive
5. Openness to Experience
The extent to which a person thinks flexibly and is receptive to new ideas
More open people tend toward creativity and innovation
Likely to do well in jobs that involve learning and creativity, given that they
tend to be intellectual, curious, and imaginative, and to have broad interests
Less open people favour the status quo
The Big Five dimensions are relatively independent
o Tend to hold up very well cross-culturally
That is, people in different cultures use the same dimensions when describing people’s
There is evidence that the Big Five traits have a genetic basis
Research Evidence
There is evidence that each of the Big 5 dimensions is related to job performance and organizational
citizenship behaviours
The Big 5 dimensions that best predict job performance depend on the occupation
o High conscientiousness predicts performance in all jobs across occupations and is the
strongest predictor of all the Big 5 dimensions of overall job performance
There is an exception, adaptive performance
Research has found that the Big 5 are related to other work behaviours
o One study found that conscientiousness is related to retention and attendance at work and is an
important antidote for counterproductive behaviours such as theft, absenteeism, and
disciplinary problems
o Extraversion has been found to be related to absenteeism; extraverts tend to be absent more
than introverts
There is evidence of relationships between personality and unsafe work behaviour and workplace
The Big 5 are related to work motivation and job satisfaction
o Neuroticism and conscientiousness = strongest predictors of motivation
o Emotional stability = strongest predictor of job satisfaction
Followed by conscientiousness, extraversion and to a lesser extent, agreeableness
Individuals with higher conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and emotional stability
perform better on a team in terms of their performance of important team-relevant behaviours such as
cooperation, concern, and courtesy to team members
The Big 5 are related to career success
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