Essentials of Organizational Behavior

Fourteenth Edition

Chapter 5

Personality and Values

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Copyright © 2018, 2016, 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2018, 2016, 2014 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

After studying this chapter you should be able to:

Describe personality, the way it is measured, and the factors that shape it.

Describe the strengths and weaknesses of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality framework and the Big Five model.

Discuss how the concepts of core self-evaluation (CSE), self-monitoring, and proactive personality contribute to the understanding of personality.

Describe how the situation affects whether personality predicts behavior.

Contrast terminal and instrumental values.

Describe the differences between person-job fit and person-organization fit.

Compare Hofstede’s five value dimensions and the GLOBE framework.

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Personality

Personality – the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others

Most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits such as shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal, and timid

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Personality is often defined by characteristics such as outgoing or charming. However, psychologists define personality as the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system.

We study personality in Organizational Behavior because it impacts a number of important work outcomes. We can attempt to measure personality through a variety of methods. Often these methods are utilized in the hiring process to assist in hiring the right person for the job and the organization.

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Assessing and Measuring Personality

Personality tests are useful in hiring decisions

Help managers forecast who is best for a job

Self-report surveys

Most common

Prone to error

Evaluate on a series of factors

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Self-reports are the most common and easiest way to measure personality, but they are prone to error due to the fact that the individual is reporting all the data about themselves.

Studies show that culture influences how we rate ourselves. People from individualistic countries trend toward self-enhancement, while those in collectivistic societies trend toward self-diminishment.

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Personality Determinants

Personality reflects heredity and environment

Heredity is the most dominant factor

Twin studies: genetics more influential than parents

Environmental factors do have some influence

Aging influences levels of ability Basic personality is constant

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There are many determinants of personality including heredity, environmental factors, and age.

There has been a long-standing debate about whether genetics or environment are more important in determining personality. They both play an important role. The heredity approach refers to factors determined at conception such as physical stature and gender. This has been reaffirmed by studies that have looked at twins who were raised apart but still had similar personalities. However, there were differences observed leading to the idea the environmental factors can have some influence.

Age does influence the level of ability that an individual has even though it is widely held that the basic personality stays constant throughout the life of the individual.

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Dominant Personality Frameworks Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Most widely used personality-assessment instrument in the world

Individuals are classified as:

Extroverted or Introverted (E/I)

Sensing or Intuitive (S/N)

Thinking or Feeling (T/F)

Judging or Perceiving (J/P)

Classifications combined into 16 personality types (i.e., INTJ or ESTJ)

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The MBTI is the most widely used personality instrument worldwide. Participants are classified within four scales to determine 1 of 16 possible personality types. These types are broken down into four dichotomies. The first is extroverts who tend to be sociable and assertive versus introverts who tend to be quiet and shy. The second dichotomy is sensing and intuitive. Sensors are practical and orderly where intuits utilize unconscious processes. The third dichotomy is thinking and feeling. Thinking focuses on using reason and logic whereas feeling utilizes values and emotions. The final dichotomy is judging and perceiving. Judgers want order and structure whereas perceivers are more flexible and spontaneous.

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Measuring Personality Traits: The Big-Five Model

Five Traits:

Extraversion

Agreeableness

Conscientiousness

Emotional Stability

Openness to Experience

Strongly supported relationship to job performance (especially conscientiousness)

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The Big Five model of personality sets forth that there are five basic dimensions that underlie all others and encompass most of the significant variations in human personalities. The Big Five factors are: Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, Emotional Stability, and Openness to Experiences. There is a lot of research that supports the Big Five model, and it has been shown to predict behavior at work.

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Big Five Traits and OB

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As shown, the Big Five traits are related to job performance and also have other implications for work and life.

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The Dark Triad

The Dark Triad

Machiavellianism

High machs tend to be pragmatic, emotionally distant, and believe the ends justify the means

Narcissism

A person with a grandiose view of self, requires excessive admiration, has a sense of self-entitlement, and is arrogant

Psychopathy

A lack of concern for others, and a lack of guilt or remorse when their actions cause harm

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Researchers have found that three socially undesirable traits called the Dark Triad are relevant to organizational behavior.

Machiavellianism describes a person who tends to be emotionally distant and believes that the ends justify the means. They tend to have a competitive drive and a need to win. They can be very persuasive in situations where there is direct interaction with minimal rules and people are distracted by emotions. Narcissism is a trait that often hinders job effectiveness. It describes a person who requires excessive admiration and has a strong sense of entitlement. Psychopathy refers to a lack of concern for others, and a lack of guilt or remorse when their actions cause harm.

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Other Personality Traits Relevant to OB

Core self-evaluation

People with positive core self-evaluation like themselves and see themselves as capable and effective in the workplace

Self-monitoring

Adjusts behavior to meet external, situational factors

Proactive personality

Identifies opportunities, shows initiative, takes action, and perseveres

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People with positive CSE perform better because they set more ambitious goals, are more committed to their goals, and persist longer in attempting to reach them. Self-monitoring is another personality trait that is linked to job performance. It is the ability to adjust behavior to meet situational factors. High monitors are more likely to become leaders in the workplace. Proactive personalities are people who are able to identify opportunities and take action to capitalize on that opportunity. They also have the ability to persevere through difficulties to meet their goals. Proactive personality may be important for work teams.

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Personality and Situations (1 of 2)

The effect of particular traits on organization behavior depends on the situation

Two frameworks

Situation Strength

Trait Activation

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Personality and Situations (2 of 2)

Situation strength theory – the way personality translates into behavior depends on the strength of the situation

Analyze situation strength in terms of:

Clarity

Consistency

Constraints

Consequences

Trait activation theory (TAT) – predicts that some situations, events, or interventions “activate” a trait more than others

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Strong situations pressure us to exhibit the right behavior, clearly show us what that behavior is, and discourage the wrong behavior. In weak situations, “anything goes,” and thus we are freer to express our personality in our behaviors. Thus, research suggests that personality traits better predict behavior in weak situations than in strong ones.

Research shows that in a supportive environment, everyone behaves prosocially, but in an environment that is not so nice, whether an individual has the personality to behave prosocially makes a major difference.

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Trait Activation Theory

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Trait Activation Theory: Jobs in Which Certain Big Five Traits Are More Relevant

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Values

Values represent basic, enduring convictions that “a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state of existence”

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Values represent basic convictions that make judgments about what is the best mode of conduct or end-state of existence.

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Value Systems

Represent a prioritizing of individual values by:

Content – importance to the individual

Intensity – relative importance with other values

The hierarchy tends to be relatively stable

Values are the foundation for attitudes, motivation, and behavior

Influence perception and cloud objectivity

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Value systems represent individual values and prioritizes them based on how important the particular value is to the individual and how intense their feelings are about that particular value. The way individuals set up their values in order of importance is relatively stable over time and sets the foundation for many work outcomes such as attitudes, motivation, and behavior. In addition, values are important in the workplace because they can influence an individual’s perception and cloud their objectivity.

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Rokeach Value Survey

Terminal values: desirable end-states of existence

Goals that a person would like to achieve during his or her lifetime

Instrumental values: preferable modes of behavior or means of achieving the terminal values

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The Rokeach Value Survey was created by Milton Rokeach. It consists of two sets of values, terminal values and instrumental values. Terminal values describe the desired values/goals a person would like to keep/achieve through their lifetime. Instrumental values are the preferred modes of behavior or means of achieving one’s terminal values.

Values vary between groups and can cause trouble when group members hold different values and negotiation is needed.

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Personality-Job Fit: Holland’s Hexagon (1 of 2)

Job satisfaction and turnover depend on congruency between personality and task

People in jobs congruent with their personality should be more satisfied and less likely to voluntarily resign than people in incongruent tasks

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Personality and value studies are important to the field of organizational behavior because they have been linked to workplace outcomes. The person-job fit theory developed by John Holland has been critical to thinking about how people fit with a specific job. Holland classified people into six personality types utilizing a vocational preference inventory.

Through the study of personality it has become clear that there are intrinsic differences in personality between people. Given that there are a number of different jobs it is logical that people in jobs congruent with their personalities would be more satisfied in their work.

When the personality is matched with the type of occupation, then there are stronger positive work outcomes.

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Personality-Job Fit: Holland’s Hexagon (2 of 2)

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There are cultural implications for person–job fit that speak to workers’ expectations that jobs will be tailored to them. Managers in collectivistic cultures should not violate cultural norms by designing jobs for individuals; rather they should seek people who will likely thrive in jobs that have already been structured.

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Person-Organization Fit

It is more important that employees’ personalities fit with the organizational culture than with the characteristics of any specific job

The fit predicts job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover

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This idea can be further linked to the workplace by looking at person-organization fit. The employee’s personality needs to fit with the organizational culture. When employees find organizations that match their values, they are more likely to be selected and correspondingly be more satisfied with their work. The big five personality types are often helpful in matching the individuals with organizational culture.

Person-job fit and person-organization fit are considered to be the most relevant dimensions for the workplace, but person-group fit is important in team settings and person-supervisor fit is relevant to job satisfaction and performance outcomes.

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Cultural Values

Values differ across cultures

Two frameworks for assessing culture:

Hofstede

GLOBE

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There are global implications to personality and values in the workplace. Frameworks such as the Big Five are transferable across cultures; in fact, it has been used worldwide. However, the applicability is higher in some cultures than others. Values, on the other hand, differ to a great degree across cultures.

Geert Hofstede developed a framework for assessing culture. He breaks up his framework of understanding into five value dimensions: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, uncertainty avoidance, and long-term versus short-term orientation.

The GLOBE, as discussed earlier, is also helpful in framing differences between cultures.

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Hofstede’s Framework for Assessing Cultures (1 of 2)

Five factors:

Power Distance

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Masculinity vs. Femininity

Uncertainty Avoidance

Long-term vs. Short-term Orientation

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Power distance is the extent to which a society accepts that power in institutions and organizations is distributed unequally. Low-distance occurs when there is relatively equal power between those with status and wealth and those without. Higher distance occurs when there is unequal power distribution between groups.

The second component in Hofstede’s framework is individualism vs. collectivism. Individualism is the degree to which people prefer to act on their own rather than in a group. Collectivism is the idea that people operate within a social framework where they help others out and they expect help when they need it.

Hofstede offers a third component in his model that distinguishes between masculinity and femininity. Masculinity is the extent to which the culture prefers achievement, power, and control versus characteristics that are more feminine in nature.

The fourth component is uncertainty avoidance. This is the extent to which a society is willing to live with uncertainty and ambiguity. High uncertainty avoidance cultures will try to avoid ambiguous situations as much as possible. Lower uncertainty avoidance cultures do not mind ambiguity.

The final component is time orientation. Long-term orientation societies will emphasize the future and what it takes to get to the future they desire, thrift and persistence. Short-term orientation societies will emphasize the here and now.

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Hofstede’s Framework for Assessing Cultures (2 of 2)

Country Power Distance Rank Individualism Rank Masculinity Rank Uncertainty Avoidance Rank Long-term Orientation Rank
Australia 41 2 16 37 22-24
Great Britain 42-44 3 9-10 47-48 28-29
Greece 27-28 30 18-19 1
Guatemala 2-3 53 43 3
Hong Kong 15-16 37 18-19 49-50 2
Japan 33 22-23 1 7 4
Malaysia 1 36 25-26 46
Pakistan 32 47-48 25-26 24-25 34
Singapore 13 39-41 28 53 9
Sweden 47-48 10-11 53 49-50 20
United States 38 1 15 43 27

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Exhibit 5-4

Hofstede’s Cultural Values by Nation

Source: Copyright Geert Hofstede BV, hofstede@bart.nl. Reprinted with permission.

The exhibit shows the ratings and ranks of 53 countries. For example, power distance is higher in Malaysia than in any other country. The United States is very individualistic; in fact, it’s the most individualistic nation of all (closely followed by Australia and Great Britain). Guatemala is the most collectivistic nation. The country with the highest masculinity rank by far is Japan, and the country with the highest femininity rank is Sweden. Greece scores the highest in uncertainty avoidance, while Singapore scores the lowest. Hong Kong has one of the longest-term orientations; Pakistan has the shortest-term orientation.

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GLOBE Framework for Assessing Cultures

Ongoing study with nine factors:

Assertiveness

Future orientation

Gender differentiation

Uncertainty avoidance

Power distance

Individualism/ collectivism

In-group collectivism

Performance orientation

Humane orientation

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The GLOBE framework takes a look at nine dimensions of national culture. It is similar to Hofstede’s model but adds the humane and performance orientations. The humane orientation looks at how much society rewards people for being altruistic and kind where the performance orientation looks at how much society encourages and rewards good work.

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Implications for Managers

Consider screening job candidates for high conscientiousness

Use MBTI in training and development to help employees better understand themselves and team members, and facilitate communication

Evaluate your employees’ jobs, their work groups, and your organization to determine the optimal personality fit

Take into account employees’ situational factors when evaluating their observable personality traits, and lower the situation strength to better ascertain personality characteristics

Take into consideration people’s different cultures

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Copyright

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