Discussed herein, is a small analysis of the importance of understanding how personality traits from the big five personality model can help optimize organizational performance. Even though the big-five personality model has five major traits, only conscientiousness is reviewed. Implications to organization performance is discussed as well as a review of the big-five personality model in the Word of God.
Personality Psychology: Individual Performance Related to Personality Traits with Organizational Implications
As a leader of a team or a business owner, understanding the personality traits from the big-five personality model (five-factor trait theory) can be valuable for all types of organizations (nonprofit or for-profit). An organization regardless of their status (nonprofit or for-profit) is made up of people, people with differing combinations of personality traits. As with any organization there will inevitably be roles constructed with varying tasks assigned to those roles. What is important to consider is that some roles will align best with a particular set of personality traits, while others will perhaps create a degree of dissonance. Theoretically, one could train an individual to operate in a role, yet a method worth considering is personality trait and role compatibility pairing. Not all personalities are suited for the various roles within an organization. It may be in the leaders or business owners’ best interest to understand their personnel’s personality traits to a greater degree, allowing them to best optimize personality and role compatibility pairing.
Big-Five Trait Model: Conscientiousness
What follows is a short discussion of the personality trait of conscientiousness which is one of the five personality traits in the Five-factor trait theory (Hassan, Akhtar & Yılmaz, 2016; J. Feist, G. Feist & Roberts, 2018; Emami, Mirjafari, & Fazel, 2018). A high score of the personality trait of conscientiousness is typically attributed to individuals who would be characterized as well organized, self-disciplined, high achieving in personal and academic life, able to control impulses in the face of hostile psychosocial situations, wanting to excel in a tasks assigned to them, ambitious and not afraid of labor (Hassan et al., 2016; J. Feist et al., 2018; Emami et al., 2018). Those that score low on the personality trait of conscientiousness could be characterized as sloppy, easily impacted by hostile psychosocial circumstances, negligent in scope of work, apathetic, aimless and most likely will put in little to no effort when confronted with a difficult project or assignments (Hassan et al., 2016; J. Feist et al., 2018; Emami et al., 2018).
Understanding Personality Traits: Organizational Impacts
Understanding personality traits carry great utility across multiple domains such as business, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), non-profit organizations, academic and personal endeavors (Hassan et al., 2016; Emami et al., 2018). Hassan et al. (2016) mentions that personality traits are beneficial in predicting an individual’s performance at their place of employment or other scopes of work. Hassan et al. (2016) suggests that when an employer understands their employee’s personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness), employers have a greater probability of aligning them to a job function that will maximize profitability for the organization and satisfaction for the employee. Additionally, employers who understand a potential employee’s or current employee’s personality trait scores are better equipped to avoid misaligning or hiring an individual to a scope of work they will have a difficult time exceling in. Avoiding such circumstances is rewarding both economically and psychologically. Additionally, understanding personality traits will not only benefit an employer / employee relationship, it is applicable to mentor-mentee, coach-trainee, therapist-client, and parent-child relationships as well. Of the five personality traits in the Five-factor trait theory, Hassan et al. (2016) state that the personality trait of conscientiousness is an effective predictor of performance across all occupations. In the empirical study completed by Hassan et al. (2016) conscientiousness was not only shown to be related to job performance, but conscientiousness expressed the strongest relationship of the five personality traits with how well an individual will perform at a specific task, job, or role.
Five Factor Trait Theory in Scripture
In the Word of God, one can observe the trait of conscientiousness in the parable of the talents that Jesus shared with His disciples (Matthew 25, AMP). One can witness two extremes of the personality trait of conscientiousness in this same story which can be observed through the servants’ behavior. As the parable unfolds, one servant is given five talents, another two talents and to the last servant one talent (Matthew 25:15, AMP). One could infer, based on their behavior that the servant who was given five talents would score high on the personality trait of conscientiousness. This is based on the account that upon receiving their talents, the servant immediately set a goal, worked diligently towards that goal and achieved that goal (Matthew 25:16, AMP). The behavior that the servant with five talents aligns with the characteristics of a high score of conscientiousness which are being goal oriented, well organized, self-ambitious, hardworking and not afraid to fail (Hassan et al., 2016; J. Feist et al., 2018; Emami et al, 2018). In contrast, one could infer a low score of conscientiousness to the servant that only received one talent. Upon receiving the talent, the servant straightway hid the talent, implying that the servant had little to no ambition, aimlessness and laziness (Matthew 25:18, 26-29, AMP). According to J. Feist et al. (2018) and Hassan et al. (2016) these characteristics, which were expressed and affirmed by the Master in the parable (Matthew 25:26-29, AMP), align with a low scoring on the personality trait of conscientiousness. These behaviors outlined by the two servants are great examples of job performance output based off the personality trait of conscientiousness. As suggested by Hassan et al. (2016), those who are in a place of employing, coaching, training, or mentoring others, ought to consider understanding the personality traits of those they have the privilege of being stewards over.
Emami, F., Mirjafari, S. A., & Fazel, A. (2018). Relationship between organizational ethical climate and counterproductive work behaviors with the moderating role of personality characteristics. Indian Journal of Positive Psychology, 9(3), 355–359. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asn&AN=133584136&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Feist, J., Feist, G. J., & Roberts, T. (2018). Theories of personality (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Hassan, S., Akhtar, N., & Yılmaz, A. K. (2016). Impact of the conscientiousness as personality trait on both job and organizational performance. Journal of Managerial Sciences, 10(1), 1–14. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liberty.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=bth&AN=116345414&site=ehost-live&scope=site