Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chapter 5

One of the things that held my interest in this chapter was the Big Five Personality Dimensions. These five personality dimensions categorized our personality traits into five different classifications: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. While reading through this, I suddenly remembered a friend who told me that she once had to take a personality test during her internship to see if she “matched well” with her colleagues. After hearing this, I was curious as to why they would do such a thing. I always thought that your job is your job—whether or not you mesh well with your coworker, you need to do what was needed to be done. As I was explaining this to that friend, she laughed and told me that while a part of your job was doing what was supposed to be done, being successful required knowledge of the people you were working with and an understanding the differences you had with them. She told me that in her work, most of her coworkers and herself, including their manager, had results that closely matched one another, therefore their workflow was much smoother since they all seemed to work well together.

This made me question the validity of the Big Five Personality Dimensions. I then found this article by S. Rothman and EP Coetzer which talked about an experiment done to see the validity of these dimensions. They came up with the conclusion that, “a combination of emotional stability (i.e. low Neuroticism), Extraversion, Openness to Experience, and Conscientiousness explained about 15% of the variance in the task performance and creativity” (Rothman and Coetzer) They also wrote, “Furthermore, personality dimensions were related to management performance. Emotional stability, openness to experience, and agreeableness, were practically significantly related to managerial performance. Managers who are emotionally stable, open to experience, and agreeable tend to perform better than those who measured lower on these dimensions.” (Rothman and Coetzer) Therefore it could be said that these dimensions really do tell how well you work at a certain environment.

I also found this website, which is quite interesting. Though this is not the official Big Five Personality Dimension test, this will somehow give you a perspective of where you lie in the five categories:

Source: Rothman, S and EP Coetzer. "The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job Performance." SA Journal of Industrial Psychology (2003): 72.

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