The Big-Five Model

The early work in the structure of personality revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring characteristics that describe an individual’s behavior. Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy, ambitious, loyal and timid. Those characteristics, when they’re exhibited in a large number of situations, are called personality traits. The more consistent the characteristics and the more frequently it occurs in diverse situations, the more important are the traits in describing the individual.

There were a number of early efforts to identify the primary traits that govern behavior. However, for the most part, these efforts resulted in long lists of traits that were difficult to generalize from and provided little practical guidance to organizational decision makers. Two exceptions are the Myers Briggs type Indicator and the Big-Five Model. Over the past 20 years, these two approaches have become the dominant frameworks for identifying and classifying traits. In this article we are discussing about the ‘Big-Five Model’

The MBTI may lack for strong supporting evidence, but that can’t be said for the five-factor model of personality — more typically called the “Big Five.â€?

In recent years, an impressive body of Research supports that five basic dimensions underlie all others and encompass most of the significant variation in human personality. The Big Five factors are,


This dimension captures one’s comfort level with relationships. Extroverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and sociable. Introverts tend to be reserved, timid, and quiet.


This dimension refers to an individual’s propensity to deter to others. Highly agreeable people are cooperative, warm, and trusting. People who score low on agreeableness are cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic.


This dimension is a measure of reliability. A highly conscientious person is responsible, organized, dependable, and persistent. Those who score low on this dimension are easily distracted, disorganized, and unreliable.

Emotional stability:

This dimension taps a person’s ability to withstand stress. People with positive emotional stability tend to be calm, self-confident, and secure. Those with high negative scores tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed, and insecure.

Openness to experience: The final dimension addresses one’s range of interests and fascination with novelty. Extremely open people are creative, curious, and artistically sensitive. Those at the other end of the openness category are conventional and find comfort in the familiar

In addition to providing a unifying personality framework, research on the Big Five also has found important relationship between these personality dimensions and job performance. A broad spectrum of occupations was looked at professionals including engineers, architects, accountants, attorneys, police, managers, salespeople, and semiskilled and skilled employees. Job performance was defined in terms of performance ratings, training proficiency (performance during training programs), and personnel data such as salary level. The results showed that conscientiousness predicted job performance for all occupational groups.

The preponderance of evidence shows that individuals who are dependable, reliable, careful, thorough, able to plan, organized, hardworking, persistent, and achievement-oriented tend to have higher job performance in most if not all occupations. In addition, employees who score higher in conscientiousness develop higher levels of job knowledge, probably because highly conscientious people exert greater levels of effort on their jobs. The higher levels of job knowledge then contribute to higher levels of job performance.

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