Implications of Personality and Value at a glance

Personality: What value, if any does the Big Five pride to be managers? From the early 1900s through the mid-1980s, researchers sought to find a link between personality and job performance. The outcome of those 80-plus years of research was that personality and job performance were not meaningfully related across traits or situations. However, the past 20 years have been more promising, largely due to the findings surrounding the Big Five. Seeking employees who score high on conscientiousness, for instance, is probably sound advice. Similarly, screening candidate for managerial and sales positions to identify those high in extraversion also should pay dividends. In terms of exerting effort at work, there is impressive evidence that people who score high on conscientiousness, extraversion and emotional stability are likely to be highly motivated employees. Of course, situational factors need to be taken into consideration. Factors such as job demands, the degree of required interaction with others, and the organization’s culture are examples of situational variables that moderate the personality – job performance relationship. So you need to evaluate the job, the work group and the organization to determine the optimum personality fit.

Although the MBTI has been widely criticized it may have a place for use in organizations. In training and developments it can help employees to better understand themselves. It can provide aid to teams by helping members better understand each other. And it can open up communication in work groups and possibly reduce conflicts.

Values: Why is it important to know an individual’s values? Although they don’t have a direct impact on behavior, values strongly influence a person’s attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions. So knowledge of an individual’s value system can prove insight into what makes the person tick.

Given that people’s values differ, managers can use the Rokeach Value Survey to assess potential employees and determine of their values align with the dominant values of the organization. Employees’ performance and satisfaction are likely to be higher if their values fit well with the organization. For instance, the person who places high importance on imagination, independence, and freedom is likely to be poorly matched with an organization that seeks conformity from its employees. Managers are more likely to appreciate, evaluate positions, and allocate rewards to employees who ‘fit in’ and employees are more likely to be satisfied if they perceive that they do fit in. This argues for management to strive during the selection of new employees to find job candidates, who not only have the ability, experience, and motivation to perform but also a value system that is compatible with the organization.

The organizational Culture Profile (OCP) can help assess whether or not an individual’s values match the organization’s. The OCP helps in individuals sort their characteristics in terms of importance, which indicates what person values. The reason individuals sort characteristics – as opposed to just rating them a scale such as 1= this characteristic doesn’t matter to me versus 10 = this characteristic is extremely important to me is that al values are desirable. In other words, who would want to work in an unsupportive organization, or one with a bad reputation? So, if people were using the rating scale, they might rate all the values as extremely important. The forced choice nature of the OCP makes sense, because it is only through having to make hard choices that one’s true values become apparent. For example, Motorola emphasizes innovation, tolerance for diversity and teamwork. These values are assessed in the OCP. So, if these were at the high end of your pyramid, then you’d probably be happy in this type of culture. But you might not be as happy in GE’s culture, which emphasizes achievement performance, results and individual responsibility.