Saturday, April 12, 2008

Individual Behaviour Handout # 2

Personality

What is personality?
Personal characteristics that lead to consistent patterns of behavior
Observable patterns of behaviour that last over time (Trait theory)
How the unconscious of an individual reacts to stimuli (Psychoanalytic theory)
Self-actualization and the drive to realize one’s potential (Humanistic theory)

According to Slocum and Hellriegal, 'Personality represents the overall profile or combination of stable psychological attributes that capture the unique nature of a person. It combines a set of mental and physical characteristics that reflects how a person looks, thinks, acts and feels.' Fred Luthans has defined personality as people’s external appearance and traits, their inner awareness of self, and the person-situation interaction make up their personalities. S P Robbins observes that personality is ‘sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others’.
Four Personality Attributes
Internal Locus of Control: People who believe that they can control their own destinies are said to have internal locus of control
External Locus of Control: People who believe that things happen just by accident or chance are said to have external locus of control.
Authoritarianism: Following are the traits of an authoritarian person –
Intellectually rigid
Judgmental,
Suspicious,
Resistant to change,
Respects highly placed people
Exploits subordinates
Machiavellianism: Following are the traits of Machiavellian person –
Pragmatic
Keeps an emotional distance
Believes that ends justify means
Takes decision quickly
Takes greater risks

Personality types based on temperament
The sanguine type is cheerful and optimistic, pleasant to be with, comfortable with his or her work. According to the Greeks, the sanguine type has a particularly abundant supply of blood (hence the name sanguine, from sanguis, Latin for blood) and so also is characterized by a healthful look, including rosy cheeks.
The choleric type is characterized by a quick, hot temper, often an aggressive nature. The name refers to bile (a chemical that is excreted by the gall bladder to aid in digestion). Physical features of the choleric person include a yellowish complexion and tense muscles.
Phlegmatic temperament. These people are characterized by their slowness, laziness, and dullness. The name obviously comes from the word phlegm, which is the mucus we bring up from our lungs when we have a cold or lung infection. Physically, these people are thought to be kind of cold, and shaking hands with one is like shaking hands with a fish.
Melancholy temperament. These people tend to be sad, even depressed, and take a pessimistic view of the world. The name has, of course, been adopted as a synonym for sadness, but comes from the Greek words for black bile. Now, since there is no such thing, we don’t quite know what the ancient Greeks were referring to. But the melancholy person was thought to have too much of it!

What shapes personality?
Heredity: We inherit 60-70% abilities and intelligence About 50% of our overall personality 30-40% of our religious and political beliefs (Minnesota Studies); 30-50% shyness and tendency to get upset easily (Bouchard and others). Physical stature, facial attractiveness, gender, temperament, muscle composition and reflexes, energy levels etc are broadly attributed to biological factors. Parents’ biological, physiological and inherent psychological make-up contribute to an individual’s personality to a great extent. According to ‘Heredity’ approach, the ultimate explanation of an individual’s personality is the molecular structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes.However, the critics observe that if personality characteristics were completely dictated by heredity, they would be fixed at birth and no amount of experience/learning could alter them. There are evidences to prove that experience and learning can shape one’s personality to a fairly great extent although changing physical features and personal disposition is not possible.
Socialization: Socialization involves learning the following:Social customsValuesNormsAttitudesRelationshipsHierarchiesStructures
Environment plays an important role in shaping one’s personality. People are greatly influenced by culture, values, traditions, formal and informal groups etc. More importantly, an individual learns to react to situations in a particular way as a result of socialization process one is exposed to.
Person-situation interaction: An individual’s personality, although generally stable and consistent, does change in different situations. Individuals react to different situations differently. Moreover, individuals may also react differently to an identical situation. Thus, person-situation interactions keep adding to overall development of one’s personality.

Personality Traits
The Big Five Personality Traits:
There are five core personality traits that best predict performance at the workplace. Although, the five traits are largely independent factors of personality, they operate alongside other traits to provide a unique mix of personality.
Following are the five core traits of personality:
Emotional stability: degree to which a person is relaxed, secure and unworried
High emotional stability: Stable, Confident, Effective
Low emotional stability: Nervous, self-doubting moody
Agreeableness: person’s ability to get along with others
High agreeableness: Warm, tactful, considerate
Low agreeableness: independent, cold, rude
Extraversion: person’s comfort level with relationship
High on extraversion:Gregarious, energetic, self-dramatizing Low on extraversion:Shy, unassertive, withdrawn
Conscientiousness: the number of goals on which a person focuses
High Conscientiousness: Careful, neat, dependable
Low Conscientiousness:Impulsive, careless, irresponsible
Openness: person’s curiosity and range of interests
High on openness: Imaginative, curious, original
Low on openness: Dull, unimaginative

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