In the corporate landscape, there has been a noticeable surge of interest in the Five Factor Approach, despite the presence of various other personality models, since the mid-1980s. Big 5 test can be taken for free on the Psyculator platform. Essentially, this approach suggests that human personality can be distilled into just five fundamental factors, commonly recognized as Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism, occasionally referred to as Emotional Stability (Block, 1995, 2001; John & Srivastava, 1999). These broad factors are intricately linked to more specific personality traits, often termed personality facets. The most widely accepted framework, known as the Five Factor Model (FFM; Costa & McCrae, 1992a), commonly referred to as the Big Five, encompasses 30 lower-level personality facets (with six facets corresponding to each broad factor). For example, Neuroticism is associated with attributes such as anxiety and anger; Conscientiousness evaluates qualities like self-discipline and planning abilities; Agreeableness encompasses traits such as altruism and empathy; Extraversion measures sociability and extroversion, while Openness generally assesses one’s inclination toward embracing new experiences.
Extensive research has solidified the notion that personality can reliably predict job performance. Take Conscientiousness, for instance, considered the most robust predictor of job performance across a wide range of professions. It consistently demonstrates predictive correlations across various meta-analyses: .18 (Tett, Jackson, & Rothstein, 1991); .22 (Barrick & Mount, 1991); .24 (Hurtz & Donovan, 2000); .26 (Judge, Rodell, Klinger, Simon, & Crawford, 2013). In simpler terms, Conscientiousness accounts for up to 6.8 percent of the variation in job performance. While this may seem modest, it’s crucial to note that after IQ, recognized as the most potent predictor of job performance, the Big Five personality factors emerge as the second most influential predictors for job outcomes. Importantly, personality adds an additional layer of predictive value beyond IQ, suggesting that a portion of job performance attributed to personality cannot be solely attributed to employees’ intellectual capabilities.
What’s even more intriguing is the extensive body of research indicating that personality can provide insights into various critical organizational metrics beyond job performance. Numerous meta-analyses have validated the pivotal role of personality in predicting job satisfaction (Judge, Heller, & Mount, 2002), burnout (Alarcon, Eschleman, & Bowling, 2009), absenteeism (Ones, Viswesvaran, & Schmidt, 2003; Salgado, 2002), presenteeism (Johns, 2010; Miraglia, & Johns, 2016), workplace accidents (Clarke & Robertson, 2005; Clarke & Robertson, 2008), organizational commitment (Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch, & Topolnytsky, 2002), organizational justice (Cohen-Charash & Spector, 2001), and counterproductive workplace behavior (Grijalva & Newman, 2015).
Furthermore, other meta-analytic studies underscore the significance of personality assessments in predicting both positive and negative leadership styles (Bono & Judge, 2004; Eagly, Johannesen-Schmidt, & Van Engen, 2003). In terms of the latter, personality assessments serve as valuable tools for identifying destructive leaders whose actions have adverse effects on organizations (e.g., Babiak & Hare, 2006; Campbell, Hoffman, Campbell, & Marchisio, 2011; Mathieu, Hare, Jones, Babiak, & Neumann, 2013). Importantly, a growing body of organizational research has linked destructive leadership to workplace bullying (e.g., Boddy, 2005, 2010, 2015), with a recent study indicating that in a sample of working individuals in the United States, psychopathic and narcissistic leadership styles explained as much as 41 percent and 25 percent of the variance in workplace bullying, and up to 20 percent of the variance in employee depression (Tokarev, Phillips, Hughes, & Irwing, 2017). This carries significant economic costs, with the organizational costs of workplace bullying in the UK alone estimated to range from four to four and a half billion pounds annually, attributed to lost productivity and legal expenses (Rayner, 1997; Sheehan, 1999). In fact, the issue of workplace bullying is so persistent that Einarsen (1999) asserted that “Bullying at work… is a more debilitating and devastating problem for employees than all other work-related stressors combined” (p.2).”
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