Unit -3 : Personality

Definition of personality

Personality means how a person affects others and how he understands and views himself as well as the pattern of inner and outer measurable traits and the person-situation interactions (Fred Luthans). According to Stephen P. Robbins, personality is the sum total ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. It may be defined as those inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to his environment.

Personality can be defined as those inner psychological characteristics that both determine and reflect how a person responds to the environment.


1. Heredity : Human behaviour is partly affected by heredity. The parent’s qualities are passed on to the children through the molecular structure of genes located in the chromosomes. In our day to day life, so many times we use the term “Like father like son” as “Like Mother like daughter”.

2. Environment : All personality traits are not determined by heredity. Environment also plays a very important role in the development of personality of a person. Environment comprises of culture, family, social and situational factors.

(a) Culture : Culture is sum total of learned believes, values and customs. Cultural factors

determine now a person acts whether independently or dependently. Culture establishes norms, attitudes and values that are passed along from generation to generation.

(b) Family : Families influence the behaviour of a person especially in the early stages. The

nature of such influence will depend upon the following factors :

(i) Socio-economic level of the family

(ii) Family size

(iii) Birth order

(iv) Race

(v) Religion

(vi) Parent’s educational level and Geographic location.

(c) Social : Socialization is a process by which an infant acquires customary and acceptable

behaviour. Social life has a considerable impact on the individual’s behaviour. A man is known by the company he keeps. Social groups influence the behaviour of the individuals.

(d) Situational : Situational factors also play a very important role in determining the personality of a person. Life is a collection of experiences. Some of the events and experiences can serve as important determinants of his personality.

The Nature of Personality

Three distinct properties are of central importance in the study of the nature of personality:

1. Personality reflects individual differences: For instance, some people can be described as “high” in venturesomeness, e.g., willing to accept the risk of doing something new or different, such as skydiving or mountain climbing, whereas others can be described as “low” in venturesomeness, e.g., afraid to buy a really new product.

2. Personality is consistent and enduring: Even though consumers’ personalities may be consistent, their consumption behavior often varies considerably because of the various psychological, socio-cultural, environmental and situational factors that affect behavior. For instance, although an individual’s personality may be relatively stable, specific needs or motives, attitudes, reactions to group pressures and even responses to newly available brands may cause a change in the person’s behavior. Personality is only one of a combination of factors that influence how a consumer behaves.

3. Personality can change: For instance, an individual’s personality may be altered by major life events, such as the birth of a child, the death of a loved one, a divorce, or a significant career promotion. An individual’s personality changes not only in response to abrupt events but also part of a gradual maturing process.

Occupational Personality Types

Occupational Personality Types

R = Realistic (Physical activities that require skill, strength and cooperation) I = Investigative (Activities that involve thinking, organizing and understanding) A = Artistic (Ambiguous and unsystematic activities that allow creative expression) S = Social (Activities that involve helping and developing others)

E = Enterprising (Verbal activities in which there are opportunities to influence and attain power C = Conventional.

Personality Type A people:

> seem to always be moving.

> usually walk and eat rapidly.

> are always trying to do several things at once.

> have problems relaxing, often feeling it is time wasted.

> are often obsessed with numbers and with trying to acquire things.

> Type B people:

> never suffer from a sense of time urgency with its accompanying impatience.

> feel no need to display or discuss either their achievements or accomplishments unless such exposure is demanded by the situation.

Big Five personality traits

big five personality traits peats

The big five personality traits

The Big Five personality traits, also known as the five-factor model (FFM) and the OCEAN model, is a taxonomy, or grouping, for Personality traits.

The five factors are:

  • Openness to experience (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious)
  • Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless)
  • Extraversion (outgoing/energetic vs. solitary/reserved)
  • Agreeableness (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached)
  • Neuroticism (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident)

The five factors are represented by the acronym OCEAN or CANOE. Beneath each proposed global factor, there are a number of correlated and more specific primary factors. For example, extraversion is said to include such related qualities as gregariousness, assertiveness, excitement seeking, warmth, activity, and positive emotions.[4]

Family life and the way someone was raised will also affect these traits. Twin studies and other research have shown that about half of the variation between individuals results from their genetics and half from their environments. Researchers have found conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, and neuroticism to be relatively stable from childhood through adulthood.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality framework is a theory of personality types that helps managers with job placement, conflict management, team building and career development.

What Is the MBTI

Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, felt that the population was based on two personality types: extraverted and introverted types. Extraversion is a preference indicating an individual is energized by interaction with other people. Introversion is a preference indicating an individual is energized by time alone.

Jung also discovered two types of perceiving (sensing and intuition) and two types of judgment (thinking and feeling). Perceiving is how we accumulate information, and judgment is how we make decisions. His theory is the main idea of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Instrument (MBTI), which is used in the business world for career counseling, developing management’s style, team building and conflict management. The MBTI helps explain individual differences and can aid businesses in developing and shaping their employees.

Buzz Sugar Candy is changing their corporate Structure to a team environment. Each team will have one employee from each department of engineering, finance, accounting, marketing and design. The human resource manager would like to develop teams that have similar personality traits, as to make the employees work together in an effective manner.

Each employee has been asked to take the MBTI test, which has four scales with two possible choices for each scale. The mix of these preferences determines an employee’s psychological type. The human resource manager can create the best teams by understanding the different scales.

Meaning of Locus of control

Locus of control refers to one’s assumption about responsibility for good and bad events. Every person during his lifetime comes across some good and some had outcomes. While he acts to maximise the possibility of good outcomes and enjoys the success of his life, he tries to minimise the possibility of bad outcomes.

Types of Locus of Control:

Locus of control is of two types:

(1) Internal Locus of control,

(2) External Locus of control.

1. Internal Locus of Control:

When a person believes that he or she is able to act so as to maximise the possibility of good outcomes and to minimise the possibility of bad outcomes he is said to have internal locus of control.

2. External Locus of Control:

Those who are always at the mercy of luck, fate and unforeseen uncontrollable outside force and feel helpless all the time and never like to take the responsibility for their bad outcomes and miserable performances in life are said to have external locus of control.

Individual differences are seen in this regard. Some people are so made up that they always blame some outside force for their failure, while there are others who do not adopt this attitude. In this context Jullian hotter (1975) proposed the dimensions of locus of control.

According to the personality theory of Rotter behaviour occurs as a function of a person’s expectancy that the behaviour will result in reinforcement and the value expectancy he or she places on any particular reinforcement.

Assumptions of Locus of Control:

People try to maximize highly valued rewards and minimise extremely distasteful punishments. From the learning experience of the childhood some people develop an internal belief system that by sincerity, hard work and efforts and intelligent understanding of the situation, one can prosper.


On the other hand some people assume that success or failure of a person and other important event of his life is determined by chance, by luck and by other unknown factors.

Rotter (1966) has developed a scale which treats locus of control. Taking into consideration the dimension of personality as envisaged by Rotter, it was held that maladjustment should be associated with either extreme of this personality dimension. One could be maladjusted by assuming total helplessness or lack of responsibility or by believing that he is totally in control of life’s events.

Personality Assessment

Personality Assessment is a proficiency in professional psychology that involves the administration, scoring, and interpretation of empirically supported measures of personality traits and styles in order to: 

  • Refine clinical diagnoses; 
  • Structure and inform psychological interventions; and 
  • Increase the accuracy of behavioral prediction in a variety of contexts and settings (e.g., clinical, forensic, organizational, educational).