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A discussion on the relationship between personality traits and workplace absenteeism

Rochester Institute of Technology This paper investigates the correlation and validity of the five-factor model with job performance and other job-related activities. Motivation, deviation, absences, and job satisfaction are related to the five factors.

Conscientiousness and agreeableness appear to a discussion on the relationship between personality traits and workplace absenteeism positively correlated with productivity in a team environment among peers and are more likely to aid in being selected for a job. Neuroticism and agreeableness are negatively correlated with leadership capabilities.

Individuals who score high on conscientiousness tend to perform well at work, whereas individuals lacking conscientiousness and having neuroticism tend to perform poorly at work. This is a review of the relation between the five-factor model of personality and performance in the workplace. Research in this field has yielded correlations between the five-factor model and aspects of job performance such as motivation, deviation, job satisfaction, and teamwork.

Motivation in the Workplace Studies of sales representatives have defined two aspects of motivation--status striving and accomplishment striving--and they are correlated with extraversion and conscientiousness, respectively. This study is questionable in that it studied sales representatives, who are likely required to be extraverted in order to succeed at their job. To say that extraverted sales representatives perform better is a bit redundant; shy sales people do not go far.

Because extraversion is such an integral aspect of being a salesperson, this study does not lend much support for a general model or theory correlating the five-factor model with job performance. Job Satisfaction The five-factor model is correlated with overall level of job satisfaction experienced by employees. In general, satisfied employees are more likely to remain in a position and to avoid absences than are dissatisfied employees. Initial research indicated that neuroticism is negatively correlated with job satisfaction, whereas conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness are positively correlated with job satisfaction.

Openness to experience has a negligible impact on job satisfaction. Additional research, however, has only been able to replicate correlations among the factors of neuroticism and extraversion, with extraversion being positively correlated with job satisfaction and neuroticism being negatively correlated. This finding may be due to the low level of arousability for extraverted individuals Hebb's theory.

If the workplace is a social environment, then extraverted employees are more likely to be at a low level of arousal while at work, whereas at their home there is less stimulation. Introverts, on the other hand, are more likely at their optimal level of arousal outside of the workplace, where there is less stimulation, and therefore are more likely dissatisfied with the level of stimulation that they experience while at work.

Deviation in the Workplace Workplace deviance occurs when an employee voluntarily pursues a course of action that threatens the well-being of the individual or the organization. Examples include stealing, hostile behavior towards coworkers, and withholding effort. Stealing and withholding effort are categorized as organizational deviance, whereas hostile and rude behavior toward coworkers are categorized as interpersonal deviance. Workplace deviance is related to the five-factor model of personality.

Interpersonal deviance is negatively correlated with high levels of agreeableness. Organizational deviance is negatively correlated with high levels of conscientiousness and positively correlated with high levels of neuroticism. This implies that individuals who are emotionally stable and conscientious are less likely to withhold effort or steal, whereas those who are agreeable are less likely to be hostile to their coworkers.

Another entirely different factor to consider is perception of the workplace. Employees who had a positive perception of their workplace were less likely to pursue deviant behavior.

Motivation in the Workplace

Research indicates that personality acts as a moderating factor: Absences Job absence is very much a part of job performance: Introverted, conscientious employees are much less likely to be absent from work, as opposed to extraverted employees who are low on conscientiousness. The Judge et al. The results of the latter research suggests that extraverted individuals are more satisfied in the workplace, because work gives them an opportunity to experience an optimal level of arousal, whereas introverted individuals are less satisfied in the workplace due to too much stimulation.

Combining the results of these two studies suggests that conscientiousness is the deciding factor regarding job absence.

  • Judge and his colleagues will likely continue their research and perhaps provide answers in the future;
  • Contrary to what the researchers hypothesized, agreeableness is negatively correlated with leadership abilities as well;
  • To say that extraverted sales representatives perform better is a bit redundant; shy sales people do not go far;
  • By means of the Cronbach Alpha coefficient method, the reliability of the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire was verified.

Perhaps another factor in absenteeism is that, although introverts may be less satisfied in the workplace, they go to work anyway. This behavior might imply either that introverts are more conscientious or simply that introverts have no compelling reason not to go to work whereas extraverts may have friends who urge them to skip work and go see a movie.

The Five-Factor Model of Personality in the Workplace

This conclusion is debateable, however, because introverts might be tempted to skip work to avoid the extra stimulation and might perhaps stay home and read a book a book on psychology, no doubt. Judge and his colleagues will likely continue their research and a discussion on the relationship between personality traits and workplace absenteeism provide answers in the future. Teamwork Oftentimes in the workplace the ability to be a team player is valued and is critical to job performance.

Recent research has suggested that conscientiousness, extraversion, and agreeableness are all related to cooperative behavior but that they are not related to task performance. Leadership abilities are often essential in the workplace, especially for individuals who aspire to move up into the ranks of management.

Studies of Asian military units have found that neuroticism is negatively correlated with leadership abilities. Contrary to what the researchers hypothesized, agreeableness is negatively correlated with leadership abilities as well. This evidence is consistent with the long-standing idea that in teams there are leaders and there are followers; the leaders make decisions and the followers abide by them.

Although agreeableness is positively correlated with working with a team, it is negatively correlated with being a leader.

Those followers who do not always agree and are willing to voice their own opinions end up moving up the ranks, whereas those who blindly agree are left as followers. Given that conscientious individuals have a tendency to perform better as employees, it is easy to believe that employers will seek out that factor or the traits that coincide with it. Summary Job performance and personality as measured in the five-factor model are related. It appears that the relation between job performance and the five factors is more a consequence of the social aspects of the workplace than of ability.

Research indicates that cognitive ability is more strongly correlated with task performance than any of the five factors are correlated with task performance. The five factors are strongly correlated with cooperating with others and enjoying the overall workplace experience, which are key components of long-term job success. Being absent from work or working as a team are correlates of personality that directly affect whether one will succeed in the workplace, and they are strongly correlated with the Big Five and not with cognitive ability.

It is worth noting that the majority of research has been on sales or other occupations in which interacting with people is required. Is it possible that these studies are skewed?

Perhaps researching individuals in jobs that require very little human interaction such as authors of fiction, like Steven King would yield different results. Conscientiousness and extraversion are the two aspects of the five-factor model that are always correlated with positive job performance, although conscientiousness is more positively correlated extraversion is negatively correlated with job performance in that it appears to inspire more absence, but only when combined with low levels of conscientiousness.

Agreeableness is negatively correlated with job performance within a leadership role. Openness to experience, in general, is unrelated. Neuroticism is negatively correlated with job performance. Cognitive ability may allow an employee to complete a specific task, but the ability to work with others and to stay motivated are aspects of personality.

The five-factor model is a valid predictor of workplace performance. Personality is an indispensable consideration for employers looking for quality employees.