Thursday, November 29, 2007

OB Handout # 3

Personality and Attitudes

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 Fred Luthans, people’s external appearance and traits, their inner awareness of self, and the person-situation interaction make up their personalities. S P Robbins has defined personality as ‘sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others’.

What shapes personality?
Heredity: 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.

Environment: 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:
Conscientiousness: Dependable, hardworking, organized, self-disciplined, persistent, responsible. A high conscientious person pursues fewer goals in a purposeful way.
Emotional Stability: Calm, secure, happy, enthusiastic. Those with low emotional stability tend to be nervous, depressed and insecure.
Agreeableness: Cooperative, warm, caring, good-natured, courteous, trusting. People with low agreeableness tend to focus more on their personal needs rather than needs of others.
Extraversion: Sociable, outgoing, talkative, assertive, gregarious.
Openness to experience: Curious, intellectual, creative, cultured, artistically sensitive, flexible, imaginative.

Myers Briggs Type Indicators
This is based on the theory proposed by Carl Jung in 1920. Jung observed that people can be classified into Extrovert-Introvert, Sensing-Intuitive, Thinking-Feeling, Judging-Perceiving. In 1940s, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs-Myers developed a 100-item personality test asking participants how they usually feel or act in particular situations in order to measure the preferences on the four pairs of traits yielding 16 distinct types.
ISTJIntroverted Sensing with Thinking
ISFJIntroverted Sensing with Feeling
INFJIntroverted iNtuition with Feeling
INTJIntroverted iNtuition with Thinking
ISTPIntroverted Thinking with Sensing
ISFPIntroverted Feeling with Sensing
INFPIntroverted Feeling with iNtuition
INTPIntroverted Thinking with iNtuition
ESTPExtraverted Sensing with Thinking
ESFPExtraverted Sensing with Feeling
ENFPExtraverted iNtuition with Feeling
ENTPExtraverted iNtuition with Thinking
ESTJExtraverted Thinking with Sensing
ESFJExtraverted Feeling with Sensing
ENFJExtraverted Feeling with iNtuition
ENTJExtraverted Thinking with iNtuition

A large number of companies are using MBTI in their MDPs and team-building initiatives. Examples: AT & T, Exxxon, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard etc.

Attitude is a persistent tendency to feel and behave in a particular way towards some object. Like personality, attitudes are a complex cognitive process that has three basic features: they persist unless changed in some way, they range along a continuum, and they are directed towards an object about which a person has feelings/beliefs. According to Breckler and Wiggins, attitudes are enduring mental representations of various features the social and physical world.

Functions of Attitude
helps people adjusts to their environment
helps people defend their self-image
provides a basis for people’s value system
supplies standards and frames of references that allow people to organize their worldview

Process of Formation of Attitudes
Social Learning: acquiring attitudes by way of social interactions and value system
Direct Experience
Modeling: acquiring attitudes by observing others.

Mechanism of changing attitudes

Richard M Steers has suggested following methods of engineering attitude change
1. Providing new information
2. Fear arousal or reduction
3. Dissonance arousal (dissonance leads to inconsistencies in attitude and behaviour causing unpleasant feeling which results in change in attitude)
4. Position discrepancy
5. Participation in decision-making

Kelman has suggested the following processes to alter attitude:
· Compliance: applying subtle pressure on the individual to comply with a particular norm either by threat of punishment or by promise of reward
· Identification: Change agent influences the individual with his own attributes that is so powerful that people start identifying with him and following his way of looking at things.
· Internalization: new attitude is integrated with other attitude and becomes a part of individual’s personality.


avi said...

dear sir...

m very thankful to you...ur notes or blogs are really very nice..nd i must say ur a great teacher..thanking you...

ka said...

a bndl of thnx sir!
its a gr8 platefrm 4 students

Personality Types said...

Glad to see personality types being taught. I'm an INTJ personality and I find MBTI very helpful.