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Portfolio: Big five Personality Traits and Oliver P. John Essay

1. Introduction

The purpose of this portfolio is to reflect on my experiences and learning’s whilst studying BSB124- Working in Business, particularly what I have learnt about my Intrapersonal and Interpersonal competencies. I will explore my personality trains through the use of the Big Five Inventory (BFI), and explain how they can be beneficial/detrimental to my future career goal.

2. Intrapersonal

Intrapersonal effectiveness is defined as “Understanding yourself (and your goals, strengths, weaknesses, style, biases) and improving self-management skills, such as time management and stress management” (De Janasz, Wood, Gottschalk, Dowd and Schneider 2006, p. 3).

2.1 The Big Five Inventory

The Big Five Inventory (BFI) is a personality assessment tool, which has five dimensions including Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (Costa and McCrae, 1992). Research has been conducted to explain how people with varying levels of these traits will perform within the workplace. Research conducted, shows that conscientiousness and emotional stability are positively correlated with job performance in virtually all jobs (Anderson and Viswesvaran 1998; Barrick and Mount 1991; Salgado 1997; Tett et al. 1991), extraversion has been found to be related to job performance in occupations where interactions with others are a significant portion of the job (Barrick and Mount 1991; Mount et al. 1998), agreeableness is said to be positively associated to ratings of teamwork, and openness to experience has been positively related to training performance (Barrick and Mount 1991; Salgado 1997).

As you will see in Appendix 1, I am highest in agreeableness, followed by extraversion then openness to experience, with my lowest ratings being conscientiousness and neuroticism. These results are important, as I see myself working as a Public Relations representative for a large, international corporation within the next five (5) to ten (10) years (preferably for a charity organisation such as Ronald McDonald House Charities).

My personality test scores indicate that I am sympathetic, modest, straightforward, sociable, enthusiastic, imaginative, confident and even-tempered; however, I am not very thorough, and there is definitely room for improvement with my organizational skills (Costa and McCrae 1992). According to the handbook of personality (Oliver P. John et al.), being high in extraversion means that I very sociable and am suitable for positions of leadership.

This is relevant to my long-term career goal, as research conducted on seek.com shows that leadership qualities as well as social/networking skills, are valuable within the Public relations industry (see Appendix 2 for job advertisements). Further research into the requirements of obtaining a position within the Public Relations industry would indicate that task and goal directed behaviour; as well strong organizational skills are required. These qualities are consistent with the personality trait of conscientiousness. As mentioned previously, my personality test scores indicate that conscientiousness is an area in which has room for improvement.

I feel that my personality profile reflects many strengths as well as weaknesses, especially in terms of my likely workplace performance. As mentioned throughout this section, I am high in agreeableness and extraversion, and low in conscientiousness. These results are consistent with my experiences within BSB124, especially throughout the group presentation, as I believe that I did a good job in motivating my team and helping others. Although our overall grade was a six (6), I feel that we would have achieved better results had I organized my time appropriately and practiced my part of the speech more thoroughly (I did the introduction, and had to start over as I had lost my place roughly thirty (30) seconds in).

As mentioned previously, I intend on obtaining a position within a large international organisation. I believe that my low level of conscientiousness will hinder my success in this environment, and therefore, see it as an area that I can focus on to further my professional development. I believe that my high level of agreeableness and openness to experience will be helpful, especially as I will be working with a wide variety of people from all kinds of backgrounds/nationalities.

A high level of agreeableness means that I will work well in a team environment (Oliver P. John et al.) and a high level of openness to experience suggests that I am willing to learn and try new things (Oliver P. John et al.). This is significant when working with people from different cultures, I don’t know how to word this, I am trying to say that I may see something as conventional; however, someone with a different background will see it as strange- hence I will need to be able to adapt my methods when working overseas.

2.2 Learning goal and related activity

I intend to develop a number of competencies associated with conscientiousness- mainly organisation, but also self-discipline. I will do this by setting myself S.M.A.R.T goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound). The development of these competencies will help me to achieve my long-term career goal.

3. Interpersonal

Interpersonal effectiveness is defined as “the ability to manage conflict, to build and manage high-performance teams, to conduct efficient meetings, to coach and counsel employees, to provide negative feedback in constructive ways, to influence others’ opinions, and to motivate and energize employees” (Whetten & Cameron 2011, p.130).

3.1 Self-perception Inventory

“A team is not a bunch of people with job titles, but a congregation of individuals, each of whom has a role which is understood by other members. Members of a team seek out certain roles and they perform most effectively in the ones that are most natural to them” (Belbin, 1981).

The Self-perception Inventory (SPI) was created to give individuals a “simple means of assessing their best team roles” (Belbin, 1981). It is difficult to work effectively with people without some reasonable expectations of how they are going to perform. Based on the results of the questionnaire, the SPI makes each individual aware of their preferred role when working in teams. This then allows them to focus on their strengths and improve on their weakness.

During his research, Meredith found that each of the behaviours were essential in getting the team successfully from start to finish. The key was balance. For example, Meredith Belbin found that a team with no Plants struggled to come up with the initial spark of an idea with which to push forward. However, once too many Plants were in the team, bad ideas concealed good ones and non-starters were given too much airtime. Similarly, with no Shaper, the team ambled along without drive and direction, missing deadlines. With too many Shapers, in-fighting began and morale was lowered.

A Summary of my SPI results is in Appendix 3. Results of the SPI indicate that my two preferred team roles are Shaper and Company Worker. A shaper can be defined as someone who has a drive and readiness for challenge, can strive under pressure and is seen as a leadership figure; however, they can be prone to provocation and can be seen as rude and impatient (Belbin, 1981). A Company Worker is someone who is hard working, self-disciplined, organized and practical, but be seen as inflexible and unresponsive (Belbin 1981). I believe that these results are an accurate reflection of my personality, and are consistent both with my experiences within BSB124 as well as within the workplace. I will need to focus on my weaknesses, as addressed through the SPI, should I wish to be successful in both university and future career development. As with my intrapersonal learning goals, I will use S.M.A.R.T goals to address the weaknesses above.

My results from Belbin’s inventory, combined with my personality profile, and work experience suggests that, in groups I am likely to engage in a confrontational conflict resolution style. Research indicates that Asian cultures tend to prefer non-confrontational conflict styles, and as a result tend to react defensively when confronted in conflict situations (Rahim & Blum; Ting-Toomey et al., 1991). As I hope to work in a large, international organisation in the future and it is likely I will be dealing with individuals from Asian cultures, I therefore need to adjust my conflict style accordingly. Thus, again using the SMART goals specified in section 2.2, I envisage that a more agreeable, empathetic nature will help me engage in more appropriate conflict resolution styles when necessary.

3.2 SPARK analysis

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