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The big 5 personality traits Essay

Introduction:
1. The aim of this study was to examine the relationship between the ‘Big Five’ personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness) and career success (Seibert & Kraimer,2001). A questionnaire was sent by post to 2781 graduates of business and engineering. 496 alumni took part in the survey (318 males and 178 females).

The conclusions were that agreeableness is not well related to career success; there is no relationship between the other four factors and career success. High people orientated jobs showed a poor relationship between agreeableness and salary. Low people orientated jobs shows no relationship between agreeableness and salary. METHOD:

2. Career success can be defined as the positive psychological and work related outcomes as a final result of work completed by each individual. Construct definition is the overall basic idea which is being examined; career success. Operational definition describes what the variables are and how each is measured. The variables are extrinsic and intrinsic career success. Greenhaus et al. measured intrinsic career success with a five-item career satisfaction scale. Each participant was asked to show their levels of satisfaction with their careers, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

Two self-reports were used to measure extrinsic career success. Each participant was asked to show the number of promotions they had gotten throughout their career. They also had to show their annual salary level. Altogether the variables included log salary, promotions, career satisfaction, work experience, MBA degree, metropolitan area, number of employees, gender and occupation type. (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001)

RESULTS:
3. Central Tendency-The way in which quantitative data clusters around a midpoint. Dispersion- How far your scores are from your measure of central tendency. Mean is a measure of central tendency Standard Deviation(S.D) is a measure of dispersion. Sex: a categorical form of data (male/female). This is badly represented as the standard deviation is above the mean (if S.D is higher than the mean, a minus is applicable). For gender you can’t measure central tendency but you can measure dispersion. Personally, I think that gender doesn’t belong in the table.

Promotions: Are badly represented as the S.D is very high. I think that using the mode instead of S.D would resolve this issue. Career satisfaction: is represented good. Both the mean and S.D appear to work well. Career satisfaction was measured using Greenhaus et el.(1990) scale of career satisfaction. I don’t think any changes need to be made. Agreeableness: is represented good. However I think the definition for agreeableness leaves a lot to be desired for. In saying that, both the mean and the S.D appear to work well. My suggestion would be to leave it but maybe reconsider the definition. (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001)

DISCUSSION:
4. (A)In my opinion, I don’t agree with the definition of agreeableness in this context. ’Agreeableness is ones interpersonal orientation, ranging from soft-hearted, good-natured, trusting and gullible at one extreme to cynical, rude, suspicious, and manipulative at the other’ I don’t agree with this as only alumni from business and engineering were surveyed.

Other people orientated jobs such as teachers, nurses etc. were not included. Therefore it cannot be generalised. In my opinion, I think that people high on agreeableness (in this case) have lower extrinsic career success. Whereas they may be happy in their jobs they may not get promotions.

(B)Yes, I do think that agreeableness causes lower salaries for individuals working in high people orientated jobs. People who are more agreeable are more likely to fill out surveys. They are more likely to do more work for less money; therefore promotions would not come into account as employers may take advantage of these workers. (C)The sample attrition is the dropout rate which occurred.

The surveys were mailed to 2781 homes of business and engineer graduates. Each individual had graduated 3-39 years prior to the survey.773 were returned (28% response rate). 668 had fully completed the survey. Out of that 668, 49 were unemployed, 33 worked part time and 96 were self-employed. The final number of participants was 496.

If the sample attrition was included this could have influenced the data as the sample size would be larger and more random. Self-employed people may have different levels of personality traits, e.g. higher extraversion as they have leadership skills. Unemployed people may be high in agreeableness as they may lack confidence. I think that would have a great effect on the overall data. (D)Two variables could be combined within one individual e.g. agreeableness and extraversion. The individual may not get a promotion due to the level of agreeableness they obtain; however with the high levels of assertiveness and sociability in an extraversion they could also get promoted.

Other variables included: log salary, promotions, career satisfaction, work experience, MBA degree, metropolitan area, number of employees, gender, occupational type and the big five personality traits. By only surveying business and engineer graduates it made the study easier for themselves as there are less levels in these jobs than in other occupations such nurses or doctors. The Big 5 personality traits definitions:

Neuroticism: indicates adjustment versus emotional stability. Individuals who score high on neuroticism are characterized by high levels of anxiety, hostility, depression, and self-consciousness. Extraversion: High levels of extraversion indicate sociability, warmth, assertiveness, and activity, whereas individuals low on extraversion may be described as reserved, sober, aloof, task-oriented, and introverted. Openness: is defined in terms of curiosity and the tendency for seeking and appreciating new experiences and novel ideas.

Individuals who score low on openness are characterized as conventional, unartistic, and narrow in interests. Agreeableness: Agreeableness is one’s interpersonal orientation, ranging from soft-hearted, good-natured, trusting, and gullible at one extreme to cynical, rude, suspicious, and manipulative at the other. Conscientiousness: indicates the individual’s degree of organization, persistence, and motivation in goal-directed behaviour. Achievement-orientation and dependability or conformity have been found to be primary facets of conscientiousness (Seibert & Kraimer,2001)

High people orientated occupation is where the individual is a sociable, people person, with good interpersonal skills. People with a high people orientated occupation must be able to do the following: speak, persuade, serve, supervise, instruct, mentor and negotiate with others.

Some jobs include sales, division managers, executive managers and human resource managers, where interaction with other people is frequent. Low people orientated occupations include the opposite of high people orientated occupations. People with low people orientated jobs would work as a financial or market analyst, a MIS specialist, or an IT department where little involvement with people occurs. (Seibert & Kraimer, 2001)

CONCLUSION:
5. I think that there is enough evidence to support that the big 5 personality traits are related to career success. The results were as follows: The full set of personality variables was not related significantly to promotions but extraversion was correlated significantly with promotions. Intrinsic and extrinsic outcomes have been considered as related but to distinct aspects of career success.

Extrinsic career success was associated with extraversion and, with less consistency, openness to experience and agreeableness. Individuals who were higher on extraversion received greater salaries and more promotions than did those lower on extraversion. Individuals who were less open to experience and less agreeable received greater salaries compared to their more open or agreeable peers. Intrinsic career success was associated with extraversion, neuroticism, and agreeableness.

Individuals who were more extroverted, less neurotic or less agreeable experienced higher levels of career satisfaction than their less extroverted, more neurotic, or more agreeable peers. Moderated regression analysis involving extraversion and agreeableness was unable to find any major effects against intrinsic career success, suggesting that these effects are consistent across occupations requiring different levels of interpersonal interaction.

Extraversion was related most consistently to career success, exhibiting positive relationships with salary, promotions, and career satisfaction. Extraversion plays in managerial advancement of persons in people-oriented and non-people oriented occupations. Negative relationship of neuroticism to career satisfaction implies that individuals high on neuroticism evaluate their careers more negatively.

Negative relationship of agreeableness with extrinsic career success was provided. Although agreeableness was not related to promotions, it was related negatively to salary for individuals in people-oriented occupations. Agreeableness appears to be a liability in jobs that require more people skills, and perhaps more “political” skills. Agreeableness also was related negatively to career satisfaction. There was no support for the hypotheses that neuroticism and conscientiousness are related to the two measures of extrinsic career success, salary, and promotions.

Findings suggested that individuals who were more open received lower salaries. Since these results were not hypothesized, confirmation of these relationships in future research is required. The results of the control variables examined in this study generally are consistent with previous career research. Strengths: The results found were accurate.

The results found were similar to previous studies.
They were able to prove some of their hypostasis.
Gives opportunities for future research.
Weaknesses: Fault with gender and promotions: mean and standard deviation. I personally don’t agree with some of the definitions.
Only business and engineering graduates were surveyed.
The sample was small.
Self-report, people may not be 100% honest.
Most alumni were from Caucasian background.
(Seibert & Kraimer, 2001)

BIBLOGRAPHY
Scott E. Seibert and Maria L. Kraimer
Department of Management & Labour Relations, Cleveland State University.


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