A central element of organisational behaviour is rooted in employee management and employee personality. Employee management involves the balancing of numerous differentiating personal characteristics which make them unique. Understanding these variances in individual traits and personality is vital to effective employee motivation and performance. Various assessment tools and theories-based on human nature provide perspectives in understanding individual performance in the workplace.
The focus of this analysis is to critically evaluate the fundamentals of organisational behaviour by reference to an authoritative source on the subject. It is submitted at the outset that central to organisational behaviour is employee management, which in turn is impacted by employee personality and perception. As such, this paper shall undertake a contextual approach in critically evaluating the relationship between personality traits and employee performance and further consider how employee performance and motivation is clearly interrelated to an individual’s personality profile.
Moreover, the interrelationship between employee performance, personality traits and professional careers is further intertwined with various organisation behavioural theory models, which will be considered contextually. In order to support points made in this discussion, I shall be utilising McShane & Von Glinow’s “Organisational behaviour: emerging realities for the workplace revolution” (2005). McShane & Von Glinow’s research into organisational behaviour focuses on the notion of the human, individual personality as a key factor in employee performance, which in turn is viewed as an essential element of organisational success.
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Any references to other sources shall be as referred to expressly by McShane & Von Glinow. 2. Relationship between employee personality and performance. The overriding focus of McShane & Von Glinow’s “Organisational behaviour” is the relationship between employee personality and employee performance. Firstly, they make reference to Richard Karash’s theory of the “learning organisation”. The learning organisation is an evolving notion which has become increasingly incorporated into the modern company and multinational philosophy.
McShane & Von Glinow expressly refer to Richard Karash’s proposition of the ideology underlying the learning organisation: “A learning organisation is one which people at all levels, individuals and collectively are continually increasing their capacity to produce results they really care about” (Karash, R. 1995). The ideological underlying principle behind the learning organisation is that it produces a flexible workforce with a shared vision, which in turn ensures internal stability within an organisation.
McShane & Von Glinow further refer to Mike Wills’ definition of the learning organisation as a “group of people who work together” (Wills, M. 1998). Wills further defines it as a “company, corporation, firm, enterprise or institution, or part thereof, whether incorporated or not, public or private, that has its own functions and administration. For organisations with more than one operating unit, a single operating unity may be defined as an organisation” (Wills, 1998).
McShane & Von Glinow further refer to the fact that the concept traces its origins to the early writings on management trends in the 1930s and Schumpeter’s creative destruction theory. This was further developed by neo-human writers such as Chris Argyris with his proposition of the “double-loop learning”, which reacted to the studies of corporate excellence undertaken by Peters and Waterman, identifying organisational behavioural trends (Argyris, C 1999).
Within the contemporary business framework, personnel management theory highlights the importance of efficient employee relations and collective employee morale in achieving specific goals (McShane & Von Glinow). As such, they refer to Pedler’s argument that the learning organisation theory is central to this (Pedler, M & Aspinwall, K. , 1998).
Moreover, McShane & Von Glinow’s argument regarding the importance of the relationship between employee personality and employee performance expressly refers to Garvin’s assertion that organisational learning involves three stages. Firstly is the notion of “cognition”, which is the learning of new concepts, development of skills, which relates to employee performance (Garvin, D. 2000). This is further demonstrated in Figure 1 below, which illustrates Garvin’s model of the learning organisation, referred to by McShane & Von Glinow:
With regard to the skills stage of Garvin’s learning organisation model, McShane & Von Glinow posit that it is imperative for individuals at all levels within the organisation’s hierarchy to have problem solving capabilities, thereby highlighting the interdependency of employee performance on optimum organisational performance (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005). McShane & Von Glinow further refer to Pedler’s argument that an individual must firstly improve self development, which can then be distinguished between actual and desired situations in problem solving scenarios in support of this proposition (Pedler, M.
, & Aspinwall, K. , 1998). As part of the learning organisation, team co-ordination is vital and careful consideration must be given to the selection of team members. As such McShane & Von Glinow submits that commitment to success, complementary personalities, skills and necessary talents are vital to accomplish organisational goals. As such, the effective co-ordination between employee personality and performance is vital to optimum team performance (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005).
Additionally motivation and commitment are essential characteristics that team members must portray in order for the team to achieve its goals and McShane & Von Glinow expressly refer to Tompkins’ postulation that “there is no such thing as a part-time team player. Team players are committed to the team and dedicated to mutual success and co-operation” (Tompkins, 2002). Another common factor in effective employee performance within the teamwork model is the recruitment of individuals with similar behaviours and abilities, which highlights the importance of individual behavioural traits in workplace performance.
Indeed, Hill and Ingala assert: “today’s tight job market, the right fit is a critical success factor for any position in the team” (2001, p. 38). The importance of employee personality in performance is further evidenced by the different requirements of a particular job role. As such, McShane & Von Glinow refer to Tompkins’ theory that case files are important in reviewing histories and individual profiles (2002). For example, some jobs require analytical skills and it has been argued that extroverted personality types are perfect for jobs requiring travelling.
However, this needs to be confined within specified goals to ensure optimum efficiency. As such, McShane & Von Glinow refer to the fact that the Myer-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is often utilised to determine the best personality for the right job and highlights that what motivates an individual directly links to the person’s “personality traits”, which then impacts employee performance and long-term career development (McShane & Von Glinow). McShane and Von Glinow further highlight how “personality and values are the most stable characteristics” in individuals and are vital to continued success (2005).
McShane and Von Glinow further argued that employee motivation and persistence determines if the tasks are completed on time. As such, McShane and Von Glinow’s observations highlight the importance of considering employee personality in recruitment and how teams must possess similar personality traits and values in order for them to accomplish the jobs (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005). It is therefore arguable that the personality preference and MBTI assessment model is an important yardstick against which to monitor employee suitability for position. 3. The MBTI Model
The MBTI model further highlights the interrelationship between employee personality and performance and in support of McShane & Von Glinow ‘s observations regarding employee personality traits, they refer to Bringhurst’s comments that the “MBTI is primarily concerned with valuable differences in people that result from where they like to focus their attention, the way they like to take in information, the way they like to decide and the kind of lifestyle they adopt” (Bringhurst, 2001). The MBTI creators developed questions and based on the responses determined the following categories:
1) whether the individuals are extroverted-introverted (E-I), 2) sensing-intuitive (S-N), 3) thinking-feeling (T-F) and 4) judging-perceiving (J-P). The personality indicator provides insight into how individuals may act alone and in a team setting (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005). 3. 1 E vs. I. Within this category, McShane & Von Glinow highlight Bringhust’s observations that an extroverted person will receive energy from others in the workplace, is goal-oriented in problem-solving and comfortable interacting with peers (Bringhurst, 2001). Conversely, the introvert prefers to be alone and often observes (Hermann, 1997).
The dichotomy between the two types highlights different strengths and suitability for different roles within a workplace, further supporting the importance of the relationship between individual behavioural traits and employee performance. 3. 2. The Sensing Individual In contrast, the MBTI model posits that the sensing individual utilises their five senses to absorb information and identify the appropriate details, while intuitive people seek to find explanations, possibilities and relationships linked to the information being received (Bringhurst, 2001).
McShane & Von Glinow highlight the contextual example of the sensing team member in Bringhurst’s case study, which they argue demonstrates the utility of the sensing member as having excellent observation skills during follow-up visits for rehab patients (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005). This further highlights the importance of understanding employee personality vis-a-vis the nature of the exact job position. 3. 3 Ts v F McShane & Von Glinow highlight that the MBTI model is further indicative of the correlation between employee personality and performance both individually and in teamwork scenarios.
They further refer to the earlier work of Carlyn, who argued that “Thinking types rely on logical structures to clarify order into a particular situation: they are skilled at objectively organising material, weighing the facts and impersonally judging whether something is true or false” (Carlyn, 1977, p. 461). Feeling people on the other hand arguably go further and comprehend other individuals’ feelings, formulating their judgments on their personal values (Carlyn, 1977). 3. 4.
The Judging Individual In further developing the argument regarding the importance of individual personality, McShane & Von Glinow refer to Bringhurst’s notion of the “judging individual”, which posits that the judging individual is very “decisive, wants to effect closure sooner rather than later, is impatient to “get on with it” and proceed to the next task” (Bringhurst, 2001). This type of personality in a team setting maintains a focused path continuing towards their goals.
Alternatively, the perceiving type is observed to “prefer to keep their options open, being able to live with a high level of uncertainty in their lives, waiting until the last moment to decide” (Bringhurst, 2001). 4. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Motivation Whilst, the MBTI model is undoubtedly useful in highlighting the direct correlation between employee personality and employee performance, the categorisation is arguably too narrow in covering the wide range of subjective personality traits.
Moreover, the MBTI model focuses on employee traits within a limited framework and ignores the background motivational factors that undoubtedly shape individual behavioural patterns. McShane & Von Glinow refer by comparative analysis to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory explains the understanding of motivation-based on five human needs. This focuses on the concept of the “human” as an integral role in organisational behaviour (McShane & Von Glinow , 2005).
According to Maslow’s hierarchy model, once these needs are satisfied, the particular motivator expires and the individual then progresses to the next level (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005). Maslow further categorised these needs in the following levels: physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualisation needs. The physiological level is argued to be the lowest need level, servicing the innate need for survival.
The safety level completes a person’s needs to be free of physical and emotional threat and once the physiological and safety needs are met, the individual can then progress to the need associated with social interaction. The esteem needs category is categorised into two parts, internal and external. The internal esteem needs are those related to self-esteem such as self-respect and achievement and the external esteem needs are social status and recognition (McShane & Von Glinow, 2005).
The highest level in the needs hierarchy pyramid is self-actualisation and McShane & Von Glinow refer to Halepota’s comments that “a person who has had all of his or her lower level needs fulfilled, and is looking to meet higher level needs, may go back to the lowest level needs if there is a sudden reversal in the environment” (2005, p. 15). Moreover, Halepota postulates that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory has significant implications for recruitment and monitoring employee performance.
Haletopa further argues that if a team leader can determine at what level of the needs hierarchy each employee has reached, suitable choices can be made for the individual in terms of long term career development (Halepota, 2005). The above analysis demonstrates the unequivocal importance of the relationship between employee personality and performance. Moreover, the organisational theory of the “learning organisation” further highlights the business growth and innovation is intrinsically co-dependant on effective employee performance.
As such, the MBTI model and Maslow theory are clearly important aids to understanding personality traits when considering recruitment needs and personnel management. However, whilst Maslow’s theory is clearly important in evaluating employee motivation which in turn impacts employee performance, these needs are rooted in presumptions of innate human needs and appear to ignore the individual personality traits that are just as significant in considering employee performance. Conversely, whilst the MBTI model provides helpful categorisation of personality types, its main flaw is the failure to consider motivational factors.
As such, it is submitted that consideration must be given to the interrelationship between the MBTI model and Maslow’s theory in considering the relationship between employee personality and performance, particularly in maintaining optimum personnel management. BIBLIOGRAPHY Argyris, C (1999). On Organisational Learning. Blackwell Publishing, Bringhurst, N. C (2001) How assessing personality type can benefit you and your practice. Journal of Financial Planning, 14(1)104 Carlyn, M. (1977) An assessment of the Myers-Briggs type indicator.
Journal of Personality Assessment, 41(5) 461 Garvin, D. A. (2000) “Learning in Action” Harvard Business Press. Karash, R. (1995) Why a learning organisation? Available at www. richardkarash. com McShane & Von Glinow (2005) Organisational behaviour: emerging realities for the workplace revolution. 3rd Edition. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pedler, M. , & Aspinwall, K. (1998) A concise guide to the Learning Organisation. Lemos & Crane Tompkins, J. A. (2002) Successful organisations recognise the need for continuous improvement. Plant Engineering, 56(9) 28
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