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Personality Traits and Workplace Performance

Discuss about the Organization Behavior for Human Resource Manager.

The study of human behavior during recruitment process is vital in determining where best to place the individual to perform best. The behavior of an individual indicates to the Human Resource Manager (HRM) if the particular employee can perform well. It is important for the HRM to be on the lookout for such talented individuals during recruitment, selection, and placement (Abraham et al., 2015, p. 336). The organization has different factors that tend to influence the way an employee’s behavior such as the organization culture and the motivation given to the employee inside the workplace. Often the HRM will try to find the right incentive for a given attitude and behavior to help bring out the best out of employees. Some personality traits show that an individual will perform better than all other candidates when given a particular position. Though this is just a prediction by the HRM, the employee may live up to expectations or perform dismally in the given position. The purpose of this essay is to determine and discuss how different individual attributes have a direct impact in the workplace. The essay goes further to look at how Herzberg’s and expectancy theories of motivation can help understand a person’s behavior.

Conscientiousness relates to how a person behaves around others and how careful a person is with people and the assigned tasks. Conscientious people have high levels of self-discipline and can thus make better employees and perform well. The emotional stability of a person is very crucial as many interviews and recruitment processes test this trait on interviewees. Emotionally stable individuals will cope very well with any work situation, and they do not bring personal problems and let it affect their performance. Emotionally stable persons tend to high-performing employees who are better decision makers. Extraversion is another personality trait that clearly shows that a person can be a productive employee. Extraversion makes a person to interact well with clients. Such a person, has developed good interpersonal and communication skills that help them to convince the customers into a deal. Extraversion correlates positively with performance. Agreeableness positively influences high job productivity. Agreeableness indicates that a person can relate to people better thus has a high chance of being very productive. This trait though is limited to people in higher managerial positions who have to enforce some rules and regulations in the firm.

The Cognitive Resource Theory

 Fred E. Fiedler and Joe Garcia in 1987 developed the theory. The theory was formulated from the Contingency model of 1967. The theory is based on the need for intelligence in leadership. How can organizations detect the level of intelligence they need for certain positions in a candidate during recruitment? This question is crucial for HRM when they are trying to fill a management position. For managers, it is critical to be intelligent and adapt to any given situation for productivity. Intelligence is paramount in leadership. To formulate better decisions and set strategic goals and objectives, a leader has to be intelligent enough. Fiedler views stress as the biggest impediment to a leader’s success in the organization. A human resource manager should identify intelligent and talented individuals to be placed in the managerial vacancies. Fiedler also states that a leader has to develop a good rapport with the staff. Good relations are a sign that a given employee will perform best when placed in certain positions and given the right motivation (Zhou, 2015, p. 723).

The theory argues that various factors influence the rationality in decision making such as stress. The theory views stress as the main impediment to a leader’s success in the workplace. To further expound on the theory more, Fiedler says that the more cognitively acute an experienced staff is on leadership issues, the more the employee can deal with the impacts of stress in the workplace. To overcome the effect of stress, the leader has to employ command given that only experience can make a good leader flourish even under high-stress levels. The theory views that candidates who are orderly during stressful interviews are likely to make better leaders and managers in the organization. It is crucial for productivity for the organization to employ talented individuals who when they combine work effort, organizational support and their individual attributes there is high job performance.

Though there is no universally accepted way of measuring intelligence, the theory insists that intelligence is the main ingredient that well-performing employees have. This theory is particularly useful for placement of employees in higher positions in the organizations. The main issue that limits the high productivity of leaders is stress. When an organization recruits, selects and places an intelligent individual in a given position that suits his or her ability the person is likely to succeed. Intelligent individuals develop the right attributes needed by the job. These people are Conscientious, emotionally stable, extraversion and agreeable. These personal attributes when combined help the leader be a better decision maker. Human resource managers need to test for intelligence during recruitment, selection, and placement to identify the talented and most intelligent employee to join the organization (Baležentis, Baležentis and Brauers, 2012, p. 7966). The Cognitive resource theory is important in the placement of employees especially in managerial positions by testing for intelligence in addition to the ability to manage stress plus assessing critical leadership qualities.

The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT)

 The SCCT theory, developed in 1994, aims at explaining three interrelated factors of career development (Ali and Menke, 2014, p. 175). The theory investigates how a person develops academic and career interests, makes educational and career choices in addition to ways of obtaining academic as well as career success. The theory incorporates various concepts from previous career theories. The theory uses factors such as interests, abilities environmental factors, values, norms amongst much more. The theory has a linked variables such as self-efficacy, beliefs, goals and outcome expectations make the foundation for SCCT. The theory impacts the recruitment, selection and placement process in organizations. The theory applies personal beliefs to find suitable employees and professionals. In using the theory, the human resource managers have to be very attentive to capture the beliefs of particular candidates and determine whether the candidates are transparent.

Self-efficacy refers to a person’s faith regarding their capabilities to perform various tasks. Self- efficacy beliefs differ from both global confidence and self-esteem. The self-efficacy beliefs can change swiftly and are tied to certain activity domains. It is worthy to note that an individual might feel extremely confident in their abilities to accomplish a given task successfully while feeling less confident and enthusiastic about their abilities to be highly productive in certain fields. For example, a scientist is confident when dealing with scientific phenomena but is less confident when placed in social or enterprising line. Self-efficacy beliefs emanate from the following primary sources namely; physiological and emotional states, social persuasion, performance accomplishments and common experiences (Duffy et al., 2014, p. 466). All these factors help shape the belief of a person and determine if the individual will be successful in a given position and not miss.

Personal accomplishments which include the successes and failures related to specific tasks offer certain source efficacy information. Different factors interact to form a person’s self-efficacy. The reinforcing information and messages, nature of social models and the different forms of physiological states a person experience ultimately affect the person’s self-efficacy regarding different performances. A potential employee who has strong beliefs about his or her performance in a given position most likely can make a good employee. When a person has developed strong beliefs regarding a particular a given task, the person is rejuvenated and motivated to succeed. The SCCT also includes the belief regarding outcome expectations. A candidate’s effort and persistence in an engagement and the ultimate success of the activity are influenced by self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations. The theory also includes personal goals and their effect on the productivity of an employee (Michael, Hays and Runyan, 2015, p. 310). An employee whose personal goals are aligned with the goals of the organization will certainly make a productive employee. Self-efficacy mixed with personal goals in addition to individual attributes, motivation, and organizational support will improve job performance.

The theory is used to determine individual performances. The theory is mostly used by the human resource departments when determining individual performances who become candidates for management positions. The Cognitive placement theory is useful when an organization needs to promote an individual or when hiring new employees (Cook and Artino, 2016, p. 1000). The employees have to be given a test and assigned to different weights to determine their suitability for the particular position they are being interviewed for. The theory is good as it can minimize biasedness and let the best employee from the bunch to be ranked in the top and land the job. The cognitive placement methodology is popularly used in determining individual performance. The study provides critical information that is necessary for the human resource managers make wise decisions on behalf of the company. The human resource manager has to determine who the best employee among a group of candidates is and if he or she is suitable for that position. Candidates who perform well individually will certainly make a productive employee when given the opportunity. The theory is useful in making decisions regarding managerial or leadership positions in the organization. A good and effective manager or leader has to be a high performer thus the need to pass the performance appraisal test.

The method of cognitive placement is useful in determining the performance groups among potential employees during recruitment, selection and placement procedure. The cognitive placement line in performance appraisal will create two groups of top performers and bad performers. The top performers are seen as talent managers, and they are the ones likely to take up management positions in the company. The human resource managers assign the performance grades to the employees or candidates into one group. The grades vary from zero to a hundred with the top individual performance ranging from grade 90 to grade 100 while poor performance is assigned the lowest grade of 10. For recruitment and placement purposes, the human resource manager will only be interested with the top individual performer. The candidate is the most suitable to fill the vacant position. The candidate who scores high grades has the required individual attributes that are necessary for high productivity. The top individual performers are regarded as talent managers and thus will help the organization to achieve its set objectives. When a high performing individual is well motivated and has the full support of the organization, he or she will perform well. If the individual is a manger the staff in his department will also perform well due to his abilities and influence.

The two-factor theory or the dual-factor theory as commonly known, is based on the assumption that the workplace harbors factors that cause dissatisfaction or job satisfaction (Evans and Olumide, 2010, p. 73). Frederick Herzberg believed that the satisfaction and the dissatisfaction of jobs are not dependent on one another. Herzberg states that employees are not contented with satisfying the lower ends or aspects of a job. An employee will always want more in the workplace. The presence of a given position characteristic may act as a motivator towards job satisfaction while in another work set up the presence of that factor may lead to job dissatisfaction. For managers to improve job satisfaction, they must attend equally to both sets of characteristics and create no room for assumption. Herzberg found that job satisfaction is dependent upon achieving certain factors beyond the common job factors such as minimum wage rate. Herzberg then developed criteria to group all the factors that lead to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction into two groups namely Motivators and Hygiene Factors.

The motivators give rise to intrinsic conditions such as recognition and personal growth. The motivators help employees to achieve job satisfaction. The motivators include; challenging work, involvement in the decision-making process, added job responsibilities and recognition for achievements made. On the other hand, the hygiene factors include salary, good pay, and status and job security (Vevoda et al., 2011). The hygiene factors do not lead to job satisfaction and higher motivation to the employee instead they serve as maintenance factors. According to psychologist Herzberg, these hygiene factors are responsible for job dissatisfaction in a workplace. Tony like every other employee is compensated well, but the job lacks motivators. Tony tells Shirley that all aspects of the work are okay but he lacks decision-making powers and the repetitive tasks were now boring to him. Though Tony is not well motivated, he would still come to work and do the little he can since payment is the same eliminating the need for hard work. Shirley needs to revolutionize the job setting to motivate Tony. Shirley needs to initiate job rotation and job specification to kill the boredom in addition to involving Tony in the decision-making process. Shirley should also develop policies to recognize top performers. This will motivate other employees like Tony to work harder and be recognized.

 The expectancy theory was developed in 1964 by Victor Vroom from Yale Management School (Ball et al., 2016, p. 620). The theory focuses on outcomes and not on needs like most motivational theories. The motivation of an employee is an outcome of how hard an employee wants a given reward, expectancy and the belief that the performance will give rise to reward. The theory has three main aspects namely the valence, expectancy, and instrumentality. The valence refers to the reward that makes the employee engage in a given set of activities. Valence is an expected outcome of the activities and not the actual outcome of undertaking the activities. The expectancy is the belief and faith that if the employee exerts greater effort than before, the performance will be better. Many factors influence the expectancy, for example, the technical skills needed for the job and the availability of resources, information, and the support the management is offering the employees. Instrumentality is the belief that high performance will result in better outcomes. When an employee engages in an activity they expect that there will be something in return though they have a guess of what it may be, they are not sure of the reward.

The relationship between effort and performance revolves around the staff’s recognition chnces. The relationship between performance and reward aims at talking about the extent to which getting a good performance evaluation will lead to firm’s goals. Rewards and personal goals relationship focuses on the value of the reward. The theory believes that an employee can decide to perform well or not. The staff’s motivational level is influenced by expectancy, instrumentality, and valence. For Tony, there is no recognition in the workplace, the tasks are repetitive thus boring, and he had no control of the job due to the close supervision i.e. no job autonomy. In using the expectancy theory, the best way to motivate Tony is by setting personal targets and achievements. Tony needs to be given job autonomy to work hard and reach the set targets. When the objectives are met, it is up to the management of the organization to recognize such good performances and offer incentives in return. The best way to motivate Tony is by relating rewards directly to performance.


Different organizations motivate their employees differently. To properly motivate employees such as Tony, the organization needs to understand what aspects of the job are lagging behind (Yun et al., 2014, p. 735). Personality traits play a bigger role in recruitment, selection, and placement. A good candidate should have the right personality that suits the particular position. For organizations to succeed, they have to motivate the employees. 


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