Individual Differences in the Workplace

  1. How would you describe the personalities of these two coworkers?

Person A

One of the subjects of discussion is a former coworker, Matthew. He was emotionally unstable and would experienced negative emotions, such as anger and anxiety often. He had very low tolerance to stress as well as any aversive stimuli. He also had a tendency of interpreting normal situations as hostile and he would perceive minor challenges as impossible. His negative emotional responses would persist for an abnormally long period, which meant that he was regularly in a bad mood. According to Eysenck’s personality theory, individuals who have neuroticism personality tend to be sensitive and vulnerable to stress (Eysenck, 1967).It is therefore safe to conclude that Mathew had a high level of neuroticism.

Person B

The other person we are going to focus on is Darren, a former coworker. Darren demonstrated a high level of self-discipline and always strived to deliver beyond expectations. He was organized, always planned ahead, and constantly felt that he had everything in control. Darren never exhibited spontaneous behavior. According to Eysenck’s personality theory, individuals who have consciousness personality tend to be organized and demonstrate high level of self-discipline (Eysenck, 1967). It is therefore safe to conclude that Mathew had a high level of consciousness.

  1. How would you describe their workplace attitudes including job satisfaction and organizational commitment?

Mathew who had high levels of neuroticism had a very pessimistic attitude toward work and he believed that work impeded the growth of his personal relationships. He was also anxious, which affected his performance especially when faced with challenging situations. His emotional problems affected his ability to make clear judgments, make effective decisions, and cope with stress. Mathew was easily frustrated, which affected his moral, as well as commitment to his work and to the organization.

Darren on the other hand had a very positive attitude towards his job and his responsibilities. Unlike Mathew, when faced with a challenge, he saw it as an opportunity to learn and to do better in his job. This attitude coupled with his self disciplined and organized nature made him exceptionally good at his job, which motivated him even further. However, his lack of flexibility was a challenge whenever he was required to make instant decisions and take immediate action. This was countered by his objective to perform excellently in his job. Darren was self motivated, and committed to his job and the organization

  1. Do you think their personality traits impacted their workplace attitudes, or where other factors such as the work environment, job characteristics, etc. have a greater impact on their attitudes?

When an individual is said to have a given personality trait, it means that he/she reacts consistently to given situations with limited variations. For example Neuroticism tends to be associated with a number of negative effects, including being tense as well as nervousness, both in and out of work place settings. Consciousness on the other hand is associated with positive effects, which include self-discipline and orderliness. Although individuals who portray these traits might not display those effects all the time, they are bound to display them most of the time.

Different traits and different combinations of traits result in very different attitudes and behaviors. This is to mean that personality trait can dictate how an individual’s job performance regardless of the position. Nevertheless, the nature of the job as well as job setting affects how individuals with different personality traits perform in a given position. A good example would be, a person with high neuroticism can perform exceptionally well in a position that does not involve dealing with stressful situations on regular basis such as a in a cleaning job or an accounting position. However, the same person would have difficulties being a customer service attendant or a police officer.

Generally speaking, job performance is influenced by a number of factors including personality traits, work environment, and job characteristics among others. Nevertheless, personality trait has the strongest impact in an employee’s attitude towards the job. Both Mathew and Darren held similar positions, and were working in the same organization, under similar working conditions. In spite of this, the two employees are however seen to have very different attitudes towards their jobs. These differences in workplace attitudes can only be explained by their differences in personality traits.

It is thus safe to conclude that personality traits have a very great impact on individual’s workplace attitude, over work environment and job characteristics.

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