Job performance and personality

Topic(s): personality

Topic: Personality
Publication: Personnel Psychology (1991)
Article: The big five personality dimensions and job performance: A meta-analysis
Authors: Murray R. Barrick & Michael K. Mount
Reviewed By: Scott Charles Sitrin

PR_035-_SI_-_28_06_12-066Personality and job performance are related, according to a study performed by Murray Barrick of Texas A & M University and Michael K. Mount of the University of Iowa. Those who are conscientious – which refers to, among other things, being punctual, orderly, detail oriented, and organized – performed their job better. This finding is particularly strong because, in terms of methodology, it was found through a process known as a meta-analysis in which the results of many studies – 117 in the case of this investigation that yielded a sample size of nearly 24,000 – are combined.

In an attempt to explain what a meta-analysis is through the use of an analogy, imagine that you’re trying to decide if you should see Breaking Dawn, the last movie in the Twilight series. If you just ask one friend, he could steer your wrong, but if you ask 10 friends, you should be able to average out their opinions to get a better sense of the quality of the movie. The latter option is akin to a meta-analysis, and through this procedure, the authors found that conscientiousness predicted performance ratings, levels of productivity, training proficiency, salary level, tenure, and turnover. The subjects in these studies were professionals (e.g., engineers, doctors), police, managers, salespeople, and skilled workers (e.g., flight attendants, medical assistants).

Barrick, M. R. & Mount, M. K. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job
performance: A meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44(1), 1-26.

human resource management, organizational industrial psychology, organizational management




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