Organisational Behaviour

Personality – Meaning And Theories Of Personality

Meaning of Personality –  In the organisational behaviour human behaviour is primarily the focus of study and personality happens to be an important aspect of human behaviour. It is, therefore, important for the managers to study personality so that they are able to control the behaviour of their subordinates.

Personality combines both the psychological and physical aspects with the help of which one comes to have a special adjustment with the circumstances. It is only on the basis of his personality that a person appears to be different from the other members of the group. Personality does not mean some particular quality of a person. On the contrary, it’s a combination of all the psychological and physical traits.

It is, therefore a fact that personality of an individual is referred to as a whole just as a house gets a complete shape when all the bricks are joined with the help of cement. So is the case with personality which is a combination of all the traits of an individual.

Theories of Personality

1Psycho-Analytical Theory
2Neo-Freudian Theory
3Trait Theory
4Type Theory
5Social Learning Theory
6Need Theory
7Self Concept Theory

Psycho-Analytical Theory

This theory of personality was propounded by Sigmund Freud. In order to establish his theory, Freud divided the mind of a human being into three parts, i.e., conscious, pre-conscious and unconscious. Apart from this he brought out the fact that the following three factors play an important role for the formation of personality.

(1) Id: ld represents the unconscious mind of a human being. Its chief characteristic is that it wants immediate satisfaction of the desires in the unconscious mind of a person. It is a sort of mental agency which happens to be present in a human being right from his birth. According to Freud it happens to be a store house of innumerable remnants of the memory of various ancestors. It does not bother about the consequences of its actions. That is perhaps the reason that the moment some tension is built-up his/her ID makes efforts to get rid of it. In order to get rid of tension Id makes use of one of the following two methods

  • primary process
  • reflex process

(2) Ego: At the time of birth an infant has only Id in its mind. As it comes in contact with the outward environment, its Id starts getting affected. Consequently, another part of human mind develops which is called Ego.

(3) Super Ego: Super Ego is a step ahead of Ego. Under Id nobody plays attention to reality which ego is based on the principle of reailty and under super ego morality gets attached with reailty.

Neo-Freudian Theory

Sigmund Freud developed psycho-analytical theory of personality. Some of his contemporary theorists, too, helped in advancing the thoughts of Freud. The prominent scholars included the names like Sullivan, Erikson and Horney. The ideas advanced by all these three thinkers regarding personality came to be called Neo-Freudian concept.

Sullivan laid a specific stress on the social and cultural aspects. He believed that an individual remains in perpetual contact with the social and cultural factors right since his childhood. These factors produce some kind of action and reaction. This ultimately leads to the formation of personality of an individual. It goes a long way in determining individual behaviour. It can, therefore, be said that personality is finally shaped and moulded by interpersonal behaviour.

Erikson feels that an ideal personality can be developed by making adjustment with the changing social background.

Horney feels that concern for future happens to be a decidedly important factor in the formation of personality.

Trait Theory

It has generally been observed that different people behave differently. This is because of the traits present in them which, too, happen to be different. The variety of traits is primarily responsible for giving people their separate identity. Modern psychologists feel that these traits perform the job of forming personality. It should, however, be kept in mind that these traits include only those specialities which reflect themselves in different situations in their actual context. So far as the personality related traits are concerned the following two theories are important. Read whole concept of Trait Theory Of Personality.

(1) Allport Trait Theory:

Allport propounded this theory. He has taken the traits of personality as its base. According to this theory, the traits of people have been divided in the following two parts.

(i) Common Traits: Common traits mean those traits which are commonly found in all the people of the same category. Therefore, on their basis the different people can be compared with each other. Dominance is a good example of common traits.  It can be said that the dominance of one person is more than the others.

(ii) Personal Disposition: Personal disposition means those traits which are limited to a person of a particular group or category. It obviously means that they are not found in all the people. That is the reason that there can be no comparison among different people on the basis of these traits. A comparative study of an individual can be made from different angles on the basis of personal disposition. If we say that Mr. Ankit is more active and less inactive, then it would be an example of personal disposition. Allport in his personal trait theory has laid more stress on personal disposition than common traits. He has pointed out that personal dispositions are as large as 18,000 in number. Personal dispositions can be divided into the following three parts:

  • Cardinal Disposition: This is an individual trait which cannot be kept hidden. This trait is not present in all the people, but those who possess it, it becomes a base for their being widely discussed. The unshakeable faith of Mahatma Gandhi in the principle of non-violence is an example of this very trait.It was because of this that he came to possess a world-wide recognition.
  • Central Disposition: These traits are almost found in all the people. They are nearly 5 to 10 in number, e.g., sociability, depression, self-confidence, etc.
  • Secondary Disposition: These traits are those traits which are less important and less consistent, e.g., hairstyle, eating habit, dress, etc. These are the traits which do not help in understanding personality.

(2) Catell’s Trait Theory:

After Allport’s trait theory of personality, Catell’s contribution is equally important. Catell took up the process of discovering those traits which go to influence personality He took up 4500 trait out of a total of 18,000 which were pointed out by Allport. Later on this figure fell to 200 and finally it was reduced to 35. Catell has divided the traits of personality in the following two parts:

  • (i) Surface Traits: Surface traits refer to those traits which can be easily observed in the day to day behaviour of an individual. They are more clear and there cannot be any difference of opinion about them. They are, for example, integrity, cheerfulness, altruism, etc.
  • (ii) Source Iraits: Accoraing to Catell, source traits play an important part in the formation of personality. Their number happens to be less than the surface traits. Unlike the surface traits, these traits do not get reflected in the day to day behaviour of a person. According to Catell, there are 23 source traits which are found in the normal individuals, while there are 12 source traits which are present only in abnormal people. Source traits are also of two types, i.e., Environmental Mold Traits and Constitutional Traits. The environmental mold traits are mostly affected by the environmental factors while constitutional traits are influenced by the heredity.

Type Theory

This is the oldest theory. According to this theory, individuals can be placed in different categories on the basis of their special traits. All the people belonging to a particular category have similar traits. It means that all have a similar personality. Therefore, it can be said that there can be various types of personality.

For example, being introvert is a personality. People belonging to such a category possess similar traits. They include some common traits like disinterestedness in social work, hesitancy, avoiding meeting people and speaking very little, etc. Type Theory Of Personality have been presented by Sheldon and Karljung. They are the following;

(1) Sheldon’s Personality Theory

In the year 1940, Sheldon presented his Personality Type Theory on the basis of physical formation. He studied 4,000 students in order to determine the type of personality based on the basis of physical formation. He divided personality into the following three parts:

  • Endomorph: In this category of personality, the people are short statured and fat. Their body is of round shape. According to Sheldon, these people are jovial, social, enjoy taking rest and show great interest in eatables. These people are popular with others.
  • Mesomorph: People belonging to this type of personality, are attractively built. Their main traits happen to be assertion and aggressiveness. These people enjoy giving commands to others.
  • Ectomorph: People belonging to this type of personality are lean and thin and have a good height. Physically they are not fully developed. These people like loneliness and do not want to meet people freely. They are shy by nature and they suffer from some problems with their sleep.

(2) Karljung’s Personality Theory

(i) Extrovert: These people have the following traits:

  1. Interest in social activities.
  2. Like meeting people.
  3. Be always happy or cheerful.
  4. They are of optimistic nature.
  5. They believe in realism.
  6. They are useful for society.
  7. They are interested in eating and drinking.

(ii) Introvert: These people possess the traits which happen to be opposite of the traits of people who are extrovert. Their chief traits are the following:

  1. Not interested in social activities
  2. Like living alone.
  3. Be always uneasy.
  4. Conservative by nature.
  5. They are self-centered.
  6. They do not like consulting other people.
  7. Ungenial behaviour.

Social Learning Theory

This theory is the outcome of the research work conducted by Albert Bandura. He has given more importance to the social factors than the physical factors in the formation of personality. He supported the social learning theory on the basis of various experiments. In one of his experiments, Bandura showed a film to some children. In this film the behaviour of an adult was shown. The film had been divided into three parts. Every child was shown only one part of the film. In the first part of the film the hero displayed an aggressive behaviour and he is punished for it. In the second part of the film again the hero behaves aggressively for which he was rewarded.

In the final part of the film, the hero again displayed an aggressive behaviour and at this stage he was neither punished, nor rewarded. After showing the film every child was placed in similar conditions about which they were shown the film. Then their behaviour was studied. It was found that children ignored that behaviour of the hero where he was punished for his aggressive behaviour. It makes it clear that a person learns from social factors and the same learning becomes helpful in the formation of his personality.

Need Theory

Need Theory of Personality is propounded by Henry Murray. According to this theory, it is because of the need of the individual that he behaves in a particular way under particular circumstances Needs create a situation of disequilibrium within an individual. Behaviour of an individual is very much influenced by the disequilibrium so developed in him. In other words whenever an individual feels lacking in something, he is prompted to come into action. It is expressed through his behaviour. Murray has divided the needs of man into the following two categories:

(i) Primary Needs: These are the basic needs of a man. For instance, food, water, air, etc. These needs are easily fulfilled. Behaviour of an individual does not undergo any particular change on account of these needs.

(ii) Secondary Needs: These needs arise because of the psychological nature of an individual. These are:

  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Dominance
  • Autonomy
  • Affiliation

According to Murray, secondary needs are more powerful. These arise again and again. Man’s behaviour turns intense because of them. These needs go a long way in building the personality of an individual. Corresponding to rise or fall in these needs, there is change in the behaviour and personality of individuals.

Self Concept Theory

Self Concept Theory – Carl Rogers has advocated this theory. It is closely related to organisational behaviour.

Self concept implies how much we recognise ourselves and how much we are confident about ourselves. Self concept of an individual determines his concept about the external world. If an individual is doubtful of his ability, he will be afraid of the external world. On the contrary, if an individual is fully confident of himself, he will gladly accept the external world. Self concept of an individual is influenced by feedback of the environment. Feedback here implies to know what others think about us.

In case feedback informs us that our opinion about ourselves is at variance with the opinion that others hold about ourselves, then there is need to re-evaluate ourselves. According to Rogers, on the basis of such re-evaluation people try to readjust themselves. Change in self concept brings about change in personality.

It is on the basis of self concept that an individual perceives the surroundings. In other words, an individual views others in a way similar to his self concept. It can, therefore be said unhesitatingly that behaviour of the individuals is influenced by self concept.

Since self concept of each individual differs, so a given situation is perceived by different people in different ways.  That is why to get work from persons with different self concept, managers have to make use of different methods.

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