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A new look at the “Big Five” personality traits and how they fit together in the workplace.
We’re all familiar with the Big Five and the five traits that comprise them. Those traits are: self-discipline, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness and agreeableness, and neuroticism. The Big Five can be broken down into four main types: (1) high self-discipline, (2) high conscientiousness, (3) high extroversion, and (4) high extroversion.
However, there’s a new trend in psychology: researchers are starting to realize that this four-part model of personality is a poor fit for how the workplace gets done. They’re finding that self-discipline often comes at the expense of conscientiousness and extroversion. And these effects aren’t so easily reversed. In fact, the effects of personality on the workplace are so pervasive that they are hard to spot and so hard to reverse.
A new paper by University of Cambridge scientists, published in Frontiers in Psychology, has shed a new light on how the Big Five work in the workplace. It shows that self-discipline, conscientiousness/introversion, introversion/intuition, and agreeableness don’t only correlate with working at highly-skilled positions, it’s common for employees to have traits both high in those four areas and low in those others.
That’s important, because the four elements seem to be under-represented, and it could have potentially significant consequences if they’re not being utilized.
The Study: Is the Big 5 a Workplace Personality Type or a Personality Type?
The researchers recruited over 10,000 workers from the US, UK, and Australia to take surveys on their personality in the workplace. They found that many high performers tend to have the traits of high self-discipline, high conscientiousness, high extroversion, high extroversion, and moderate introversion/intuition. This is consistent with the findings we have already shown in this blog.
This is great news for people with these traits. We often hear about people having “workaholics” but we rarely hear about people that are “workaholic
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