Personality Theory

Personality Theories

Regarding managing the personnel of a specific corporation, the personality trait theory is best suited to gauge the ability of a current employee or prospective employee. Trait theorists believe personality can be understood by positing that all people have certain traits or characteristic ways of behaving. Regarding managing the personnel of a specific corporation, the personality trait theory is best suited to gauge the ability of a current employee or prospective employee.
The personality trait theories tend to be broader and easier to apply to larger populations of employees. The Big Five trait model consists of five parts that consist of Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. The model refers to the ocean of personalities. Each of these traits has their meaning and explains how it describes the individual’s personality.

Personality Test

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is an assessment that is believed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. In developing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the aim of Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Briggs was to make the insights of type theory accessible to individuals and groups (The Myers & Briggs Foundation, 2017). This is efficient for human resources professionals in a role of selecting not necessarily the best and brightest but more so the best fit for an already focused team. There are some detractors who advise at using this specific test for employee selection, but feel as though it can aid in individual and team-focused training curriculums (Dattner, 2013). I feel this may also be the best fit, due to test nullifying certain candidates that fall short of the organization’s standards for scoring but may have exceptional value regardless of the score attained.

Personality Assessment

A great way to look at the role of a human resource manager is that of a talent scout, team builder, and talent management. The larger the company, the harder this may be to accomplish. As stated earlier the use of personality traits test for employee selection is debatable, but it gives a hiring manager a start point in the effort to get the best fitting applicants in the interview chair. What the personality trait tests, MBTI specifically, can accomplish is that of training protocols and selection of your human resources personnel. In a small company, it is easier to talk face to face with your human resources rep, in a larger company this isn’t a normal method of communication. Departments tend to send criteria for specific work group assignments, and most of the dialog will be conducted through email.

Cultural Variance

A key way to use the personality trait tests are for managerial roles within a company. The selection has already been completed, and you may have an employee who may fit the criteria that allow them to move to the next level. We as Americans may think we have the best way, but if your role is managing personnel in a multinational company, you may hit a brick wall in regards to the selection of the next great leader. Let’s say you have employees from a Chinese office. Their leadership style may differ drastically than an employee in Spain. For example, a journal article detailing the leadership method taught in China reflects “high power distance, high uncertainty avoidance and collectivism, fundamentally reinforces the hierarchical and conformist attributes of the top–down command structure” (Shao and Webber, 2006). Based on this leadership model, a Spanish employee may score abnormally higher compared to a Chinese employee, even though the one who scored lower, let’s say the overall score of a Big-Five scoring panel. In this same vein, we can use the personality traits test to nurture a shared environment where we can create a corporate culture (i.e. corporate melting pot), through cross training teams from separate regional offices as to give all employees an equal chance to succeed, regardless of cultural upbringing.

Even in regards to scouting for talent, not so much for grooming but say high schoolers or college senior, corporate recruiting teams can take advantage of young adults in most cultures showing similar age trends in personality because due to similar role transitions at roughly the same ages (Bleidorn et al., 2013).


With consideration to the journal articles, it still leaves us with a few questions unanswered. The question would have to be, how can we as future assessment creators and facilitators nurture a culture that considers a person’s background and the culture of the company without sacrificing both?

One way that I’ve seen work in the various corporate environments that I have work (i.e. Apple Inc.) is the use of cultural identity days where staff and team members of other cultures learn from a specific culture within the organization. This allows the shaking of stereotypes, allows the member of the culture to educate the organization, perfect for team building and creates esprit de corp.

Another question that brewed during the readings was the issue of using assessment tools. Why do we need assessment tools for human resources professionals in selection and training of employees?

Although there is no way to select the perfect person for the right position, I feel these tools help set prerequisites for a position. At the start of researching for the blog, I felt that personality trait tests (i.e. Big Five Traits) were the end all be all. This is considered part of the problem in using only one tool to accomplish a situation. I feel that a combination of personality, cultural sensitivity training, and leadership grooming may be the most optimal for tailoring a culture within the company of upward mobility.

Also, does taking in consideration cross-cultural psychology into account, weaken the corporate culture of an organization?

We all understand that all “teams” have individual cultures on that team as well as the ideologies of the group that links them together. In learning and practicing cultural sensitivity, I feel as though we not only strengthen the group but help it become a more stable entity. Just like in a survival situation, knowledge is power, bring a unique perspective to the table allows a team to think differently or have a creative eye to assignments and tasks.


I hope this post gives the audience some insight on research and some personal views on personality trait theories in regards to its ability to aid or hinder human resources personnel. After a few of the articles linked in the reference area, my own personal views have changed in the realm of using one method. Using cultural sensitivity, research based methods in conjunction with common sense, we can staff organizations with employees that will not only remain with the company but bring something special to the organization.



 Bleidorn, W., Klimstra, T.A., Denissen, J.J.A., Rentfrow, P.J., Potter, J. and Gosling, S.D. (2013) ‘Personality maturation around the world: A cross-cultural examination of social-investment theory’, Psychological Science, 24(12), pp. 2530–2540. doi: 10.1177/0956797613498396.

Dattner, B. (2013) How to use Psychometric testing in hiring. Available at:

Shao, L. and Webber, S. (2006) ‘A cross-cultural test of the “five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership”’, Journal of Business Research, 59(8), pp. 936–944. doi: 10.1016/j.jbusres.2006.02.005.

The Myers & Briggs foundation (2017) MBTI basics. Available at:


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