Personality and Individual’s Actions and Behaviours

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An individual’s actions and behaviours are influenced by the situation, makes intuitive sense. As an individual’s differences and their interaction with the environmental variables influence certain behaviour. Due to this, psychologists developed assessment measures to analyse personality within individuals.

Personality is a unique organisation of factors which determine an individual’s actions toward the environment they are under. Colloquially, an individual’s makeup – their traits. An individual’s traits often act alongside situational variables . As certain traits predict an individual’s conduct. It provides examples of their behaviour in a particular situation – their characteristic behaviour and conscious motives.

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Due to personality containing different aspects which can be measured, it is also a broad and complex subject which cannot be quantified. This methodical challenge can be addressed by conducting large sampled sized experiments and comparing the use of different instruments used to measure the factors – testing.

Testing refers to a method of acquiring a sample of behaviour under controlled conditions. However, testing involves difficulties of the procedure and deistical dilemmas, due to the utilisation and appropriate interpretations. In the 1920s, Burrhus Frederic Skinner took Watsons research and applied it to his experiments. However, in a different aspect, he believed that all responses were learned in an individual’s personality and to prove his theory he went forward with applying his theory to his experiment. He constructed an enclosed space in which a rat could roam freely and studied this because they were readily available, efficient to use, and most importantly could be examined in a controlled environment. The rat was inactive inside the box when it was first placed, but gradually as it began to adapt to the environment of the box and began exploring. Eventually, the rat discovered a lever, which upon pressing food pellets got released inside the box when it got pressed a number of times. The rat continued to perform this task until it was full. Allowing the rat to be conditioned – operant learning. Then which the research conducted, went into assumption that these principles would apply to humans to when learning. Which has a major ethical issue, due to manipulated atmosphere created. As the reinforcement is presented after the target response. This approach fails to create a lasting behaviour change and sometimes causes the opposite effect, further creating problems in the future. As basing the theory and generalising personality and behaviour on a psychiatric population cannot be standardised. Without other factors considered.

Even though Armond discussed that personality is not something that can be measured or tested easily. If personality is measured, it can just measure one aspect or measure a number of aspects. Psychologists developed different ways and types of testing, to asses an individual’s personality measures and effectiveness in areas. Personality testing is a process that obtains an individual’s difference score, on specific stimuli and their responses. It examines the differences between characterises, in which they combine to create a whole thinking and feeling individual.

Personality testing has been around for years, and was created by psychologists; Sigmund Freud, Edward Spranger, Carl Jung. They tested the theory, how behaviour was affected by personality. Therefore, led to controversial history. As Armond article shows: personality tests were intended to be part of a comprehensive clinical workup. However, when mental health specialists became interested in testing personalities, employer’ especially in the post- World’ War II era, began to need to sort’ through large numbers of applicants to find appropriate personnel. Which led to personality assessments being used in selection in the late 19th century.

The EEOC describes personality testing, an individual’s ability to comprehend situations with their certain traits. This can be reflected on when selecting or choosing an individual for a specific job; engineer, director. Qualifications are important but a crucial aspect is whether the candidate has the most suitable combination of personality traits. As in individual’s personality traits becomes a primary evidence for employers in selecting candidates for employment. The measurement for choosing individuals for particular jobs is called personnel selection . Which allows to check suitability of the individual for the certain job by the aid of personality testing. As employers are using testing to identify characteristics to hire and retain the best employee. As assessing personality is a valid method in predicting work performance. Shows certain traits about themselves, in which they can improve or eliminate.

Ethics are adhered to all types of human activities. Ethical issues arise when carrying out personality testing. As ethics play a major role in research. As the principles protect participants from harm and to avoid consequences.

As of these complications can arise, due to the fact of the storage and retrieval of the data of the individual. The right of privacy must be taken seriously by the organisation and by the users of the assessment. Must be valid and reliable tool which is tested before it undergoes organisational use. Procedures for accomplishing this and the safeguarding the confidential information is an ethical responsibility of the organisation.

Furthermore, personality tests have found to cause discriminatory practices. Candidates may present themselves and their objectives initially in terms of very diffuse.  If a negative correlation is detected, that might reflect on their workplace behaviour. It prevents the company from hiring the least suitable individuals of the job. It prevents the hiring of individuals with negative traits which would affect their work performance negatively. For example, if the job requires an extravert person, and the outcome of the test for one candidate is that they are introvert. Assumptions are made that people’s personalities remain stable, and that they cannot learn. In which personality testing outcomes should not be the only factor they should consider when hiring.

A major difference of personality tests and ability, is the fact testing a candidate in a standard situation and receiving an actual sample of behaviour is not feasible. As many individuals’ traits only show up in certain situations and triggers. Due to self-control. It however “links people and environments according to behavioural rules and individual pursuits” . Due to this, Grossand Alex  claim that all personality tests are invalid and insignificant. However, it plays an important role in career development and the decision-making process. As personality testing allows the candidate to learn information about themselves. However, they are not tailored to the candidate and they have specific outcomes. As it does not show the complete picture of the individuals characterises. Reduces employees to stereotypes, not considering of the individuals personality traits. An individual’s results to the test, allows labelling to occur regardless of their real behaviour in certain situations. Other factors need to be considered, such as an individual’s background, values and nature of work .

The effectiveness of personality testing is a large ongoing debate. Murphy and Shiarella  argued through general cognitive abilities and an individual’s traits are relevant to predicting success. Proven that provides information on overall job performance and effective in understanding workforce attitudes. As of this, the use of online testing by employers has increased greatly in the past decade in the hiring process. Wall street journal concluded that an individual’s personality traits only has a small connection with performance. As the data driven algorithms are not individualised, making it harder for candidates to get jobs for who do not conform to rigid formulae. As an individual’s skills or report might not match up to performance.

Results should not be used to determine workplace decisions and should be given to employees for their own benefits. To allow them to improve their work quality and be used as a methodological development of personality tool. 

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