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Chapter 2 - Individual Differences and Diversity Management

Individual Differences and
Diversity Management
Chapter 2
Conceptualization of Personality
• Personality
• Defined as the distinctive & characteristic patterns of thought, emotion & behavior
that create an individual’s way of interacting with physical & social environment
• To create formal method of describing/measuring personality
• Need to reduce potential traits to manageable set that still covers diversity of personality
• Try to ensure instruments to measure traits reliable & valid
• Empirical research to investigate relationships among traits, and between traits & behavior
• Ideographic theories (e.g., Allport) each person has unique set of traits
• Nomothetic (e.g., Cattel) each person has the same set of traits but
expressed to different extent
• Etic approach emphasizes universal core similarities in all human beings
• Emic approach supposes a culture-specific behaviors
• Disagreement over how many basic personality factors but
most now agree 5 factors best compromise
• “Big Five”
Openness to experience (e.g. unadventurous  daring)
Conscientiousness (e.g. careless  careful)
Extroversion (e.g. retiring  sociable)
Agreeableness (e.g. ruthless  soft hearted)
Neuroticism (e.g. secure  insecure)
• Discovery & validation of big five considered one of the major breakthroughs
of contemporary personality psychology
• Measure individual traits and predispositions to behave in particular ways
across situations
• Great deal of research suggest that personality is inherited (e.g., twin studies)
Personality Tests
• Great deal of recent research on this class of predictors
• Usually uses the Big 5 taxonomy: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to
Experience, Conscientiousness, and Agreeableness (OCEAN)
• 16 PF, NEO, Hogan Personality Inventory, MMPI
• Personality tests have been found to be valid predictors of job performance
– add variance beyond Cognitive Ability Tests
• r=.20 to .30
• Some say this is an underestimate because we often use general
personality dimensions to predict specific behaviors
• Problems – they can be faked, legal issues with MMPI
• Question – does faking affect validity?
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Personality and Performance
• Personality is a distal predictor of performance, operating through
proximal process of motivation
• Personality  Motivation  Performance
• Personality predicts what a person will do (as opposed to what a
person can do – Knowledge, Skills, Abilities)
• Task Performance – Work-related activities performed by employees to
contribute to technical core of the organization – included in job description
and performance appraisal - predicted by Ability
• Contextual Performance – Activities performed by employees that help
maintain broader organizational, social, and psychological environment –
Enthusiasm, Volunteering, Helping, Civic Virtue, & Defending the Organization
- predicted by Personality
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Predictive Validity of Personality Tests
• Big Five factors
• Conscientiousness (broadly promising)
• Valid across almost all occupational groups; r = .31
• Emotional stability (promising)
• Valid for many groups especially sales, management, & teaching
• Extraversion (some promise)
• Most valid for salespeople
• Openness to experience (virtually no predictive ability)
• Agreeableness (virtually no predictive ability)
Possible Factors Explaining Importance
of Conscientiousness in Predicting Job
• Culture: a learned set of shared interpretations about belief, values, norms,
and social practices, which affect the behaviors of a relatively large group
of people
Culture is an adaptation to our environment, helps us survive and find
fulfillment in exchange for us helping our society survive
• Socialization: process of acquiring beliefs, attitudes, values, and customs of
a culture
• Language – medium (feral children lacking language – reintegration
• Human interaction – means (secluded or institutionalized children – lack of
normal social development)
• Affection – motivation (not experiencing affection leads to maladjustment)
Culture establishes predictability in human interactions: knowing what
behavior is expected of us and others is required for smooth social
Norms: a social rule that specifies how people should behave
Folkways: weak, descriptive, (what most people do most of the time)
More: strong, injunctive (demands, what people ought to do)
Laws: deliberately enforced rules of behavior
-Enforce mores of the dominant group (no interracial marriage
during apartheid)
-Define behavior where norms may not exist (invention of driver
license after invention of the automobile)
-Regulate behavior during a crisis (martial law)
-Change cultural patterns toward desired ideals (anti discrimination
• Values: conceptions of what is good, desirable, and proper—and how
important it is – that guide behavior
• people face problems to solve: external adaptation (how to survive) & internal
integration (how to live together)
• range of solutions is limited
• most members of a given culture will prefer certain solutions
• over time, the solution shapes culture’s beliefs, values, norms, and social practices
Which solutions are going to be selected depends on culture’s value orientations
An Organization’s Values Statement
1. Conveys a sense of identity for employees
2. Generates employee commitment to something greater than
3. Adds to the stability of the organization as a social system
4. Serves as a frame of reference for employees to use to make sense
of organizational activities and to use as a guide for appropriate
Holding values that are inconsistent with company values is a major
source of conflict, frustration, and non-productivity
• Attitude – degree of
positive and negative
feeling towards a
person, place, or thing
• Attitudes predict
behavior through
• Perceived Behavioral
Control – Individual
belief about ease of
performing behavior
Theory of Planned Behavior
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10 | 15
Cognitive dissonance theory
• When behavior & attitudes inconsistent, produces discomfort which
motivates person to bring attitudes in line with behavior to rid self of
• Rationalization - process of self-justification (where behavior
maintained/justified with new or adjusted consonant cognitions)
• Research suggests people who go through more effort to join a
group will value the group more that those who join with little effort
• Person (who believes herself to be good performer but receives poor
performance ratings) can reduce dissonance by
• Reducing the importance of one of the dissonant elements (decide that performance
ratings are not important in determining performance)
• Adding consonant element (supervisor was unfair, I had difficulties at home)
• Changing one of the dissonant elements (I am not a good performer)
Attitudes in Organizations
Work and organizational psychologists play a role in:
• Attitude surveys on issues such as:
• Compensation
• Quality of supervision
• Work/non-work balance
• Job design
• Design jobs in such a way that positive attitudes will be formed
• Personnel selection
• Develop reliable and valid prediction tools that incorporate attitudinal components
• Change management
• Surveys to asses how employees view changes
• Recommendations on how to best implement changes
Overview of Ability Tests
• Definition -- Measures that assess an individual’s capacity to function
in a certain way
• Two types
• Aptitude - Assess innate capacity to function
• Achievement - Assess learned capacity to function
• 15--20% of organizations use ability tests in selection
• Four classes of ability tests
Cognitive: perception, memory, reasoning, verbal, math, expression
Psychomotor: thought/body movement coordination
Physical: strength, endurance, movement quality
Sensory/perceptual: detection & recognition of stimuli
Cognitive Ability Tests
• Belief that Cognitive Ability (intelligence) is important for most, if not
all, jobs!
• Thus, among the most frequent predictors used in selection
• Began with Army Alpha and Beta tests
• Controversy: Racial Differences
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General Cognitive Ability
• General CATs – Early tests (Army Alpha) were designed to measure
General Cognitive Ability
• Research has shown that General Cognitive Ability accounts for a
large proportion of criterion variance (r=.53)
• r2=.25; lots left to account for. Can we do better than just using
General CAT??
• Incremental Validity
• Wonderlic, WAIS, Ravens Progressive Matrices
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Specific Cognitive Ability Tests
• Specific CATs – Predicts whether an individual will do well in a job
given specific abilities
• Mechanical – comprehension of mechanical relations (Bennett Mech)
• Spatial – spatial relations (Space Relations Test)
• Clerical – relevant for hundreds of jobs including secretary, administrative
assistant, and clerk (Minnesota Clerical)
• r = .40 to .50 range
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Figure 6.3. Items similar to those found on
the Minnesota Clerical Test
INSTRUCTIONS: Please place an “x” on the line between each pair of items
that are exactly the same. Do as many as you can in the allotted time.
Bekky Huber
Verna MacDonald
Frank Giorno
Bel Air, Maryland
Sylvia Chinn
Comparison of Names
Becky Huber
Verna McDonald
Frank Giorno
Belair, Maryland
Sylvia Chin
Comparison of Numbers
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Psychomotor Tests
• Measure sensory abilities – the speed and accuracy of motor and
sensory coordination
• packer, machine operator, assembler, electrician
• fighter pilot, air traffic controller, baseball player
• Purdue Pegboard Test, hearing, vision tests
• r = .40 to .50
• NOTE: validities for all tests differ as a function of the job
• Back to the job analysis and identifying the appropriate KSAs
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Integrity Tests
Attempt to predict whether an employee will
engage in counterproductive or dishonest
behavior like stealing, sabotage
Two types:
1. Overt – measure attitudes toward theft as well as
self-reports of actual theft behaviors
1. Have you stolen anything from previous employer?
2. Is lying ever ok?
2. Personality-Type – Personality characteristics like risk
taking, dishonesty, and emotional instability are
Appear valid for predicting both
counterproductive (r=.47) and task behaviors
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• Primary dimensions of diversity – human differences that affect early
socialization and have powerful and sustained effect
Mental and physical abilities
Sexual orientation
• Secondary dimension – personal choices that are less visible to others
• Education
• Religion
• Organizational role, income, experience, etc…
Importance of Diversity Management
• A diverse workforce
• The service economy
• 75% of US economy – service industry
• Interpersonal nature of service transactions makes similarities between an
employee and a customer important – business advantage
• Globalization
• Increased contact with co-workers and clients from other countries makes
understanding cultural differences increasingly important
• Changing labor market
• Recruitment strategies and benefits packages must fit the diverse workforce