Personality at work: Raising awareness and correcting misconceptions

Ones, D. S., Viswesvaran, C., & Dilchert, S.
Human Performance, 18, 389-404.

Personality variables have always predicted important behaviors and outcomes in industrial, work, and organizational psychology. In this commentary, we first review empirically supported structural models of personality that show the following: (a) Personality traits are hierarchically organized, (b) the Big Five are not orthogonal, (c) abnormal personality measures assess the same continuum of traits as normal adult personality measures, and (d) there are compound personality traits that are especially useful in the prediction of organizational behaviors. Second, we provide a brief overview of meta-analyses of compound personality variables. The highest operational validities of single scales (.40s) are associated with personality measures assessing broad, compound personality characteristics, such as integrity, violence potential, customer service orientation, and managerial potential, that incorporate aspects from multiple dimensions of the Big Five. Third, we also review meta-analytic evidence that has linked personality attributes to other important organizational attitudes and behaviors, such as job satisfaction, motivation, and leadership, with multiple correlations for the Big Five in the .40 to .50 range. Fourth, we discuss the important role that meta-analysis has had in establishing the predictive and explanatory value of personality variables. We conclude with some caveats and directions for future research.