The Big Five is a classification system of personality traits that many psychologists propose as being the principle traits of individual differences in personality (Carleton University, 2013). These traits may determine how an individual perceives the world and how they interact with it. While these may not be the only traits involved in distinguishing individuals’ personalities, it is clear that they have an important role that may be relevant to the issue of job satisfaction.
The Big Five traits are:
- Neuroticism (or Emotional Stability)
- Openness to Experience
Personality traits form the basic foundation of a person’s behavior and actions (Carleton University). It can impact how the person perceives the world and how they react to it. This is important to understand in relation to job satisfaction because it can determine how likely someone is to find satisfaction from areas of their lives and may help to determine how best to help employees find satisfaction in their work. The below-cited research is just a small sampling of the wealth of information establishing the Big Five traits as predictors of human behavior and personality types.
A study conducted in 2011 was able to predict personality types using the Big Five personality traits (Germeijs & Vershueren, 2011). Figure 111 shows the degree of which each personality trait is recorded and the corresponding personality trait. The study focused on determining indecisiveness as a personality type using the Big Five. This prediction of personality types may lead to being able to identify how people with certain personality types could perceive situations and make helping them gain more meaningful and satisfying work easier.
A 2004 study showed that a relationship exists between higher scores in neuroticism and lower scores in conscientiousness can determine the likelihood of an individual being open to career exploration (Reed et al., 2004). Further sources of studies cited in this study showed a link between career exploration and the openness trait. This study resulted in being able to predict the likelihood of a person being open to a wider range of career options and established links between this outcome and personality traits.
Another study conducted by staff at the University of Teknologi in Malaysia sought to determine whether the Big Five personality traits could be used to predict the likelihood of job satisfaction. A small, but significant, relationship was found between an increase in the extroversion trait and an increase in job satisfaction, as well as a relationship between an increase in the openness to experiences trait and an increase in job satisfaction (Husin & Zaidi, 2011). This research seems to show that the more open and extroverted you are, the more likely you are to be satisfied with your job. This may have a lot to do with aspects that make up an extroverted personality and seeking gratification from outside of oneself.
With these studies, as well as thousands more, a link between a person’s personality and the likelihood of finding satisfaction in a job can be seen. What these studies do not say is that there is no hope for someone with some personality traits to never find satisfaction in their job; it merely shows that an extroverted and open person is more likely to find job satisfaction. The other employees may be harder to satisfy, but nothing seems to indicate that most of them cannot be satisfied in their job.
Originally Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Administration Concentration in Information Resource Management on April 28, 2015
The above is an excerpt from the scientific literature review section of my graduate project.
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Germeijs, V. & Vershueren, K. (2011). Indecisiveness and Big Five personality factors: Relationship and specificity. Personality and Individual Differences. Vol. 50. Is. 7. May, 2011. Retrieved April 14th 2015 from http://0-www.sciencedirect.com.catalog.lib.cmich.edu/science/article/pii/S0191886911000237.
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