What is Personality ? Full definition and Explanation

What is Personality ? Personality indicates human specific character. When we talk about personality, we don’t mean that a person has charm, a smiling face, and a positive attitude toward life. When psychologists talk about personality, they mean a dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological system.

Definition of Personality:

Gordon Allport nearly 70 years ago, he said personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment. You should think of personality as the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with others.

How Measuring Personality?

A manager needs to know how to measure personality. Scores on personality tests help managers forecast who the best for a job is.  The common means of measuring personality is through self report surveys, with which individuals evaluate themselves by rating themselves on a series of factors such as “I worry a lot about the future.” Though self report measures work well when well constructed, one weakness of these measures is that the respondent might lie or practice impression management – that is, the person could “fake good” on the test to create  a good impression. This is the specially a concern when the survey is the basis for employment. And another problem is accuracy.

 Personality Determinants:

Personality appears to be a result of both hereditary and environmental factors. Heredity refers to factors determined at conception, physical stature, facial attractiveness, gender, muscle composition, temperament, energy level, and biological rhythms are generally considered to be either completely or substantially influenced by who your parents are that is, by their biological, physiological, and inherent psychological makeup.

MBTI – The Myers Briggs Type Indicator:

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator is the most widely used personality assessment instrument in the world. It’s a 100 question personality test that asks people, how they usually feel or act in particular situations. On the basis of their answers, individuals are classified as extraverted or introverted (E or I), Sensing or intuitive (S or N), thinking or feeling (T or F), and judging or perceiving (J or P).

Extraverted vs Introverted:

Extraverted individuals are outgoing, sociable, and assertive. Introverted are quiet and shy.

Sensing vs Intuitive:

Sensing type are practical and prefer routine and order. They focus on details. Intuitive rely on unconscious processes and look at the “big picture”.

Thinking vs Feeling:

Thinking types use reason and logic to handle problems. Feeling types rely on their personal values and emotions.

Judging vs perceiving:

Judging types want control and prefer their world to be ordered and structured. Perceiving types are flexible and spontaneous.

The Big Five Personality Model:

The five factor model of personality typically called the Big Five Model. The Big Five factor are:

  • Extraversion
  • Agreeableness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Emotional Stability
  • Openness to Experience

Extraversion: This is a personality dimension describing someone who is sociable, gregarious, and assertive. But introverts tend to be reserved, timid, and quite.

Agreeableness: The agreeableness dimension refers to an individual’s propensity to defer to others. Highly agreeable people are cooperative, warm, and trusting. Who score low on agreeableness are cold, disagreeable, and antagonist.

Conscientiousness: This personality dimension is a measure of reliability. A highly conscientious person is responsible, organized, dependable, and persistent. Those who score low on this dimension are easily distracted, disorganized, and unreliable.

Emotional Stability: The emotional stability dimension often labeled by its converse, neuroticism taps a person’s ability to withstand stress. Who is positive emotional stability tends to be calm, self confident, and secure. Negative score tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed, and insecure.

Openness to Experience: This is a personality dimension that characterizes someone in terms of imagination, sensitivity, and curiosity.  

Other Personality Traits Relevant to Organizational Behavior:

  1. Core Self Evaluation
  2. Machiavellianism
  3. Narcissism
  4. Self Monitoring
  5. Risk Taking

Core Self Evaluation:

People differ in the degree to which they like or dislike themselves and whether they see themselves as capable and effective. This self perspective is the concept of core self – evaluation. People who have positive core self evaluations like themselves and see themselves as effective, capable, and in control of their environment. Those with negative core self evaluations tend to dislike themselves, questions their capabilities, and view themselves as powerless over their environment.


The personality characteristics of Machiavellianism are named after Niccolo Machiavlli, who wrote in the sixteenth century how to gain and use power. An individual high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic maintains emotional distance, and believes that ends can justify means.


In psychology, narcissism describes a person who has a grandiose sense of self-importance, requires excessive admiration, has a sense of entitlement, and is arrogant. Narcissists often want to gain the admiration of others and receive affirmation of their superiority; they tend to “talk down” to those who threaten them, treating others as if they were inferior. Narcissists also tend to be selfish and exploitive, and they often carry the attitude that others exist for their benefit.


Self-monitoring refers to an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external, situational factors. Individuals high in self monitoring show considerable adaptability in adjusting their behavior to external situational factors. High self monitors are capable of presenting striking contradictions between their public persona and their private self.

Risk Taking:

High risk taking managers made more rapid decisions and used less information in making their choices than did the low risk taking managers.