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date: 28 June 2022

Individual Differences at Worklocked

Individual Differences at Worklocked

  • Adrian FurnhamAdrian FurnhamDepartment of Psychology, University College London


There is a great deal of research on whether personality, ability, and motivation correlate with behavior in the workplace. This is of great importance to all managers who know the benefits of able, engaged, and motivated staff compared to staff who are alienated and disenchanted.

The research is an area of applied psychology that is at the interface of work, personality, and social psychology. Predominantly, the research aims to identify measurable characteristics (i.e., personality traits) of an individual that are systematically related to work output and to explain the mechanism and process involved.

Research on the relationship among personality and organizational level, promotion level, and salary, all of which are related, is difficult because in order to validate the findings, it is important to get representative and comprehensive measures of work output, which few organizations can provide. The results suggest that personality plays an important part in all the outcomes and that three traits are consistently implicated. The higher people score on trait Conscientiousness and Extraversion and the lower they score on trait Neuroticism, the better they do at work. Similarly, intelligence plays an important role, particularly in more complex jobs.

Recent literature has looked at management derailment and failure, with the idea that studying failure can illuminate success, as well as prevent a number of systematic selection errors. This approach is based on “dark-side” traits and the paradoxical finding that some subclinical personality disorders correlate with management success.


  • Organizational and Institutional Psychology

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