Organizational Behavior: Personality and Values Essay

In today’s modern society, personality and values play a critical role in the stability of an organization. Today, diversity is the key to the success of most organizations. However, diversity goes beyond merely race, religion, color, national origin, gender, age, and disability. The diversity of personality and the appreciation of the variety of talents and skills of our co-workers will go far in helping us make our lives less stressful. The human resource department and hiring managers need to consider personality and values when they hire new employees.

It is also important that they understand and appreciate the different personality and values of their current employees.

Personality and Values

In today’s competitive market it has become extremely important to hire the right people to help execute the mission and vision of a company. The employee helps bring the slogan on the wall into existence; therefore, it is important that employees display the right personality and values the company would like to show the world.

Gordon Allport produced the definition of personality we most frequently use nearly 70 years ago. Allport said personality is the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environment (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 133). However, the definition has been tweaked over the years. For the purpose of this paper, personality is defined as the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. The most important reason managers need to know how to measure personality is that research has shown personality tests are useful in hiring decisions and help managers forecast who is best for a job (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 133). Values are another area where companies need to ensure the employees and managers are on the same page.

When values are divided, problems with the organization closely follow. Values represent basic convictions that a specific mode of conduct or end-state of existence is personally or socially preferable to an opposite or converse mode of conduct or end-state existence. They contain a judgmental element in that they carry an individual’s ideas as to what is right, good, or desirable. Values have both content and intensity attributes. The content attribute says a mode of conduct or end-state of existence is important. The intensity attribute specifies how important it is. When we ran an individual’s values in terms of their intensity, we obtain that person’s value system (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 144). When a company considers the personality of their employees and the value system of the owners and shareholders the company had now developed a company personality.

Personality Traits

Corporations often use personality assessments to understand how the people that belong in their organization interact. Two popular frame works for indentifying and classifying traits are the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Big Five Model. According to Robins and Judge, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is the most widely used personality assessment instrument in the world. It is a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or act in particular situations. Respondents 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). These terms are defined as follows: * Extraverted (E) versus Introverted (I). Extraverted individuals are outgoing, sociable, and assertive. Introverts are quiet and shy. * Sensing (S) versus Intuitive (N). Sensing types are practical and prefer routine and order. They focus on details. Intuitive rely on unconscious processes and look at the “big picture.”

* Thinking (T) versus Feeling (F). Thinking types use reason and logic to handle problems. Feeling types rely on their personal values and emotions. * Judging (J) versus perceiving (P). Judging types want control and prefer their world to be ordered and structured. Perceiving types are flexible and spontaneous (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 56) These classifications together describe 16 personality types, indentifying every person by one trait from each of the four parts. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has been widely used by organizations including Apple Computer, AT&T, Citigroup, GE, 3M Co., many hospitals and educational institutions, and even the U.S. Armed Forces (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 135).

The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator may lack strong supporting evidence, but an impressive body of research supports the thesis of the Big Five Model – that five basic dimensions underlie all others and encompass most of the significant variation in human personality. Moreover, test scores of these traits do a very good job of predicting how people behave in a variety of real-life situations (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 136). The following are the Big Five factors: * Extraversion. The extraversion dimension captures our comfort level with relationships. Extraverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and sociable. Introverts tend to be reserved, timed and quiet. * Agreeableness. The agreeableness dimension refers to an individual’s propensity to defer to others. Highly agreeable people are cooperative, warm, and trusting. People who score low on agreeableness are cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic.

* Conscientiousness. The conscientiousness 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. People with positive emotional stability tend to be calm, self-confident, and secure. Those with high negative scores tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed, and insecure. * Openness to experience. The openness to experience dimension addresses range of interests and fascination with novelty. Extremely open people are creative, curious, and artistically sensitive. Those at the other end of the category are conventional and find comfort in the familiar (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 136).

Generational Values

Values within a person are oftentimes shaped by what generation and life events they may have experienced during their formative years. Researchers have integrated several recent analyses of work values into four groups that attempt to capture the unique vales of different cohorts or generations in the United States workforce (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 145). There are some limitations to this theory because a person born in one generation can have the characteristic of another generation. Just because you are born on a certain date, does not automatically make you have the same values as everyone in your own generation. Despite these limitations, values do change over generations, and we can gain some useful insights from analyzing values this way.

Boomers (Baby Boomers) are a large cohort born after World War II when United States veterans returned to their families and times were good. Boomers entered the workforce from the mid-1960’s through the mid-1980’s. They brought with them a large measure of the “hippy ethic” and distrust of authority. But they placed a great deal of emphasis on achievement and material success. Pragmatists who believe ends justify means; they work hard and want to enjoy the fruits of their labors. Boomers see the organizations that employ them merely as vehicles for their careers. In terms of seniority, baby boomers make up the bulk of the employees in most large corporations, so it is imperative that co-workers understand the values of the person sitting or standing next to them. Terminal values such as a sense of accomplishments and social recognition rank high with them (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 146).

The lives of Xers (Generation Xers) have been shaped by globalization, two-career parents, MTV, AIDS, and computers. Xers value flexibility, life options, and the achievement of job satisfaction. Family and relationships are very important. Xers are skeptical, particularly of authority. They also enjoy team-oriented work. In search of balance in their lives, Xers are less willing to make personal sacrifices for the sake of their employer than previous generations were. Generation Xers rate high on true friendship, happiness, and pleasure.

The most recent entrants to the workforce, the millennials (also called Netters, Nexters, Generation Yers, and Generation Nexters) grew up during prosperous times. They have high expectations and seek meaning in their work. Millennial have life goals more oriented toward becoming rich (81 percent) and famous (51 percent) than do Generation Xers (62 percent) and 29 percent, respectively, but they also see themselves as socially responsible (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 146). They are more ethnically and racially diverse than older adults. They’re less religious, less likely to have served in the military, and are on track to become the most educated generation in American history.

They embrace multiple modes of self-expression. Three-quarters have created a profile on a social networking site. One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more). Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some place other than an earlobe- about six times the share of older adults who’ve done this. But their look-at-me tendencies are not without limits. Most Millennials have placed privacy boundaries on their social media profiles and 70% say their tattoos are hidden beneath clothing (Millennial, 2010).

Policy on Ethics

Often times the value system of a company can clearly be seen with the company’s ethical code. Chrysler actually posts a code of ethics brochure on their website to ensure all employees and customers know their value system. According to the website, Chrysler expects all of its employees to contribute to a cooperative working environment in which the dignity of each individual is respected. The conduct of management personnel should set an example to promote positive employee morale and the open exchange of ideas. Chrysler is committed to high ethical standards in business transactions. Chrysler does not tolerate unethical or corrupt practices by its employees or its business partners. Chrysler strictly forbids engaging in or tolerating bribery or any other form of corruption. High standards require hard work, courage and often present difficult choices. At times, choosing the proper course of action means foregoing business or personal opportunities.

The “integrity code,” while not all-inclusive, reflects the basic standards of ethical behavior expected of Chrysler employees and should be read in conjunction with the company policies, guidelines, and standards of conduct that also apply to Chrysler employees (“Integrity Code,” 2009). Ineffective company ethics policies can also be a detriment to the company’s public image, stature in the business community, and ultimately to their profitability. Many people assume that running a successful business often entails a systematic approach, however the personality and values of employees of a company plays a crucial role in its success as well. It is can be detrimental when executive decisions are not made and could result in them being extremely costly. For example, according to Academy of Management executives “clean up costs are sometimes difficult to attribute to any particular ethics failure. Consisting of such things as attorney and audit fees, investigative costs…medical actions…”

The Enron scandal being the root example of a company destroyed due to simply unethical individuals. Not implementing ethics in any company will always fail in some way whether a small loss to an incomprehensible one (Schermerhorn & Dienhart, 2004). That is why it is imperative to ensure a code of ethics as part of the system. The dynamics of decision making for any individual who is often faced with issues regarding “ethics” becomes far more complex than it sounds. Every company, in one way or another, are faced with difficulties of employees making decisions that sometime seem ethical or not. Not everyone can make such decisions. The downfall of those who lack the ability to make ethical decisions can be costly. A company’s inability to reinforce “ethics” in their business can quickly become detrimental. One only has to look at Enron, Arthur Anderson, and Worldcom to understand the catastrophic effects of having ineffective ethical policies and values (Thomas, Schermerhorn & Dienhart, 2004).

Company Values

In regards to company values and ethics, Chick-fil-A has been in the news because of the words of their owner in regards to “Christian values.” His comments have caused the business world to examine the role of a business owner’s personal values and company values. At issue was the CEO’s opinion of same sex marriage. The controversy came to a boil after an interview with the fast food restaurant chain’s president and COO Dan Cathy appeared in The Baptist Press on July 16 and he weighed in with his views on family. “We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit,” Cathy said. “We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.” Proponents of same-sex marriage spread Cathy’s comments, eventually creating a firestorm of criticism on social media, including assertions that his comments and position were bigoted and hateful (Brumfield, 2012).


Corporations often demonstrate their values to customers by the way they treat their employees and the opportunities that are available for citizens to become a part of the company. One way to quickly rise in a company is to connect to their intern program. Chick-fil-A boasts about their internship program on their website. According to their corporate website, the purpose of the Chick-fil-A Internship Program is to provide a high-caliber group of students an opportunity to enhance their educational experience and improve their career preparation. A key objective of the intern experience is to help students and recent graduates understand and appreciate the importance of building and maintaining strong work relationships in accomplishing results. We have designed the program to involve students in real work projects while also allowing them time to experience many aspects of the Chick-fil-A corporate culture. The cultural experience includes significant executive exposure and numerous development opportunities (“Internship,” n.d.).

The Chrysler Corporation also has an intern program that is called the Chrysler Leadership Development program. The Chrysler Leadership Development (CLD) Program is a highly selective two-year program that develops leaders by incorporating intensive on-the-job learning opportunities with supplemental development and interaction with our global business leaders. You’ll have the guidance and support of Chrysler leadership throughout your experience and opportunities to build on your talents through high-impact assignments. The program will provide you an accelerated opportunity to learn our business, executive mentor support, and an investment to grow your leadership abilities (“Leadership Development Program,” n.d.). As with most intern programs, the potential employee must meet minimum requirements. To be considered for the Program, you must meet the following requirements: * MBA/Master’s degree with a minimum

3.2 GPA

* 2-6 years of professional business experience * Demonstrated leadership experience (“Leadership Development Program,” n.d.). According to Chic-fil-A’s website, the organization values diversity. What is diversity? According to the Civil Rights office of the Department of Interior, the term “diversity” is used broadly to refer to many demographic variables, including, but not limited to, race, religion, color, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, age, education, geographic origin, and skill characteristics. America’s diversity has given this country its unique strength, resilience and richness (“Diversity,” 2012).

Diversity management makes everyone more aware of and sensitive to the needs and differences of others. Diversity is much more likely to be successful when we see it as everyone’s business than if we believe it helps only certain groups of employees. One method of enhancing workforce diversity is to target recruiting messages to specific demographic groups underrepresented in the work force. This means placing advertisement in publications geared toward specific demographic groups; recruiting at colleges, universities, and other institutions with significant numbers of underrepresented minorities; and forming partnerships with association like the Society for Women Engineers or the Graduate Minority Business Association (Robbins & Judge, 2011, p. 56).

Values and Ethics

Organizational Development is an emerging profession, and its practitioners tend to describe themselves as professionals. However, individuals working in the field may vary greatly in respect to their degree of professionalism. By professionalism, we refer to the internalization of a value system that is a part of the concept of the profession. Whether a person can be deemed a professional is determined by the degree to which he or she has internalized certain values pertinent to the profession. Although there is some disagreement, four areas appear to be important. * Expertise. The professional requires some expertise. This includes specialized knowledge and skills that can be obtained only through training (usually through academic study and experience). * Autonomy. The professional claims autonomy. Professionals reserve the right to decide how their function is to be performed and to be free from restrictions. * Commitment. Professionals feel a commitment to the discipline. They are more likely to identify with members of their profession in other organizations that with their own organization.

* Code of ethics. Finally there is a responsibility to society for the maintenance of professional standards of work. They adhere to professional self-discipline and a code of ethics (Brown, 2011, p. 71). The values and ethics of prospective employees and the alignment of the values and ethics advocated by the company are important consideration when it comes to hiring practice considerations. If a company’s hiring practices are ineffective, it can have detrimental effects to its bottom-line. According to a survey conducted by online payroll company SurePayroll, it found three out of four surveyed business owners admitted to hiring at least one employee they later wished they never had, and many indicated that the mistake resulted in a significant financial loss of more than $10,000 per bad hire, according to 12 percent of respondents (Eddy, 2009). Most companies react to hiring situations as emergencies; that might explain why so many do it so poorly. One Survey of fifty CEOs of global companies along with a pool of executive search consultants who rated about 500 firms found the hiring practices for many of those companies are disturbingly vague.

Part of the findings, according to the respondents, indicated to a heavily reliance on subjective personal preferences or on largely unquestioned organizational traditions, often based on false assumptions (Fernández-Aráoz, Groysberg & Nohria, 2009) It is therefore imperative to avoid making bad hiring decisions. As such, your hiring practices should have procedures that need to be followed to ensure the candidates being considered for employment are good matches. Procedures should contain effective methods for screening candidates during the pre-employment phase. Some of these methods should include background checks or skills testing (Eddy, 2009). In order to avoid ineffective hiring practices companies should consider seven steps within their hiring practices to cover the full recruitment spectrum to include: anticipating the need for new hires, specifying the job, developing a pool of candidates, assessing the candidates, closing the deal, integrating the newcomer, and reviewing the effectiveness of the hiring process (“Harvard Business, 2009).

Continuous training and educational should be a part of everyone’s personal value system as well as remaining as ethical as possible. The best way to stay smart when facing ethical dilemmas is to remain current in your ethical training. In regards to ethics training a team of management researchers recommended the following actions for improving on-the-job ethics. * Behave ethically yourself. Managers are potential role models whose habits and actual behavior send clear signals about the importance of ethical conduct. Ethical behavior is a top-to-bottom proposition. * Screen potential employees. Surprisingly, employers are generally lax when it comes to checking references, credentials, transcripts, and other information on applicant resumes. More diligent action in this area can screen out those given to fraud and misrepresentation. Integrity testing is fairly valid but is no panacea. * Develop a meaningful code of ethics.

* Provide ethics training. Employees can be trained to identify and deal with ethical issues during orientation and through seminar, video, and internet training sessions. * Reinforce ethical behavior. Behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated, whereas behavior that is not reinforced tends to disappear. Ethical conduct too often is ignored or even punished while unethical behavior is rewarded. * Create positions, units, and other structural mechanisms to deal with ethics. Ethics needs to be an everyday affair, not a one-time announcement of a new ethical code that gets filed away and forgotten. “A growing number of large companies in the United States have chief ethics officers who report directly to the CEO, thus making ethical conduct and accountability priority issues.

* Create a climate in which whistle-blowing becomes unnecessary. Whistle-blowing occurs when an employee reports a perceive unethical and/or illegal activity to a third party such as government agencies, news media, or public interest groups (Kreitner & Kinicki, 2008). On May 15, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Notification and Federal Employee Anti-Discrimination and Retaliation (No FEAR) Act to increase federal agency accountability for acts of discrimination or reprisal against employees. The No FEAR Act became effective on October 1, 2003. This act requires that federal agencies post on their public web sites certain summary statistical data relating to equal employment opportunity complaints filed against the respective agencies (State, n.d.).

Project Team

Project teams have two universal measures; to satisfy the customer, and to deliver on time, on budget and within specification. The rationale for using teams is simple: high performing teams save money and satisfy customers. Unfortunately, there is the other side of the coin: poor performing teams cost money and disappoint customers. In many cases, individuals are assigned to a cross functional team and attempt to jump right into work without first attempting to address the relationship of team members and the behavioral disposition of the individuals. If the behavioral aspects of the team are not understood, then the team can become mired in conflict and lose momentum which results in lost time and effectiveness. Behaviors that can affect productivity include: the inability to work together towards a common goal, fear of sharing ideas, fear of negative feedback, self interest driving actions, expectation that the team leader will solve all of the problems and assume all of the responsibility, confusion between individual tasks and relationships with other people, and lack of appropriate acknowledgement for accomplishments (Henkin, 2012).

The other consideration in deciding to form teams is what size team should be put together. When it comes to the workplace, teamwork is increasingly widespread. Research indicates there is not a fixed or optimal number to have on a team. Professor Wittenberg, Director of the Wharton Graduate Leadership Program, notes that team size is “not necessarily an issue people think about immediately, but it is important.” According to Wittenberg, research on the optimal team numbers is not conclusive. In the work world, Professor Wittenberg suggests that it has been “reinforced that five or six is the right number (on a team) but it really depends on the task” ([email protected], 2006). The other dynamic that needs to be addressed relates to teams is how they resolve conflicts.

Conflict management is a very important part of team dynamics. Choosing the right members for a group can help prevent some of these issues. One strategy involves designating a project manager, a strong individual that can competently take charge. The project manager must be experienced and understand how to deal with both the interpersonal as well as behavioural aspects of the teams. They must also understand the normative stages of development most all teams go though as they come together. The project manager must allow the team to communicate effectively, create rapport, resolve conflict, lead team members, and motivate the whole team (Gountanis, n.d.).

Team Development

Team development is an iterative process. This is readily understood when looking at the ‘forming-storming-norming-performing’ model for team development that has become a standard team development model introduced by Bruce Tuckman. The theory is based on the premise that each team goes through a distinct iterative process. The first phase is described as the forming phase where the team first comes together with energy, expectation, and limited knowledge of assigned task. The next phase is the storming phase where individuals start jockeying for position and recognition. The team internally struggles with why and how decisions made will affect the individual members. The next phase is the norming phase where stability starts to emerge and goals are established with plans and associated defined roles/responsibilities. The last phase is the performing phase where the plans are implemented, outputs are generated, and work gets done.

Every team goes through these phases. (Tuckman, 1965). Therefore, it is natural to expect conflicts to arise between team members; however, management as well as the project manager must be cognizant there can be both constructive conflict and destructive conflict. Constructive conflicts exists when people change and grow personally from the conflict, the conflict results in a solution to a problem, it increases involvement of everyone affected by the conflict, and it builds cohesiveness among the members of the team. Destructive conflicts exist when no decision is reached and problem still exists, it diverts energy away from more value-add activities, it destroys the morale of the team members and it polarizes or divides the team (Cappozzoli, 1995).

Diversity within the team is another consideration with respect to group dynamics. Professor Klein from the Wharton School of Management and Professor Lim from Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore as part of their research looked at the value of diversity and found that there was conflicting theory. Some research suggests diversity represented by gender, race, and age leads to conflict and affects behavioral integration among team members. The general assumption is that people tend to associate better with people who are similar to themselves which suggest too much diversity is bad for cohesion. Other research suggests diversity helps creates more ideas, more perspectives and more creativity for better solutions. In their research, Klein and Lim found a distinct value in having some similarity between team members which enhances coordination and effectiveness in performing tasks that are complex, unpredictable, urgent, and/or novel (Klein & Lim, 2006). It is possible that a balancing of both theories within a team construct might be beneficial in forming a high performance team.


Employees’ performance and satisfaction are likely to be higher if their values fit well with the organization. The person who places great importance on imagination, independence, and freedom is likely to be poorly matched with an organization that seeks conformity from its employees (Robbins & Judge, 2013, p. 154). Chick-fil-A’s senior leaders are very vocal about the fact their company is owned and operated on Christian values. In fact, their policy and procedure of closing on Sunday so their employees can enjoy time off with their family and perhaps even attend church is rare in the quick service restaurant business. Chrysler is also very serious about their company values and has placed a code of ethics manual on their website to remind internal employees and external customers about their value systems. One of the roles of managers is to both exhibit and vocalize company values. This works well when your personal values are similar to the company and other senior leaders. The higher an individual rises within an organization, the more important it is that your personality and value system aligned with your company.

Both the hiring process of the employees and the ethical standards of behavior for those employees are a critical dynamic supporting the mission objectives of the company. When a company fails to implement effective hiring and ethical policies, the implications can be costly in a variety of quantifiable ways. Finding the right mix of individual employees is a difficult task in terms of attracting and retaining people who are the best fit to the company. The success of the company relies on both the individual as well as those members who become part of teams. The composition of those members to a particular team must be carefully considered by management. The size, makeup, diversity, selection of the team lead, and objective of the team are all important considerations to ensure success. Management must recognize there is some inherent inefficiency in putting teams together as they go through an iterative process of maturity but they must be convinced the benefits of the outcomes outweigh the delays by putting together that particular team.


The profitability and long term survivability of companies are keys to their success. One of the most important assets to any business entity is human capital resources or personnel. As with any asset, management and leadership hire personnel with the belief they will contribute to the company in a positive manner and demonstrate a return of investment from the standpoint that the hiring and training process requires an investment of both time and money. Therefore, it is imperative that companies seek out, attract, and retain individuals whose personality and values match that of the company. In addition, they must be able to work well within teams to further the objectives of the company. It is also important that the company’s continue to communicate and reinforce their values to the workforce. That message must come from the top down. Senior leadership must convey that message at stockholder meetings, all hands meetings, town hall meetings, and via electronic means. While it is imperative that message be communicated, it must be supported and reinforced at all levels of management.

In addition, the compensation and reward system must recognize behavior and performance consistent with that message. The other important consideration is that leadership and management must be conveying the right message, with the right behaviors, and enveloped by a sense of ethical behavior. One only has to look at Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Anderson to recognize the catastrophic and costly effects of engaging in behavior as individuals, groups, or management that is conflict with stated values. The recent Chick-Fil-a statements made by Mr. S.T. Cathy where personal views were replaced by those of the corporation started a media firestorm and backlash from many interest groups. The result was negative press for the company and eventually the announcement by the corporation of a customer appreciation day that cost the company tens of millions of dollars in an attempt to counteract the negative events.


Academy of Management Executive, Volume 18, No. 2, (2004), Strategic leadership of ethical behavior in business, Schermerhorn, Thomas, and Dienhart, John, retrieved from Brockmann, Erich. (1996, May). Removing the paradox of conflict from group decisions. Brown, D. R. (2011). An Experiential Approach to Organization Development (8th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. Brumfield, B. (2012). Retrieved from Cappozzoli, Thomas K. (1995, Dec). Resolving conflict within teams. Journal for Quality and Participation. v18n7, p. 28-30 Eddy, Nathan (June 25, 2009). Businesses Losing Money on Bad Hiring Practices Retrieved from Gountanis, Chris (n.d.). Team Dynamics – Conflict Resolution Strategies. [ONLINE (http:// [Last Accessed 24 September 2012]. Harvard Business Review (May 2009), The Definitive Guide to Recruiting in Good Times and Bad, Fernández-Aráoz, Claudio; Groysberg, Boris; and Nohria, Notin, retrieved from Henkin, Sid (2012). The Behavioral Side of Project Team Effectiveness, [ONLINE (http:// [Last

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