The article under review is: International Review of Business Research Papers, volume 3, issue number 4 published in October 2007 and it covers pages 31 to 43. The title of the journal is “Relationship between personality and organizational citizenship behavior: does personality influence employee citizenship?” and the author is Hassam Abu Elhanan. The journal entails examining the link between the personality of employees in an organization and Organizational Citizenship Behavior (OCB). To conduct the research, 164 employees were involved in the survey to determine the regression between their personality and OCB. The predictors applied for OCB were conscientiousness, how stable the employees are emotionally and the degree of openness to experience. The findings of the study suggest that openness to experience has a significant influence on OCB (Elhanan, 2007).
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Analysis of the article
Various researchers have examined the relationship between the personality characteristics of employees and their performance at the place of work. Personality traits to how people think, behave or their emotional behavior especially when exposed to varying situations. OCB refers to the behavior that helps a company develop better strategies, but they are not the main elements of performing jobs. These behaviors are applied by employees to improve the performance of an organization, but there are no direct benefits to individual employees. However, the relationship between personality traits and the performance of employees tend to vary slightly. The variance is caused by the other variables related to individuals as well as situational factors. The entire process entails relating the Five-Forces Model (FFM) that describes personality traits to the OCB of the employees under survey (Elhanan, 2007).
The FFM has been generally accepted as a tool that is applied in analyzing the personality traits of individuals. There is a universal acceptance of the FFM because the five factors are applicable in different cultures and languages. The FFM factors are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability and openness to experience (Elhanan, 2007).
Organizational citizenship behavior has been explained as the behavior of employees that is not recognizable by the formal systems of an organization but they promote the effectiveness of organizational processes. OCB is not provided in the job description and there is no punishment attached to such behaviors because they are personal. Various models are applied by different authors to explain the nature of OCB. For instance, Graham (1989) “proposed a four-dimension model of OCB consisting of interpersonal helping, individual initiative, personal industry, and loyal boosterism” (p.33). When co-workers help each other, interpersonal helping is applied while individual initiative involves communication with other employees in the organization for the improvement of performance. The personal industry involves performing the duties provided beyond the requirements provided by the organization while loyal boosterism is the process of promoting the image of the organization to outsiders (Elhanan, 2007).
Personality traits have been said to predict the performance of employees at the workplace. Immediately when an individual is hired into an organization the personality traits start to affect their performance at the workplace. People are different and they will exhibit personality traits differently within the organization. Researchers have found out contradicting results about the relationship between OCB and the personal traits of different employees. Different correlation figures were obtained in different research cases. Also, regression analyses of the different predictor variables show varying relationship factors (Elhanan, 2007).
The hypothesis of the article was to establish the link between personality traits and the OCB. Social behavior has been described in terms of extraversion because extraverted individuals are more social and can express their ideas more flexible. Thus extraversion is said to have a positive correlation to OCB. Similarly, agreeableness has been found to have a positive relationship with OCB. Individuals with a high level of agreeableness are flexible and can make friends easily.
As such, agreeable employees develop better interpersonal competences and have effective collaboration skills in joint ventures. Conscientiousness has also been hypothesized to have a positive relationship with OCB. Conscientiousness improves the performance of employees ate the workplace because such individuals require minimum supervision when they are at the place of work. Such individuals can be relied upon and they initiate problem-solving mechanisms (Elhanan, 2007).
Emotional stability has also been hypothesized to have a positive relationship with OCB. Emotional stability determines the social behavior of employees and people with this trait easily cope with the work environment. Emotionally stable employees can perform better because they have low levels of anxiety, they are not worried and they feel secure at the place of work. Openness to experience has a positive correlation to OCB. This trait makes people accept change, become creative and inquire about the operations required in the organization. Open individuals prefer to change, variety, new ideas and they appreciate innovations. On the contrary, people who are “closed” tend to oppose change; they are traditional and are not comfortable with complex issues in the organization. The entire process of conducting this research has been based on establishing the relationship between personality and the OCB (Elhanan, 2007).
The control variables applied in this research are job satisfaction levels, the characteristics of tasks provided, trust among employees, and other personal traits that may hinder the identification of personality traits. Situations also restrict the extent to which a person can express his/her personality traits. Therefore, personal and situational variables determine the effect of personality traits on OCB. Work Locus of Control (WLOC) determines the behavior and believes of individuals. Both internal and external locus of control determines the behavior of an individual. Organizational justice also determines the level of performance of an employee. When fairness is exercised within an organization employees get the courage to improve their performance (Elhanan, 2007).
Methodology and research design
Questionnaires were applied in obtaining primary data where 230 employees from the service industry in Dubai were involved. The questionnaires contained parameters such as FFM, OCB, WLOC as well as organizational justice. The drop-off method was applied to distribute the questionnaires to the employees at various work stations. Only 71 percent of the respondents replied and this reduced the sample size to 164 people. Female respondents were 49% while the mean age of all respondents was found to be 32.5 years. The standard deviation of the mean ages was 75 while 5.5 years was the average time that employees had worked with the organizations (Elhanan, 2007).
The Big Five Inventory (BFI) was applied to assess the big five personality measures such that a Likert scale of 1 to 5 was applied. A twenty-one item scale was applied to measure the OCB and a scale of five points used to obtain the responses. WLOC was determined by applying 16 items with responses developed on a scale of five points. Organizational justice was measured by the use of three dimensions to assess fairness at the place of work (Elhanan, 2007).
Analysis and results
Regression analyses were conducted to establish the relationship between FFM and OCB. WLOC and organizational justice variables were also entered into the regression model. There was a positive relationship between FFM and OCB, with openness having the strongest relationship with OCB (Elhanan, 2007).
FFM is a suitable predictor for organizational citizenship behavior. Workers with a high degree of openness to experience, conscientiousness, and emotional stability have been found to attain the highest rates of OCB. The results obtained from the above experiment coincide with the findings of Mount et al (1998) which explained that FFM variables are applied as predictors of performance of employees at a workplace. Interpersonal performance has therefore been said to be influenced by openness to experience, conscientiousness, and emotional stability. The research is also supported by other researches which explained that there is a positive relationship between emotional stability and other FFM variables to contextual performance of employees (Organ & Ryan, 1995).
Openness to experience is a very important predictor of OCB. Even though earlier studies by Barrick et al (2001) suggest that the correlation between the two variables is low, the findings of this survey have established a contradictory result. People who have high levels of openness to experience tend to be innovative and imaginative and this makes them perform better at their workplaces. Extraversion and agreeableness have a low level of relationship with OCB. Other researchers had previously found similar results and this is an indication that these variables have no impact on the performance of employees.
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However, extraverted people perform better in activities that require social interaction. Therefore, job positions such as sales personnel as well as managers should be extraverted for them to develop better performance skills. The findings of this research explain that openness to experience has the highest degree of validity as a predictor of OCB. Conscientiousness and emotional stability are also important predictors but at a lower level compared to openness to experience. Agreeableness and extraversion have been found to have no interaction with the performance of employees at the workplace (Elhanan, 2007).
Limitations and strengths
Biasness was experienced in the survey because the same questionnaires were applied to collect all the information required. Besides, the data was collected mainly from the staff but not from the managers. The data was collected from the same respondents at the same time and this may hinder variance in the responses. On the other hand, the survey is strong in that two variables were used to determine their relationship. This made it possible for regression analysis to be done (Elhanan, 2007).
Opportunities for future research are possible because situational factors are many and can be applied to predict the relationship between the variables FFM and OCB. Other work environments can be surveyed to establish the response of different employees to the study. A survey on the relationship between the FFM and OCB can be surveyed at different dimensions to explain how personality affects OCB. The personality of an individual has a great influence on their behavior in the workplace. This research will be very important to managers when selecting and recruiting employees for specific job positions in the organization (Elhanan, 2007).
The concepts being investigated in the journal article are visible. The author explains the relationship between the personality of individuals and their performance at the workplace. People behave in a particular manner while at the workplace and their behavior will influence their performance. The variables being investigated are qualitative and cannot be applied to generate a mathematical model. Unless they are rated according to different scales, they cannot be put in a regression or correlation model so that a relationship can be obtained. The author has well defined the variables under investigation and it is well established that there is a link between OCB and FFM. Therefore, the author has been able to explain the relationship between the variables under study.
The hypotheses are well stated and the author has been able to bring out the questions which require answers from the research he has conducted. The five hypotheses are well stated and they provide a proper direction for understanding the article. There is a smooth transition from one section to another and the reader can be able to identify the relationship between different parts of the article. The variables being researched about are personality traits that are composed of the factors: agreeableness, emotional stability, extraversion, openness to experience, and Conscientiousness.
A relationship has been established between the personality traits and organizational performance of the employees. The variables are testable and the results have been well interpreted. The theoretical framework is well established because there is a proper transition between the theories is their application within the context of the survey. Theory and application have been properly integrated to bring out the relationship between the variables under study.
The author has applied regression and correlation analysis to explain the relationship between the variables. The statistical tools are appropriate because they have established the relationship between the variables. The variables being investigated are visible and they have been explained by the regression and correlation model. The measures applied are valid and reliable because they provide a good picture of the application of theory and practice. The qualitative variables have been well explained and there is a good transition from qualitative to quantitative data. The scales provided are reliable because they illustrate the application of the qualitative variables. These variables have been used to develop a mathematical model that can be easily interpreted.
The conclusions provided in the article align with the results obtained. The results provide a positive relationship between performance and personality traits. Openness to experience has been said to have the strongest relationship with the performance of employees. Agreeableness and extraversion have been identified to have the lowest relationship with the job performance of the employee. The article is adequate in addressing the questions being evaluated. The author has been able to establish appropriate relationships between OCB and FFM. The performance of employees is said to be pegged on their behaviors. Organizational performance has been said to be affected by the personality of employees. The findings of the study explain appropriately the link between the variables.
From the above findings and analysis, it is acceptable that the personality traits of an individual determine the performance of an individual at the workplace. Employees work according to their personality traits and employers should identify these traits when recruiting and selecting people. The management should identify the specific personality traits of their employees and they should match them with the tasks they assign them. This will help reduce confusion and poor job performance that may be caused by the inappropriate allocation of jobs.
Barrick, M. R., Mount, M. K., & Judge, T. A. (2001) “Personality and performance at the beginning of the new millennium: What do we know and where do we go next?”, Personality and Performance, 9. pp. 9-30.
Elhanan, H. (2007). “Relationship between personality and organizational citizenship behavior: does personality influence employee citizenship?” International Review of Business Research Papers, 3(4). p. 31-43.
Graham, J. W. 1989, “Organizational citizenship behavior: Construct redefinition, operationalization, and validation”, Unpublished working paper, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
Mount, M. K., Barrick, M. R., & Stewart, G. L. 1998, “The five factor model of personality and performance in jobs that involve interpersonal interaction”, Human Performance, vol. 11, no. 2/3, pp. 145-165.