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Personality Effect on Work Performance Research Paper

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Updated: Feb 16th, 2021


The research topic is a self assessment of the effect of personality on work performance. The five-factor model is one of the most recognised methods of assessing one’s personality. Research experts also affirm that one’s personality has an adverse impact on work performance. Therefore, a self assessment of personal competencies will assist in making me more effective at work

Effect of personality on work performance using the five-factor model

One can define work performance in different ways depending on one’s background. Work performance can be understood in terms of organisational parameters like effectiveness, economy and efficiency. In the realm of economy, work performance is the relationship between effectiveness and low cost. Efficiency is the association between a firm’s productivity and its costs. Finally, effectiveness is the association between results and productivity. On the other hand, one may define work performance in terms of the extent to which a worker contributes towards organisational goals. However, others may individualise this parameter by defining it in terms of the effort that a worker puts into achievement of the person’s goals (Barrick et. al., 2002).

Personality as assessed through the five-factor model may fall in five categories: Extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness. These traits have a direct effect on one’s work performance.

Extraverted persons are more likely to look forward to work because it is an opportunity to experience high levels of stimulation. Introverted employees may not respond well to stimulation so they are less likely to look forward to work. Such attitudes have direct effects on their overall performance. Extroversion is positively associated with work performance owing to this latter explanation. On the other hand, extraversion could have a higher positive impact on work performance if one’s job requires interaction with others. The factor may become moderately significant when such a quality is absent (Colbert et. al., 2004).

Openness to new experiences often has a positive impact on work. Several workplaces will undergo changes, so a person who is open to new experiences is likely to take them in stride. Additionally, most employers expect their workers to go through training. People who exhibit this trait are highly optimistic about different aspects of work. As a result, they would be more willing to grow and learn about their work. This means that they have greater performance. Additionally, a person who is open to new experiences is often an original and creative person; these are qualities that are valued in modern workplaces.

Neuroticism usually impairs action and this has a negative effect on work performance. These persons have a low level of emotional stability. They often question their actions and require approval from others in order to move on to another task. As a consequence, they are slow; furthermore, they will have a tendency to undo previous work in a quest for perfection. The tendency to experience low mood swings and mild forms of depression may interfere with their work and thus alter their work performance negatively (Awadh & Wan, 2008).

Conscientiousness also has a highly positive effect on work performance. This is the most relevant factor in assessment of how one’s personality affects one’s work performance. Persons who are conscientious will exhibit a strong sense of work ethic. Their lives’ achievements are often described by how effective they are at the jobs. Consequently, they are more likely than all the other personality types to exhibit high levels of work performance.

Agreeableness is a relevant factor at work since several individuals work in teams. The quality leads to an increase in work performance in this regard. An agreeable person is more likely to cooperate with others and would thus do project work more effectively than a disagreeable one. On the flipside, agreeableness may become an impediment to work performance. In situations where leadership is a crucial aspect of job performance, then agreeableness may hinder it. People who state their opinions are more likely to get promoted and lead others than those who merely agree with what others are saying.

Analysis of my own effectiveness at work

The five-factor model test examines one’s personality trait on the basis of how one prioritises certain things. I filled in an online questionnaire from www.personalitytest.org.uk (Personality Test, 2013). All the questions were categorised into the five personality traits and one was to select a circle that corresponded to the closest description of one’s personality. The responses were as follows: very inaccurate, moderately accurate, neither inaccurate nor accurate, moderately accurate and very accurate. A sample question was “I have frequent mood swings” or “I know how to captivate people”. All the scores were added up and the different aspects of my personality were established.

In my analysis, I found that I have a high level of neuroticism as well as a deep sense of conscientiousness. My scores for these parameters were 31 and 46 respectively. Conscientiousness is one’s willingness and ability to follow through on goals. These individuals are dutiful, organised and quite meticulous. My high score indicated that I am an organised and dutiful person. As mentioned earlier, several scholars believe that conscientious people have high work performance because of dedication to work. On the basis of this trait alone, I am a desirable employee.

On the other hand, the scores also indicated that I am neurotic. This implies that my feelings may fluctuate from time to time, and I may experience long periods of negative feelings or thoughts. The test illustrated that I am insecure and can get distressed emotionally. Scholars believe that neurotic persons do not exhibit high work performance because their emotional instability comes in the way of work. I need to relax more and deal with my stress issues.

The analysis found that I have a relative rate of agreeableness- my score was 24. This means that I am neither abrasive to my fellow workers or a pushover. When situations arise, I can work in teams as needed and can also cooperate with people to get work done. Such test scores imply that my work performance is likely to be satisfactory if I belong to a project team. However, when left alone, then it is likely that other unwanted traits may surface.

I had a relatively low sore in the openness dimension -19. This implies that I am not that creative and would much rather focus on practical aspects of work. This component is not favourable in terms of the work preference parameter.

Finally, the test found that I have a low extraversion score; my sore was 18 in this category. It indicated that I am not likely to seek out other people’s company. Furthermore, I am reserved and quiet especially in social situations. The literature indicated that introverted persons are likely to exhibit low work performance because they get less stimulation from work and are less enthused by tasks. It is a trait that will not work favourably especially in my chosen profession which involves interactions with others. Since I intend on taking managerial work, then chances are that the quality will work against me.

I have also noted that my worst moments arise during corporate functions where I have to go around and talk to strangers. I often feel like everyone in the room is watching me, so I would rather hide at the back or stick with someone else from the firm. I have also found that my attention to detail sometimes immobilises me. If a task seems ambiguous, then I won’t move as fast as I have to. In these circumstances, my work performance will be reduced. I am not the type of person to rush into leadership positions. In fact, all I care about is keeping my end of the bargain and getting the job done. When working in groups, I often let other people take up the leadership role as they wish.

Strategies for developing my workplace competence in light of the test scores

The scores illustrated that I am not an extraverted person. As a result, I will not do well in situations that involve a lot of social interaction. One way of ensuring that this trait does not become an impediment to my work outcomes is by matching my job positions with my personality. I need to rethink my career choices as the current position I hold is not compatible with this trait. In fact, it is likely that I have been experiencing immense amounts of pressure at work because of this aspect. In the future, it will be more appropriate for me to select technical positions.

Neuroticism is a highly undesirable trait in the work place because it shows insecurity and approval seeking. I may need to work on my self esteem in order to reduce approval seeking. On the other hand, it would be best to work in small teams as those situations would have fewer triggers. It is sometimes impossible to control how one works with others in an organisation. As a result I need to pay more emphasis to the prevalence and nature of team work in a firm before applying for a position. This will shield me from circumstances that can create unwanted results.

I have a high level of conscientiousness, so this means that I like to know when things are logical and meticulous. In the future, I need to go for departments and work assignments that have low risks or are logically played out. I also need to ensure that my supervisors do not abuse my conscientiousness by overworking me. This strategy would also work well for my level of agreeableness. Some of people may take advantage of my goodwill to refrain from participating in group work. I need to ensure that I do not do other people’s work for them. In the future, I would do well to focus on jobs that are practical in nature. Those components that involve too much creativity would not work well for me.


The five-factor model has indicated that I have one quality that increases workplace performance; that is, conscientiousness. On the other hand, I have performed moderately on agreeableness. However, other traits that could minimise work performance are introversion, lack of openness to new experience and neuroticism. In the future, it is best to stick to unambiguous work, focus on small teams and ensure that other do not take advantage of my conscientiousness.


Awadh, A. & Wan, I. (2008). The impact of personality traits and employee work related attitudes on employee performance with the moderating effect of organisational culture. Asian Journal of Business and Management Studies, 1(10), 108-127.

Barrick, M. R., Stewart, G. L., & Piotrowski, M. (2002). Personality and job performance: Test of the mediating effects of motivation among sales representatives. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87, 43-51

Colbert, A., Mount, M., Witt, L. & Barrick, M. (2004). Interactive effects of personality and perceptions of the work situation on workplace deviance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89(4), 599-609.

Personality Test (2013). Web.

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