CHAPTER 2 PERSONALITY
The aim of this chapter is to conceptualise personality, which is one of the independent variables in this study. This chapter includes a summary of personality theories and more specifically the Five Factor Model, which is a conceptual model that constitutes the basis of the personality test used in this research. The development of the model will be discussed as well as the exploration of its benefits and criticism. The chapter concludes with personality research in South Africa.
The use of personality tests has increased substantially in the past two decades. Tett and Christiansen (2007) attribute this fact to the rise of the Five Factor Model that made it easy for test developers to manage this type of measurement, as well as the meta-analyses published between 1984 and 1992. These studies showed that personality test scores correlated with criteria like job performance (Barrick & Mount, 1991). Personality has been found to be important in understanding a number of organisational outcomes (Schreuder & Coetzee, 2010). However, before a discussion of the Five Factor Model is presented, it is important to discuss the history of personality, its various approaches and how these are used to understand this construct.
The field of personality psychology does not have a unifying paradigm and a comprehensive framework for understanding the whole person (McAdams & Pals, 2006), hence there is no consensus on the best way to conceptualise and measure personality. However, there is a trend indicating that personality theorists are very critical of one another. Rather than being critical, it could be useful to recognise both the merits of other approaches and the limitations of one’s own approach, as these all contribute to our understanding of this complex and rich phenomenon (Shadel & Cervone, 1993).
Personality testing dates back to the late 1800s when Sir Francis Galton opened a psychometric laboratory in London in 1884 (Galton, 1884). His work demonstrated that individual differences exist and that they can be objectively measured. However, the main focus at this time was on measuring sensory, motor and mental processes. According to Goldberg (1993), Galton was one of the first scientists to use a dictionary as a way of estimating personality-descriptive terms in a lexicon and to appreciate how trait terms share aspects of their meaning.
There are four main approaches that will be outlined in understanding personality; these are psychoanalysis, humanism, behaviourism and trait theory. Each of the approaches has a view on the structure of personality, dynamics of behaviour and the development of personality (Nowakowska, 1973). Each approach has different tools linked to it as a way of measuring and understanding personality. A broad outline of all four approaches is provided below, followed by a more detailed analysis of the trait theory (being the theory that is used to conceptualise personality in this study). Original material written by the main theorists was consulted as well as more contemporary books and articles that include these theories. This was done to ensure that the history of these theorists, together with their theories, is captured accurately, as it puts the current research project into a better perspective (Dumont, 2010).
Sigmund Freud is known for psychoanalysis, but little is written about the people who influenced his thinking and subsequent theory of psychoanalysis (Taylor, 2009). Freud started his career at Brűcke’s laboratory, where he spent six years being introduced to reductionist physiology while publishing a few neurological papers (Taylor, 2009). Although Freud’s training was in natural sciences and focused on reductionism and empirical rigour, he soon lost interest in that and focused more on speculative and philosophical approaches (Dumont, 2010) whose validity was sometimes difficult to establish.
It was during this time that he met Josef Breuer. According to Freud (1910), Breuer, who in 1880 had stumbled across the ‘talking cure’ when he was treating a 21-year-old girl who had hysteria under hypnosis, had a great influence in his thinking. Charcot also influenced Freud through his work of producing traumatic paralysis during hypnosis, but he was not interested in theory development (Taylor, 2009). Freud started applying Breuer’s and Charcot’s methods with great success, except he was not always successful with hypnotising all his patients and did not like the method. As a result he developed other methods of accessing his patient’s trauma in their waking state, which he refered to as independent cathartic methods. Freud saw the unconscious as the foundation of psychological functioning, as it stores thoughts and wishes that may be viewed as unfavourable to the conscious mind (Freud, 1910). In 1909 he delivered five lectures at Clark University which were published in a journal a year later. In these lectures he acknowledged the people who influenced his thinking, sets out his theory and used cases to illustrate the application of his concepts (Freud, 1910).
The premise of his theory, which was influenced by what was happening in his practice, was that people have early childhood memories that determine the extent of trauma associated with future events (Freud, 1910). The mind has three levels of awareness, namely the conscious mind, preconscious mind and unconscious mind (Griggs, 2006). This structure is referred to as the iceberg model of the mind where the conscious mind, which is linked to the ego, is the tip of the iceberg. The preconscious mind (superego) is outside one’s awareness but still accessible, as the next layer of the ice berg. The unconscious mind (id) is the bottom of the iceberg and not accessible (Griggs, 2006).
When a traumatic experience occurs, the conscious mind (ego) protects itself by repressing the trauma into the subconscious (id), which is not easily accessible. This is achieved through a censoring of emotions or responses as being either appropriate or inappropriate (superego). The more traumatic the event and the more intense the emotions associated with it, the more repressed the event becomes (Freud, 1910; Taylor, 2009). Freud saw the id as the original personality that is present at birth and from which the ego and superego develop as a result of interacting with the world (Griggs, 2006).
According to Crowne (2007) and Griggs (2006), each of the personality structures that Freud conceptualised contains psychic energy with specific functions:
- Pleasure principle (id) – the focus is on immediate gratification, without being concerned about consequences. The id is focused on self-gratification and is completely self-centred, like when children are young.
- Reality principle (ego) – the ego develops from the id, as from the age of 1 year. The ego is there to protect the personality of the child, while making sure that the needs of the id are met. Hence the reality principle, which is about finding ways to gratify needs, within acceptable limits, which means there is a reality check before action is taken. At this level, consequences matter.
- Morality principle (superego) – the superego also develops from the id and this occurs during childhood. At this stage standards of acceptable behaviour are understood, based on one’s culture. The superego is responsible for telling the ego what behaviour is acceptable.
- Defence mechanisms – invariably the demands of the id will be in conflict with what is allowed by the superego, and the ego is sometimes ‘caught in the middle’. This can cause a lot of anxiety for a person, which is where defence mechanisms come in. Their job is to protect the ego by distorting reality and therefore reducing anxiety. The ego can use a number of defence mechanisms (e.g. projection) and these are functional up to a point. Psychopathology starts when we are overly dependent on defence mechanisms to a point where it is difficult to distinguish between reality and distortion.
Different techniques are used to access the subconscious in order for the patient to relieve the traumatic event, express the undesired emotion and feel relieved from it (Freud, 1910). In therapy, techniques like hypnosis and dream interpretation are generally used to achieve this. In personality testing, techniques like the Rorschach Inkblot are used, where candidates are encouraged to say what they see in the ambiguous material presented to them (Sarason & Sarason, 2005). The logic is that people talk about things that they know (conscious) and if the material is ambiguous they will talk about matters they know but are not aware of (unconscious). It is then the psychologist’s role to interpret the information in a way that makes sense to the conscious mind (Freud, 1910; Taylor, 2009).
Psychoanalysis worked as a synthesis of most of the thinking that took place during the 19th century; however, its scholars were not able to use it as a launch pad based on which a cumulative discipline could be developed (Dumont, 2010).
The second theory for discussion is humanism.
A humanistic approach to personality differs from psychoanalysis as it sees behaviour as being shaped by a person’s immediate, subjective and personal experiences (Boere, 2006). Humanism emanated from existential philosophy in the 19th century (Dumont, 2010). The term humanism came about because its theorists advocated the rights of the individual and the principle of self-determination (Dumont; 2010). According to this theory, people are free to make choices, define themselves, develop their own lifestyle and actualise themselves (Dumont, 2010).
CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION
1.1 BACKGROUND AND MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3 AIMS OF THE STUDY
1.4 THE PARADIGM PERSPECTIVE
1.5 RESEARCH DESIGN
1.6 CHAPTER OUTLINE
1.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: PERSONALITY
2.2 PERSONALITY THEORIES
2.3 DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIVE FACTOR MODEL
2.4 CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE FIVE FACTOR MODEL
2.5 PERSONALITY RESEARCH AND TESTING IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.6 RELEVANT PERSONALITY RESEARCH
CHAPTER 3: ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE
3.2 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CULTURE AND CLIMATE
3.3 HOW DO ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATES FORM?
3.4 LEVEL OF MEASUREMENT
3.5 ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE DIMENSIONS
3.6 THE VALUE OF STUDYING ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE
3.7 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4: EMPLOYEE TURNOVER AND INTEGRATION
4.2 DEFINITION OF EMPLOYEE TURNOVER
4.3 EMPLOYEE TURNOVER MODELS
4.4 COSTS OF EMPLOYEE TURNOVER
4.5 CAUSES OF EMPLOYEE TURNOVER
4.6 IMPACT OF META-ANALYSIS ON EMPLOYEE TURNOVER
4.7 RELEVANT TURNOVER RESEARCH
4.8 CHALLENGES WITH EMPLOYEE TURNOVER RESEARCH
4.9 WHAT IS LACKING IN EMPLOYEE TURNOVER RESEARCH?
4.11 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
5.2 RESEARCH APPROACH
5.3 RESEARCH METHOD
5.4 FORMULATION OF HYPOTHESES
5.5 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6: RESULTS PRESENTATION
6.3 DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS
6.4 STRUCTURAL EQUATION MODELLING (SEM)
6.5 COEFFICIENT ALPHA
6.6 DISTORTION IN BOTH SAMPLES
6.7 GROUP COMPARISONS
6.9 REGRESSION ANALYSIS
6.10 ADDITIONAL HYPOTHESES
6.11 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 7 RESULTS DISCUSSION
7.2 THE ROLE OF PERSONALITY IN TURNOVER
7.3 THE ROLE OF ORGANISATIONAL CLIMATE IN TURNOVER
7.4 DEMOGRAPHIC VARIABLES
7.5 GENERAL DISCUSSION
7.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 8 CONCLUSION, LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
8.3 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
8.4 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE RESEARCH
8.5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE ORGANISATION
8.6 CHAPTER SUMMARY
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