Big Five Factors Job Performance Management Essay

Nowadays, making good use of personality traits to select employees is very popular in organizations. A lot of research showed there is a strong linkage between personality and job performance. Personality is a useful tool to predict job performance and professional careers and it was proven by many scholars (Costa and McCrae, 1988; Carl Gustav Jung, 1923). The Big Five personality dimensions are authoritative about predicting job performance. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is broadly used to explain to individuals’ personality characteristics to professionals. Big Five personality dimensions will be used to examine how personality predicts overall employee performance first and then these models are used to explore how personality traits translate into individual’s professional careers.

Literature Review & Analysis (The Big Five factors: Job performance)

Barrick and Mount (1991) aggregated trait-performance relations for a variety of job families in terms of the Big Five. Goldberg (1992) hinted at the dimensions of the Big Five which consists of Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). These five personality dimensions should be defined with a view to have a more complete understanding of trait-performance relations.


Barrick et. al (2001) and Salgado (1997) specified that conscientiousness is the most significant predictor of job performance. Thus, the discussion about conscientiousness will be more detail. As Costa and McCrae (1988) mentioned conscientiousness is a desire to impose order and precision. People with high conscientiousness tend to be organized, careful, responsible, self-disciplined, hardworking and determined (Robbins, 2008). Some evidence indicates the significance of conscientiousness at work, correlating the construct to the attendance (Judge, 1997), in addition to its association with job performance. For example, great conscientious employees always work punctually and have well preparation for the job because they are responsible, self-disciplined and hardworking. Not only junior staff should work on time, but also senior staff, managers and the boss. Punctuality is one of the commitments for a company and for employees own. Most of conscientious employees have high expectations of themselves. Therefore, they set a lot of goals autonomously, even are more difficult and challenging goals. In order to achieve these goals, employees are more committed to put effort on preparation, which lead to high work motivation and great job performance (Locke & Latham, 1979). Moreover, Hollenbeck and Klein (1987) agreed better goal commitment will cause better performance when only tough objectives are established.

However, people with low conscientiousness tend to be disorganized, careless and irresponsible (Robbins, 2008), resulting in worse job performance. The careless and lazy workers make a mess of their work. It is very inefficient when the employees need to spend extra time on correction frequently. The more time they spend on corrections, the less time they spend on making meaningful contributions to the company. If they are engrossed in making a decision and check the work carefully before they hand in their work to others, it results in better job performance.

Openness to experience

Openness to experience is the rigidity of beliefs and range of interests with novelty. Open person is imaginative, open-minded, curious and innovative in his/her intellect, however, those who lacks of openness is narrow-minded and conventional (Digman, 1990; Howard and Howard, 1995; Rothman and Contzer, 2003). The open-minded employees provide new ideas and creative proposals to their superiors in order to do better. The companies can benefit from innovation. In our society, a majority of citizens pursue the new things constantly. If the company keeps producing old products, they will be eliminated. The company relies on those highly open people to launch some new product to survive in the marketing since they have a positive effect on new product performance. Moreover, the employees with great adaptability can cope with the different challenging such as downsizing and mergers (Judge, 1999). On the other hand, the open-minded employers can build a good relationship between employees because they are likely to encourage their staff to express opinions about anything that they want to share such as the feelings of the company and improvement for working environment. Actually, it is easy for employees to get outstanding achievement when there is a good relationship through the effective communication with employers. Thus, the cooperation between the employers and employees is also beneficial to the organization.

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Agreeableness is the ability to get along with others that directly affect employee’s job performance (Salgado, 1997). People with score high on this dimension are cooperative, trusting, considerate, honest and warm, whereas low agreeable people are antagonistic, selfish, rude and cold (Rothman and Contzer, 2003). Agreeableness takes on importance for overall team performance. In dispute, the agreeable workers create an intimate environment to strike a balance in opponents’ concerns and pour oil on troubled waters by their pliable attitude (Neuman and Wright, 1999). Some of the conflicts can brainstorm the workers’ creative ideas and boost the morale in an organization. A peaceful environment can also improve the relationships between the colleagues, so that they can be in harmony with others because of their good propensity, honesty and trustworthiness (Goldber, 1992; Sucier and Goldberg, 1998). As the workers are selfish and dishonest, there are a lot of complaints. Everyone will disregard for their anything. What is more, they cannot provide the confidence to their clients and then the company loses many businesses. Clearly, this negative personality trait harms to job performance.


Extraversion is the level of comfort with relationships. Extraverts are talkative, passionate, dominant, self-confident and gregarious (Robbins, 2008). They can attract some new clients, businesses and partnerships. It is easy for them to represent a move into a new market and create entirely new markets. Good interpersonal network benefits to a company, thus those people are likely marketable in some outgoing jobs. However, introverts tend to be timid, quiet and reserved (Robbins, 2008). They like working in the silent working environment. At that moment, they can also provide a better performance. For example, in short period of time, they can do thousands of paperwork. If the employers can divide all employees into these two types, their ability can be fully used and then the job performance will be maximized.


Neuroticism is about the emotional stability and stress management. People who have positive emotional stability are calm, relaxed, optimistic, contented and self-assured (Costa and McCrae, 1988). Emotionally stable workers can face any stressful situations. It is difficult for them to get angry although they have conflicts with others.

However, anxiety, irritability, depression, vulnerability and hostility are the symptoms of negative emotional stability (Costa and McCrae’s, 1992). It results in bad job performance and physical illnesses because of the bad mood. Absenteeism and turnover are serious when the workers are under pressure and cannot manage the stress. For example, they may have headaches, stomach upset and insomnia, so they cannot concentrate on their work (Angela Stinson, 2009) resulting in making a lot of mistakes. When they get sick, they may absent. In short, less people are working. The productivity may decrease.

Limitation of The Big Five model

On the above, we can clearly know how the personality traits predict employees’ job performance. Although these five personality dimensions are influential, there are some limitations about the relationship. For example, the personality may change because of nurture (Jennifer and Gareth, 2008). Instead of the Big Five factor, job performance is under the influence of other factors such as ability and incentive (intrinsic and extrinsic motivation) (Hersey, 2003; Luthans, 1998; Rezaeian, 2007). According the The ACHIEVE model by Hersey (2003), ability and incentives (motivation) are the characteristics of seven dimensions of job performance. Some of the researchers such as Rezaeian (2007) and Hersey (2003) showed that The Big Five factors and The ACHIEVE model strongly connected with job performances.

Literature Review & Analysis (Other factors: Job performance based on ACHIEVE model)


Job performance can influence by cognitive ability, emotional ability and physical ability (Schmidt & Hunter, 2004). The Schmidt (1986) strongly argued that cognitive ability is the most essential cause of the job performance especially with task performance. As the economic structure has changed and the technology has advanced, most organizations want to employ workers who have better cognitive ability while the importance of the physical ability is decreasing. Better cognitive ability leads to better performance (Sternberg & Sternberg, 2009). For example, people with high general mental ability can analyse information effectively, present deep and all-rounded proposal to others in details. But, according to Rezaeian’s research in 2007, he conducted potential ability or special characteristics can help improve job performance. For instance, the demand for workers who have good physical ability in manufacturing industry and transit is still very high. The strong workers have predominance in these jobs because they are capable of moving large products. To sum up the above and based on Rezaeian (2007), overall ability can successfully affect the job performance.

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Incentives (Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation)

Intrinsic motivation such as job satisfaction, confidence (Cameron, 2001) and belief and extrinsic motivation such as financial rewards can affect the job performance (Akintoye, 2000; Brown and Shepherd, 1997; Luthans, 1998). Employees work autonomous and hardly in order to pursue some rewards. Rezaeian (2007) showed incentives which are one of the motivations provide high intention for employees to their jobs successfully in The ACHIEVE model. Hence, their job performance will be higher because of the incentives. That is the reason why thousands of companies in the world adapt rewards system to improve employees’ job performance. Undoubtedly, those companies can be strong evidences to prove the close association between incentives and job performance. So I would not explain too much.

Literature Review & Analysis (MTBI: Professional careers)

How do personality traits translate into individual’s professional careers?

Not only the personality can affect the job performance, but also translate into individual’s professional occupations (Roberts & Robins, 2000). According to some research (Ackerman & Beier, 2003; Aldridge, 1997; Barrick & Mount, 1991; Cattell & Mead, 2008), there is a strong relationship between personality traits and professional occupations. I would deeply explain how personality traits translate into individual’s professional occupations through the Big Five model and the MTBI. According to the book titled Handbook of Career Theory (1989), professional occupations include accountants, designers, lawyers and other professionals that require specific skills and high qualification.

In general, higher conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience and agreeableness and lower neuroticism are more favorite in many kinds of the professional occupations. Some researchers (Barrick, 2001; Judge, 1997; Salgado, 1997) revealed that Conscientiousness have the strongest link to general job performance. In other words, Conscientiousness gains importance for all careers especially in professional careers because what we should do any tasks or jobs are carefulness and seriousness. People should keep learning new skills and knowledge in order to equip more benefits for themselves. As the world keeps changing, if workers do not have date-to-date skills and knowledge, especially for the professionals, they will be eliminated from competition. Actually, the competitions in professional careers are more than in general careers because the requirement for all professionals is more specific and high educated.

Extraversion gains importance for social-related professional careers such as social workers, Public Relations managers and child educators. They should a large social network. Their main jobs focus on having interactions with others, so that they should be talkative and sociable, otherwise they cannot communicate with others and make friends. Good relationship is benefit to all jobs. The better relationship organization has the success business gains.

Openness to experience gains importance for consulting and educating professional careers such as Public Relations officers and professors. Their main jobs are to accept and create the new ideas. Their always brainstorm their minds in other to pursue the new and perfect things in our life.

Agreeableness gains importance for public-related and social-related professional careers such as Professional in Human Resources. Agreeableness can gather people together and have more collaboration with others.

Neuroticism (Emotional stable) gains importance for all professional careers because they cannot concentrate on their work if the professionals cannot handle their pressure. Being a professional should require the ability of controlling their emotions. Although they are depressed because of personal reasons, they can put their worry aside. Barry R. Cournoyer (2003) has cited an example, as a professional social worker, they must manage their feelings and behavior. If not, their unprofessional services took its toll on the clients.

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Take accountant as an example, accountants are the 16 types of “ESTJ” (Extroverts, Sensing, Thinking, Judging) in the MTBI. ESTJ types are outgoing and sociable. They tend to be realistic, patient, practical and observant of the step-by-step processes. Also, they are decisive, organized, systematic and industrious in making choices (Rowan Bayne, 1997). Accountants need to manage and organize a lot of numbers and details such as keeping the accounting system of the business with changes in the tax laws and accounting rules (John A. Tracy, CPA, 2008). They help the bosses to make the decisions such as operating new and risky projects. If they take the short cut and not list out all budgets in details, the influence of the organizations is serious because it is easy for the boss spend money out of the budgets. Carefulness is one of the important characteristics in accounting.


The majority of designers such as program designers and computer programmers are the 16 types of “INTJ” (Introverts, Intuition, Thinking, Judging) in the MTBI. INTJ types are reserved. Sometimes, they like imagination, speculation for everything and impatience with routine. They think positive, critical and logical by consistent principles and analysis (Rowan Bayne, 1997). Design is an action without cognitive thinking (Nigel, 2011). As a designer, they like designing own things such as product design, graphic design, fashion design and furniture design. If they lack creativity, everything is boring and unvaried. Nigel (2011) indicated intuition plays a significant role in all designers. When they lack any ideas, they can create new ideas from brainstorming through the culture and humans, but not by thieving. The process of brainstorming may include criticizing the others’ designs which is beneficial to create new designs. These personality traits are the keys of being top designers.

Limitation of MTBI

McCrae and Costa (1989) pointed out the MBTI is related to the aspects of four Big Five dimensions of personality. Neuroticism, however, is missing (Rowan, 1997). As I proved, people should considerate this dimension because emotional stability is very vital to job performance. What obstacles should people face in any jobs is pressure. Neuroticism is an indispensable factor to affect our job performance and the choices of jobs.

Other factors: Professional careers

Learning attitude

“Never give up.” is a golden slogan for people to be successful in any jobs especially for professional careers. They need to be studious. High academic qualification is a must for professionals. They pursue new and professional knowledge for higher job performance and desirable salary. Higher academic qualification leads to higher pay. Many people want to be professional because of the high pay. Good learning attitude directly benefits to having high academic qualification. Thus, there is a positive association with learning attitude, academic qualification and professional careers.


“Practice makes perfect.” is very famous. People keep training new working skills with a view to prepare the coming challenging. Professionals should have more abilities to deal with the problems when they always practice. For example, as an accountant, they need do more calculations, so they make fewer mistakes in accounting. Training is necessary for people to throw themselves into professional careers.


To conclude, to a large extent, personality can predict employees’ job performance. But there are some other factors affecting the job performance such as motivation and ability. Understanding of our personality is advantageous for us to improve our job performance, so that we can enjoy our job. In order to make our life successful, we should think twice before choosing a job. Only if we choose the right jobs for ourselves, our life is full of happiness and success. As employers, they can make good use of the personality traits to select the employees in order to maximum profit. Moreover, no doubt, personality traits not only help people choose the right jobs, but also be more professional. There is a positive and close link between personality traits and professional careers.

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