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Organisation behaviour is an integral part of business management as it helps managers to understand the behaviour of employees and its consequences for the organisations. Personality is a very important aspect of organisational behaviour. Personality is a term that is used to denote the individual differences that are affected by social relationships, values, personal memories, attitudes, skills and habits (Yao & Fan, 2015). There is another important term that is job performance that denotes the performance of an individual at the job. Personality affects the job performance to a very great extent and thus there is a very strong relationship between personality and job performance. The present essay also focuses on understanding the relationship between personality and job performance. With a sound understanding of relationship between personality and job performance it becomes very easy for managers and leaders to improve overall organisational performance. In this manner this essay will analyse how OB practitioners and leaders use this knowledge in the organisation. This will be done by conducting academic research by going through relevant articles and journals.
Personality is a derived from a Greek word that is “Persona” and that means ‘to speak through’. Personality is essentially a combination of qualities or characteristics that forms the unique identity of an individual. It also signifies a role that a person plays among public or in organisation or in other settings. Each and every individual has a distinct major determinant that tends to define her/his personality (Waddell, 2013). There are majorly two features that influence the personality traits of an individual. These traits are learned characteristics and inherited characteristics.
An organisation or any other individual do not have capability to change the inherited characteristics of an individual. Inherited characteristics are the features that individuals acquire from their forefathers and parents. These are the gifted features individuals acquire from the time of birth. These characteristics involve features like shape f earlobes, looks, religion, race, shape of nose and colour of eyes. In this manner these characteristics are not controlled by anyone (Ulrich, 2013). Due to this an organisation has nothing to do with these characteristics.
There are some learned characteristics as well in an individual. As a matter of fact no one learns everything by birth and there are some institutions that help individuals in learning. People learn from schools, society, home and other educational institute. These are the characteristics that an individual acquires from practicing, observing and learning from others. These are the characteristics that can be controlled by organisations as well. The learned characteristics involve perceptions, values, attitude and personality (Waal, 2014). Here the values, perceptions and attitudes of every individual are different and due to that their mode of working or doing things is also different. Personality of an individual is also made of various traits and these traits have major role to play in governing the personality of an individual. There are five traits that are extrovert, neurotic, open, agreeable and conscientious.
There are a number of attributes in a personality and these attributes are locus of control, Machiavellianism, self-esteem, self-monitoring and risk taking. Every individual has different attributes and on the basis of these attributes he/she does the job. But at the same time these attributes can be changed by using different techniques and mechanisms. Likewise the learned characteristics of an individual can also be changed (Guo & Al Ariss, 2015).
The above discussion makes it very clear that every individual carries a different personality so this is very obvious that job performance will also be different. Personality tends to affect the various aspects of performance of a person even the reaction to the job situations is also governed by personality. Not every personality is well suited for every kind of job position. This is where personality plays a major role in determining whether the person is suitable for the job or not. On the basis of personality traits an individual shall be given a suitable job. If an individual is not provided a job as per his/her personality then there are high chances that productivity will decrease and job satisfaction may not be arrived at (Mullins, 2007). There have been a number of cases in which productivity of organisations have decreased tremendously because the individuals in the organisations were not given jobs as per their personality traits. For an instance a person who has introvert kind of personality shall not be given marketing job otherwise it is for sure that his/her job performance will not be optimum. This is because of the fact that marketing profile requires an individual who has extrovert personality because it requires interaction with customers on a regular basis. It also requires taking initiatives that are not taken by people with introvert characteristics. There was a research that suggested that as many as 32% organisation do not understand the fact that personality affects the job performance to a very great extent and they end up giving a wrong job to individuals in the organisation (Martin & John, ,2010). The research also suggests that this is due to the lack of understanding about organisational behaviour and its concepts.
Personality of an individual has negative as well as positive impact on the job performance. For an instance if an individual is very extrovert and has an attribute of Machiavellianism then it for sure that he/she will end up performing very well if given a marketing job. But at the same time if the same person will be given finance job then there are high chances that it will deteriorate the job performance. This implies that it totally depends upon the personality whether the job performance will be good or bad. There are various factors that shall be discussed in this context and these factors are introverted or outgoing, work ethics, attention to detail, motivation, etc. (Fellenz, 2010). These factors in a personality affect the job performance. There are some jobs that require strong work ethics and not every person has string work ethics. There are some employees who depict integral work ethic while there are some who just work for paycheques. People who have weak work ethics require more management while people with strong work ethic are able to work well with minimum oversight. There are some people who think that every detail is very important and they are usually who believe in perfection in work while there are some people who are less detail oriented. So it is important to assign jobs as per the nature of they depict. This is because of the fact that some jobs require perfection while some jobs do not require. Doing job with perfection require more time and concentration and thus jobs in which there is no need to depict perfection, looking for details is waste of time the. This is why it affects job performance. Motivation is also an important aspect of personality that affects the job performance (Glisson, 2015). Some people in the organisation are self motivated and thus organisation do not require to undertake much efforts to motivate them while there are some employees who are not internally motivated and due to that their job performance get affected. In this manner personality is major determinant of the job performance of an individual.
It is not that only personality affects the job performance but job performance also has potential to affect the personality of an individual. This implies that there a strong interrelated relationship between personality and job performance. Job performance and personality have been a matter of continuous results since long time. Job performance concerns with the skills, knowledge and attitudes required to enable a person to perform those activities that are listed in the job description provided to them by the organisation. It is argued by many scholars that personality of an individual also tend to predict the job performance of the individual. The personality traits of an individual have potential to affect the job performance (Collins & Cooke, 2013). The learned characteristics involve perceptions, values, attitude and personality. Here the values, perceptions and attitudes of every individual are different and due to that their mode of working or doing things is also different. If an individual puts more value on ethics and understand that doing things ethically is something that is his priority then managers will not have to very much concern about the job performance of that employee. But there are many employees whose values are not strong and due to that managers are always worried about their performances. These are the employees that focus on making money by any means and this is fatal for job performance. Similarly, there is also a difference in perceptions of individuals and perceptions also affect job performance. Perception is process through which employees interpret and organise the sensory information to give them a meaning. Now, every individual have different perceptions for same situations. For an instance in organisational setting some employees perceive failure as an opportunity to learn and do better next time while other employees perceive it as a demoralising phenomenon (Cherrington, 2009). This further affects their job performances.
Different people have different attitudes and this is something that governs the personality of an individual. There are many employees in an organisation who perform the same job but the outcomes that they provide are different. The major factor involved here is attitude of an individual. An individual can take things negatively as well as positively. People who have positive attitude towards their job end up performing well at the end. This suggests that attitude also plays an important role in job performance. The managers need to decide which person is most suitable for the job so that the job performance is good. The most significant aspect as per many scholars and OB practitioners is learning. Learning is a very significant part of the personality of an individual and at the same time job performance is also affected by this (Bushe & Marshak, 2009). Learning is the characteristics that an individual acquires from practicing, observing and learning from others. These are the characteristics that can be controlled by organisations as well. The learned characteristics involve perceptions, values, attitude and personality. This further suggests that an organisation or an individual can change these elements in their personality as per their need. There are various theories of learning that supports the same. These theories are provided by different scholars. The most significant theory of learning is provided by Ivan Pavlov which is Classical Conditioning theory. This theory suggests that any stimuli can learn from persisting efforts. Along with that other theories of learning are operant conditions theory of learning, social learning theory, Psychological learning theory, GOMS model, etc. (Coetzee, Schreuder, & Tladinyane, 2014). All these frameworks are based on the assumption that learning can take place and it involves a proper balance of cognitive, environmental and emotional aspects. This suggests that on the basis of ob requirement learning can be provided to the employees. This also helps in enhancing job performance.
Sometimes, job performance also leaves a great impact over the personality of an individual. A research study conducted in the year 2015 suggests that there are many cases in which the personality of people changes according to their jobs (Bartunek & Woodman, 2015). This is not only true in case of learned characteristics but also true in case of inherent characteristics. For an instance the research study suggested that employees who are doing continuous sitting jobs since so many years are physically affected and due to that their posture has been changed and this affected their personality to a very great extent. In some cases there are instances where people get influenced by their jobs and this further affects their mental ability. The study was conducted over 200 employees in 12 organisations and the results suggests that almost 78% of employees’ personality got affected by their job performance either in terms of inherent characteristics or learned characteristics. In this way not only personality affects the job performance but job performance also has potential to affect the personality of an individual like explained with the research above.
It is expected that OB practitioners and leaders possess sound knowledge of the aspects of OB so that they can apply it to manage the performance of the employees. For an effective job performance the knowledge of personality is very vital. The above discussion focussed majorly on learned aspects of personality (Budworth, Latham, & Manroop, 2015). This is due to the fact that OB practitioners and leaders cannot change inherent characteristics of an individual and at the same time these factors do not have much impact over job performance. Thus the knowledge of learned characteristics is very vital and can be applied very creatively in the organisation.
The OB practitioners and leaders can use a number of theories and frameworks to make changes in the personality of individuals so as to improve job performance in the organisations. The theories that OB practitioners and leaders can apply in their perspectives are Big Five Personality model, Myers-Briggs Type Indicators, operant conditions theory of learning, social learning theory, Psychological learning theory, GOMS model, classical conditioning, Theory X and Theory Y, Type A and Type B personality, etc. These are related to personality and helps in modifying the personality in accordance to the requirement of the job. Many OB practitioners and leaders have successfully modified the personalities the employees as per the requirement of the job and this has only become possible because of the theories and concepts of OB (Attridge, 2009). An effective understanding of concepts of OB is very helpful in managing personality and job performance.
The OB practitioners and leaders can use classical conditioning theory to change the behaviour of the employees as it is a very strong tool for bringing behavioural changes in the personality. Along with that a number of personality tests are available in the literature that helps the OB practitioners and leaders in knowing the personalities of employees and assigning them jobs on the basis of the results of the test (Burnes & Cooke, 2012). In this manner the knowledge of personality and job performance helps OB practitioners and leaders in making vital decisions in the organisation.
Personality of employees can have positive as well as negative impacts on the job performance in an organisation and this is why it is very important for OB practitioners and leaders to understand the OB concepts very carefully. With the help of sound understanding of OB, the OB practitioners and leaders can effectively control and manage the personality of the employees. Thus, OB has made it very easy for the organisations to understand the personality of employees and assign them jobs on the basis of that. This has resulted into increased productivity in the organisations.
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