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Organizational Behavior: Criticism On The Big Five Model Of Personality

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The purpose of this study is to build upon the criticisms on the Big Five Model of Personality Assessment and to make a point that 5 dimensions do not provide a complete interpretation of a personality hence the. HEXACO model is suggested as alternative. Past research has shown that general and intrinsic religiosity and morality and values are related to higher Big Five Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and, to some extent, Extraversion. With the rise of the six-factor HEXACO (Honesty–Humility, Emotionality, extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) model of personality, however, a more differentiated look at values, morality and personality is called for. It has been suggested that every dimension of the Big-Five Model is associated with Honesty–Humility and thus HEXACO model is suggested as an alternative. In a study involving 15 participants, the relations of Honesty–Humility and other HEXACO dimensions to morality, values, honesty and well-being outcomes were investigated.


Taxonomy is a general description to scientifically classify and describe. In relation to evaluation of personality, however, a generalizable taxonomy of personality is one that can adequately classify and describe a broad set of individuals in terms of a well-defined set of criteria. In BFI, a unifying taxonomy of personality traits made it possible to evaluate personality in organized framework and a well predictor of important outcomes such as academic performance and work behavior.

However, with the popularity of BFI there were a few misunderstandings that revolved around it, with the first being that BFI is comparable or synonymous to describing personality. Because it is unwise to assume that five broad dimensions that measure traits (Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeability, Neuroticism and conscientiousness) would reduce or count as ‘not measures to personality.’ Including but not limited to other trait constructs such as need for cognition for affection, self-esteem etc. It also does not measure the Dark Triad personality including: Machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy).

Secondly, as excellent as it is in evaluating and predicting in major personality dimensions, it is not explaining the motivation or reason behind a personality trait, nor to explain why people differ. Alternatively, a well-known six factor taxonomies is known as the ‘HEXACO’ model, which includes an addition honesty humility factor to better gauge the motivation and reason behind a predictive personality trait or in predicting unethical, manipulative or deceptive behavior. This may be helpful for organizations who seek to predict or evaluate job applicants who are likely to engage in abusive behavior such as bullying, theft and lying.

In conclusion, although the Big Five is a reliable measure for evaluating personality, it only is limited to a few personality facets while not capturing the entire set of personality traits or in predicting morally relevant behavior.

The biggest difference between the big five and HEXACO model is the addition of the 6th factor of humility and honesty represented by facets of sincerity, fairness and freed avoidance and modesty. However, this is not merely an addition but a repositioning of the variance of the Big Five neuroticism and agreeableness into HEXACO agreeableness, emotionality and honesty humility.


Although early lexical studies support Big Five Model, more recent, cross-language studies have suggested that the Big Five Model should be replaced by HEXACO which is composed of six dimensions instead of five which are Honesty-Humility (H), Emotionality (E), Extraversion (X), Agreeableness (A), Conscientiousness (C), and Openness to Experience (O). The biggest difference between the Big Five and HEXACO model is the addition of the sixth factor, honesty-humility, which is represented by the facets of greed avoidance, sincerity, fairness and modesty. People with high Honesty/Humility are considered to be fair, unassuming and sincere. Conversely, people who have low scores are considered to be materialistic; they feel strong sense of self-importance and tend to break the rules in order to get what they want.

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According to the studies, Honesty-Humility dimension of Hexaco better predicts range of important outcomes when compared to Big Five Model. This is particularly true for manipulative, unethical and antisocial behaviors. When honesty-humility is reversed, we see that it is aligned with the traits of Dark Triad. This means that low scores on Honesty-Humility corresponds to higher levels of narcissism, psychopathy and/or Machiavellianism.

Other than Honesty-Humility dimension, the other difference between HEXACO and BFI model is related to Agreeableness and Emotionality factors. The contrasting point here is that the agreeableness factor on the Big Five Model is characterized by the qualities of cooperation and empathy. On the other hand, the same dimension in Hexaco is characterized by their ability to control anger and compromise for others. Hexaco further compliments the agreeableness dimension with the emotionality dimension that is characterized by the likelihood to tendency and vulnerability.

Although both can be seen as complementary, it is also important to realize that Agreeableness is more about reciprocal altruism – which is characterized by the willingness of an organism to compromise its own well-being to increase another organism’s believing that the other organism will do the very same. On the other hand, emotionality is more about kin altruism – the tendency of an organism that helps it’s promote the well-being of its relative individuals even if it means compromising on its own.


A sample of 15 people was taken to examine the personality on the basis of HEXACO model of Personality. The purpose was to study if there’s a link between extraversion and other dimensions of the big five model with the honesty-humility factor. Questions like

It can be observed through the trend of the data that Extraversion alone cannot explain the intrinsic intentions of a person. Person 15 has a very high Honesty-Humility score and a comparatively low Extraversion Score. An organization might want to hire a person who’s more sincere rather than someone who is a risk to the organization. Persons 5 and 8 have approximately the same extraversion score but their Honesty Humility Score vary. Thus the addition of this factor provides an extra dimension and adds more meaning to the analysis of the personality of a person.

Comparing Honesty-Humility with Extraversion also gives an explanation as to how this dimension is also linked with the new factor and how the new factor adds meaning to the assessment. Person 11 has the highest Agreeableness score but a comparatively low Honesty-Humility Score. If person 11 and 12 were to be compared who have almost the same agreeableness score, their honesty-humility score suggests that person 12 is more sincere and fair.


Past research has shown that general and intrinsic intentions and personality of a person is related to higher Big Five Agreeableness, Conscientiousness and, to some extent, Extraversion. With the rise of the six-factor HEXACO (Honesty–Humility, Emotionality, extraversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) model of personality, however, a more differentiated look at every dimension of the assessment and personality is called for. It has been suggested that morality and values are more associated with Honesty–Humility. As expected, Honesty–Humility was one of the strongest personality correlate of every dimension mainly Agreeableness and Extraversion, adding more meaning to the assessment of personality traits and comparative analysis. Higher scores on Honesty were also associated with Agreeableness and Extraversion. Relations of Honesty–Humility to psychological well-being scales were consistently positive and stronger than its relations to subjective well-being measures, suggesting that Honesty–Humility may not be “bad” for pleasure attainment and pain avoidance, but it is definitely “good” for living a virtuous, fully functioning life. This report had the modest aim of replicating and extending prior studies investigating the relations of HEXACO (Honesty-Humility Factor) to extraversion, agreeableness and well-being outcomes. Nevertheless, further research is necessary, in particular, research that can identify causal relationships. A limitation of this research was the use of self-reports; it would be useful in future research to use multiple methods of measurement, examine non-student samples, and study unexamined populations. Such research will further show the personality profile of the honest, religious, outgoing yet happy people.


  1. Anglim, J. and O’Connor, P. (2019), Measurement and research using the Big Five, HEXACO, and narrow traits: A primer for researchers and practitioners. Aust J Psychol, 71: 16-25. doi:10.1111/ajpy.12202
  2. Smith, M. B., Hill, A. D., Wallace, J. C., Recendes, T., & Judge, T. A. (2018). Upsides to dark and downsides to bright personality: A multi domain review and future research agenda. Journal of Management, 44, 191–217.
  3. Jonason, P. K., & O’ Connor, P. J. (2017). Cutting corners at work: An individual differences perspective. Personality and Individual Differences, 107, 146–153.
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Organizational Behavior: Criticism On The Big Five Model Of Personality. (2021, October 04). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from
“Organizational Behavior: Criticism On The Big Five Model Of Personality.” Edubirdie, 04 Oct. 2021,
Organizational Behavior: Criticism On The Big Five Model Of Personality. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Feb. 2024].
Organizational Behavior: Criticism On The Big Five Model Of Personality [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Oct 04 [cited 2024 Feb 26]. Available from:
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