Personality deals with the behavioral aspects of a person and for an organization, the attitude of employees is a key aspect in determining how the said employee will work in the current working environment of the company. Perception on the other hand is how a person perceives the reality. So, organization in itself like an organism with various quirks, hence how an employee actually feels about his or her work is really vital for supervisors to make them do anything, while simultaneously motivating them. Both Personality and perception come together to form an individual’s attitude. Attitude in turn opens a whole new world for the top management and supervisors to enhance the performance of the organization. In the next few paragraphs, we will be discussing personality and perception extensively, along with how they have a nexus to the organizational behavior.
The word “Personality” comes from the Greek word “Persona” which means “to speak through”. Personality comprises of characteristics and qualities that makes up for the individual’s unique identity. According to the personality theorist Salvatore Maddi personality is defined as “Personality is a stable set of characteristics and tendencies that determine those commonalities and differences in the psychological behavior (thoughts, feelings and actions) of people that have continuity in time and that may not be easily understood as the sole result of the social and biological pressures of the moment.” (Maddi, n.d.) This particular definition of personality revolves around 3 major aspects:
Firstly, it doesn’t limit the impact of personality on certain behaviors, situations or people. Instead, it is an attempt to all behaviors all the time.
Secondly, the words “commonalities and differences” advises about a vital aspect of humans, that every human is like:
- All Other People.
- Some Other People.
- No Other Person.
Lastly, Salvatore’s definition of personality has elements of stability and continuity, meaning that the personality develops over a certain extent throughout the life, with any major changes taking place in the childhood.
Determinants of Personality
Biological: It is further divided into 3 aspects:
- (a) Heredity: It is concerned with the aspects that are mainly transmitted through the genes contributed by parents, it mainly constitutes physical and psychological attributes. It is usually used to determine a parson’s temperament than values and ideals.
- (b) Brain: Although there’s no empirical evidence that brain has any impact on the personality, still initial testing through Electrical Stimulation of Brain (ESB) indicates otherwise, suggesting the understanding of personality might come via study of brain.
- (c) Physical Features: A person’s physical appearance has a major impact on one’s personality, it determines how a person is approached in a society and other’s reaction to him. Hence, such things influence a person’s personality.
Cultural: It is one of the major determinants of a person’s personality. Culture establishes what a person is and what a person will learn. To some extent, personality is the by product of the cultural surroundings of an individual.
Familial: Impact of Familial determinant is further divided into 2 processes, socialization and identification process. Wherein Socialization covers the contributions of the family and society, on the other hand identification process initiates when an individual starts to relate himself/herself to another family member. For Instance, a child will mostly try to copy his/her parent’s behavior
Situation: Personality also depends on the environment an individual faces in the day to day life, there’s enough empirical evidence that suggests that, how an individual reacts to any particular situation is critical to a person’s personality.
As Per Author Sharon Penn – Grazadio Business Review: Personality Traits and Workplace Culture. (Penn, 2017)
Impact of Personality on Organizational Behavior:
In an organization, there is an accumulation of personalities, which results in the mix of personalities through somewhat identical “patterns of behaviors”. Every person in the organization need to comply with the structure and framework, while reacting accordingly. Therefore, a good match between an individual personality and organization is a must. (Disha, n.d.) It can also be seen in all major corporations from Coca Cola to Apple, even some Mafia fractions have one thing in common – people with different personalities coming together to work for the organization’s objective. [ Essays, UK. (November 2018). Organizational behaviour examples. Retrieved from https://www.ukessays.com/essays/business/examples-of-specific-organizational-behaviour-topics-like-personality-business-essay.php?vref=1]
According to Mullins 2010, “Perception is the dynamic complex way in which individuals select information (stimuli) from environment, interpret and translate it so that a meaning is assigned which will result in a pattern of behavior or thought”. (Mullins, 2010)
From an organizational point of view, perception helps an individual to form an understanding about others as it’s a major aspect in an organization to motivate people. This helps the organization to allocate employees to the best possible position through how a person perceive others and how a person is perceived by others.
Process of Perception
Impact of Perception on Organizational Behavior: It is crucial in establishing the role of perception, such as:
- Grasping tasks to be performed.
- Interpreting the vitalness of the tasks allotted.
- Understanding preferred behavior to complete respective tasks.
- Comprehending role perception. (Gleeson, 2019)
For instance, in any smooth functioning association every person has a concise role allotted to them.Fundamental Attribution Error: It is referred to as the propensity by which one is able to understand, why they did something, based on their personality, at the same time overlooking any other factors.
This theory proposes that external factors such as social aspect and contextual impacts can’t be overseen while an assessment is made on why something is being done by someone. (Ross, 1977) Gestalt Principle: Gestalt is a German word for ‘Unified Whole’. Gestalt is a school of psychology was developed to hypothesis theories explaining how people just through visual inputs, divide each other in different segments. Some of the segments are as follows:
- Figure and Ground.
Nature of Perception:
- Perception is an intellectual procedure.
- Perception is the basic cognitive or psychological procedure.
- Perception comes out as a subjective process and different people comprehend distinct event differently. (PERCEPTION, n.d.)
Nexus Between Perception and Organizational Behavior:
- (a) It is a way of collecting, choosing, organizing, clarifying, vouching and behaving to receptive stimuli and data.
- (b) This process helps to give meaning to the environment perceived through the data or receptive stimuli.
- (c) It also includes the methods by which a perceiver receives the data from the surroundings – “seeing, hearing, feeling, testing and smelling”.
Factors Influencing Perception:
Factors in the Perceiver:
Factors in the Situation:
- Work Setting
- Social Setting
Factors in the Target:
How Perception works in an Organization: In an academic study conducted on perception, Marjorie Scardino, 1st CEO in U.K., took charge of Pearson PLC in 1977. Although she was not even from British origin, rather she was a rodeo loving (a former contestant) and a true Texan. The gender, nationality and a low interest hobby – rodeo conflict with the perceived idea of a CEO in a big U.K. based company. So, in order to tackle this issue Scardino sent out a notification to all the 17,000 employees of the company making it clear that she rose to the position with all fairness, also putting out her goals of doubling the company’s market capitalization and that “there will be more changes to come.”
This was done as even Scardino realized, that she doesn’t really fit with the perception of a CEO. In this example, Pearson PLC aim was to get women in a male dominant segment as it is generalized that women don’t make good CEOs and the way Scardino handled the situation was calm and accurate.
Co-relation of Personality and Perception
An individual’s personality has a major role on how that individual perceives others and the his/her surrounding environment, which in further forms our attitude towards any object, action, issues, ideas, events, people and places. A mix of an individual’s personality and how one perceives everything, forms one’s predispositions towards the same.
With the connection to organizational behavior, personality and perception play a major role in showing the management how satisfied an employee is with his position, team, department and work environment. In any organization, the behavior of any member depends on three elements namely: personality, perception and attitude.
By identifying these three elements, the top management of a corporation can influence the employees to get more productivity and efficiency by generating more job satisfaction.
As for the Pearson PLC in 1977, when the appointed Marjorie Scardino as the CEO, they were faced with the issue of perception as she was a rodeo loving Texan, handling a U.K. based company. This issue of perception was tackled by the strong willed personality and the merit of Scardino, as she sent a notice to all 17,000 members of the company, making her intentions clear about the future of the company and changing the perception of the members towards her status and position in the company.
From the above example we can sense that personality and perception can be influenced with the proper intentions and a positive behavior to get optimum job satisfaction levels for the employees of the organization.
Tasks For Managers and Top Management: The Top management and the managers need to identify the personalities of the subordinates and also how each and every subordinate perceive everything around them, in order to set up control measures, so as to maintain a calm and smooth working environment in the company. By doing so, they open up the door to even more opportunities for the benefit of the company. In a centralized company, the Supervisors can arrange the teams as per the similarities in the personality and select a person who is perceived positively as the team leader to get the best results. Similarly, in a decentralized company, the top management can develop a selection and allocation procedure for the hiring department to get employees that have an all rounder personality and a good perception of the market and customers to boost their sales and market share at the same time.
From the above discussion, it is quite evident that how top management and mangers or supervisors manipulate the performance of subordinates or employees in an organization to get better results.
In conclusion personality tells us about how a person is and what makes them, on the other hand perception deals with how an individual looks at the world and its different aspects. In respect to organizational behavior, personality and perception is used extensively to manipulate the employees or subordinates by the top management or supervisors to achieve the organizational objective by making such a framework that makes the said subordinates get into a work environment that suits them or gives them a sense of job satisfaction. Personality and Perception both come together to form a person’s attitude towards all the surrounding elements of the said individual, which in turn tells us, whether the individual is satisfied at his or her position or with his or her work giving the supervisor an idea on how to deal with organizational behavioral issues.