The study of personality represents one of the largest areas of research within the discipline of Psychology. It is studied in to order to ascertain why people behave the way they do, and by doing so it is hoped that researchers can gain a greater understanding of how and why people behave the way they do.
Personality can be defined as ‘more or less stable factors that make one person’s behaviour consistent from one time to another and different from the behaviour other people would exhibit in a comparable situation’. Similar definitions describe personality as ‘the relative consistencies of style that people show in the way they think, act and feel, as they respond to their environments’.
Although these two definitions were offered almost 40 years apart they highlight the same general thinking that personality is an enduring style of thinking, feeling and behaving that reflects how each person adjusts to their environment. Most importantly research into personality has proposed that the characteristics people display allow us to predict how they will act in other environments and at other times.
A long tradition of research in psychology and organisational behaviour has attempted to link personality characteristics to job success. Models of personality are used in many organisational domains, including; selection and assessment, performance management, organisational commitment, team working, vocational guidance, alleviating workplace stress and management development to name but a few.