Following a major study on the effects of personality on job performance, researchers focused on one personality trait – agreeableness – and found it had a desirable effect on hundreds of measures physical, psychological and professional that have an impact not only on performance at work, but also on general success in life. .
Michael Wilmot, assistant professor of management at the U of A, and Deniz Ones, professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota, examined a wide range of variables, from psychological and physical health to interpersonal relationships, and from effectiveness of performance leadership in university studies. and organizational settings.
To better understand the impact of agreeableness, the researchers summarized the results of 142 meta-analyses reporting effects for 275 variables. In total, the results included more than 1.9 million participants from around 3,900 studies. Meta-analysis is a process used to systematically merge several independent results using statistical methods to calculate an overall effect.
Wilmot and Ones found that agreeableness had a desirable effect on 93% of variables and outcomes.
“We wanted to do a quantitative summary and synthesis of what we’ve learned about the relationships between agreeableness, one of the so-called Big Five personality traits, and its consequences,” Wilmot said. “We know this is important – perhaps now more than ever – because agreeableness is the personality trait primarily concerned with helping people and building positive relationships, which is not lost on the leaders of the organization.”
In their previous study, Wilmot and Ones combined several meta-analyses of the big five personality traits – conscientiousness, extroversion, openness and neuroticism, in addition to agreeableness – and examined their effect on performance. at work. They found that the relationships between personality traits and performance varied significantly across nine major occupational groups.
To clarify and emphasize the importance of agreement, the researchers organized the 275 variables into broader conceptual categories. These included physical and psychological health, performance, motivation and success.
Wilmot and Ones also synthesized eight themes that captured the characteristic functioning of agreeableness across all variables and categories. The themes illustrated the essence of how agreeableness is useful to both individuals and organizations. The themes were:
Self-Transcendence – Having aspirations for self-directed growth and a drive to show care and concern for others.
Satisfaction – Accepting life as it is and ability to adapt successfully to new contexts and institutions.
Relationship Investment – Motivation to cultivate and maintain positive relationships with others.
Teamwork – Empathetic ability to coordinate goals with others and the ability to cooperate effectively, regardless of role, to achieve collective goals.
Work Investment – Willingness to put effort into tasks, do quality work and be responsive to the work environment.
Less Focus on Results – A generally lower focus on goal setting and producing individual results and a tendency to evaluate the performance of others with greater leniency.
Social Norms Orientation – Greater sensitivity and respect for behavioral compliance with social norms and rules and avoidance of rule breaking and wrongdoing.
Social Integration – Ability to successfully integrate into social roles and institutions and a reduced likelihood of delinquency, anti-social behavior and turnover.
“Overall, the interplay between the themes became clear,” Wilmot said. “Agreeableness was marked by investment in work, but this energy was better directed towards helping or cooperating with others. In other words, teamwork.