Present Critique of Personality Research

Published: 2021-06-25
1208 words
5 pages
11 min to read
Boston College
Type of paper: 
Research paper
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The two most advanced criticisms of personality assessment in organizational settings by Judge et al. (2008) are, first, that the validities are sufficiently weak as to query the efficiency of personality measures in predicting organizational criteria, mainly, job performance. Second, that faking undermines the usefulness of personality measures since items on self-report personality measures are socially desirable.

Meager Validities

Judge et al. (2008) criticize personality research by suggesting that many statistically significant relationships between personality and employee performance are too little to be of much practical significance, particularly in the area of personnel selection. They argue that, first, there lacks a theoretical reason to suggest that, all personality characteristics should predict all performance criteria across all professions, that when meta-analyses are restricted to comprise only hypothesized relationships between attributes, and performance criteria, personality validities increase significantly.

Personality Inventories can be Faked.'

Judge et al. (2008) critics the personality research by claiming that, if applicants for jobs in companies are hired based on their scores on personality tests, an incentive for candidates to fake scores arises. Moreover, a prior meta-analysis of personality studies requiring participants to respond honestly and to fake-good support the notion that, if prompted, individuals can alter their honest responses in favorable manners. However, though faking can occur, whether most applicants do fake and if faking affects the validity of personality testing is still unclear.

Suggested Future Research

Judge et al. (2008) highlight four areas involving personality and organizational behavior that need future research. These areas include broad and narrow traits, the dark side of functional traits, personality change and variability, and personality processes. First, regarding wide and narrow characters, Judge et al. (2008) suggest that future researchers need to agree on which specific traits should be studied. Notably, this direction might help in diminishing the meager validities and faking cases of personality inventories. Furthermore, it can introduce lower-order traits such as extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness to experience that can be hard to fake.

Regarding the dark side of functional features, Judge et al. (2008) argue that every one of the Big Five traits appears to have some maladaptive properties for certain unique criteria. Therefore, the authors suggest that future research should not be so enamored with the general desirability of certain attributes that it is blinded to the cases in which it is maladaptive. Similarly, the future research should not ignore the possible benefits of some dark side traits. Therefore, more research is paramount to identify the degree of which characteristics are functional and under what conditions. Notably, the research will play a significant role in attenuating critics above. For instance, the trait activation theory and cognitive-affective personality system theory are two examples of personality theories that are already in the process of guiding fruitful exploration in this area.

Third, regarding personality change and variability, Judge et al. (2008) suggest that there is a need for future research to establish the reasons behind the changes in scores on personality inventories over time. Such factors may include, strong cultures in organizations, type of work, and labor force experiences. Finally, personality research in organizational behavior continues to be virtually synonymous with trait research. Notably, the overwhelming focus on character psychology to the virtual exclusion of personality processes is because organizations are a dynamic setting in which personality processes play out. However, Judge et al. (2008) argue that personality psychology is broader than trait psychology. Therefore, they suggest that organizational behavior research can do a better job of drawing from, and contributing to, personality processes.

Emotional Intelligence

The research question that arises here is, does emotional intelligence reduce toxic leadership in the workplace? Notably, it is important to study emotional intelligence because it can significantly affect the work life and career of individuals. Particularly, emotional leadership is significant in reducing toxic leadership in organizations (Ashkanasy & Dorris (2017). Furthermore, there is a strong relationship between good leadership and job satisfaction among employees. Mainly, emotional intelligence help reduces characteristics of toxic leadership, for example, non-contingent punishment and abusive supervision, which lead to an increase in worker job satisfaction.

According to Sun, Gergen, Avila, and Green (2016), accountants emotional intelligence correlates to job satisfaction. Notably, the authors link leadership and job satisfaction to the Maslows hierarchy of needs. Mainly, aspects of leadership, for example, contingent punishment, initiation of structure, and non-contingent reward attend to workers need for feelings of job security in the workplace. These features are likely related to an employees feelings of keeping ones job by staying out of trouble.' On the other hand, aspects of good leadership, for instance, worker consideration and feelings that the leader creates a real workplace climate avail the workers with a sense that they belong to the organization (Sun et al., 2016). Additionally, an active meta-analytic correlation exists where a leaders transformational behavior and leader charisma connotes that the leader helps workers transform to better employees and people in general.

Bennett and Sawatzky (2013) support this notion by arguing that emotional intelligence plays a significant role in helping nurse leaders eliminate workplace bullying. Notably, bullying is the most concerning type of aggression in health care organizations, often triggered by todays workplace challenges. It contributes to unhealthy and toxic work environments, which then lead to ineffective patient care, increased stress, and low job satisfaction among healthcare providers. Mainly, only leaders equipped with emotional intelligence can recognize early signs of negative behavior such as bullying. Consequently, once organizations include emotional intelligence that turns toxic leadership into good leadership, it creates a safe working environment that fosters job satisfaction.

Replying to the research question whether emotional intelligence reduces toxic leadership in organizations will complement this existing literature significantly. Furthermore, this empirical research is going to identify ways in which emotional intelligence reduces toxic leadership in various professionals. Moreover, the study will gather information from different professionals. Additionally, the research will perform a meta-analysis of existing literature to identify gaps and areas that need further research and then strive to gather information on them. Notably, filling the existing gaps in the impact o emotional intelligence on toxic leadership will complement the existing literature.

The research will benefit organizational leaders by instilling them with emotional intelligence that will help them cultivate favorable leadership behaviors. Second, the research will help employees. Furthermore, when leaders develop good leadership traits, it will create a pleasant working environment that will foster job satisfaction among workers. Similarly, transformational leadership traits will lead to both personal and career development in the organizations staff. Finally, the organizations will benefit from the research too. Notably, when the employees are satisfied, they will work towards the attainment of their personal goals and the corporate goals. Consequently, the organization will perform highly and even gain a competitive edge in the industry.


Ashkanasy, N., & Dorris, A. (2017). Emotions in the Workplace. Annual Review of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 4(1).

Bennett, K., & Sawatzky, J. A. V. (2013). Building emotional intelligence: a strategy for emerging nurse leaders to reduce workplace bullying. Nursing administration quarterly, 37(2), 144-151.

Judge, T. A., Klinger, R., Simon, L. S., & Yang, I. W. F. (2008). The contributions of personality to organizational behavior and psychology: Findings, criticisms, and future research directions. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 2(5), 1982-2000.

Sun, Y., Gergen, E., Avila, M., & Green, M. (2016). Leadership and job satisfaction: Implications for leaders of accountants. American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 6(03), 268.

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