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Are Personal Traits powerful predictors of Behaviour?

Traits are the qualities that differentiate the people from each other and give an insight of how an individual performs in a situation. Behavioural traits can be broadly classified as idiographic traits and nomothetic traits. Idiographic traits are the unique characteristics visible in an individual which makes him different and makes it difficult to compare them with the other people. Nomothetic traits on the other hand, are those traits which are common to individuals even though the level varies in the people.

Gordon Allport who is considered to be the father of personality theory divides the human traits into the following categories, namely, individual traits that are unique in a person, common traits which can be visualised in many, cardinal traits that is predominant in a person, central traits which is ‘central’ and many, and has the power to influence majority of his behaviours, secondary traits which are not always visible, motivational traits which has immense power to push a person forward, and stylistic traits which are less strongly felt traits.

Psychologists try to understand the human behaviour by trying to correlate human behaviour and the traits in them. Human traits may be positive or negative. Identification of the central traits is important as they have the power to influence much behaviour in an individual. For example to be successful in his work, one must be enthusiastic, welcome to the changes, flexible, ambitious, devoted, self confident, friendly, open minded, responsible self disciplined, systematic and must have a lot many positive traits which have a strong influence on his behaviour. Stubborn, undisciplined, dishonest people must be kept away from an entity at all times.
With a huge dependence on people power in the knowledge industry the traits that are inevitable for the organisation’s success should be identified, and steps to evaluate its presence in the individual must be determined. Various psychometric tests like John Holland’s Career Preference Test and Myer-Briggs Type Indicator helps to understand one’s traits and inner personality. Psychometric tools are sought by business entities and individuals for their personal development. On the acknowledgment of the influence human traits have on individual behaviour, the screening processes are so designed that they give a small picture of the inner self of the candidate. Tests, group discussions and various levels of interviews are mapped to help in identifying whether the required traits match with the inhabiting ones. Traits and its degree of influence required should be carefully selected and measured if it is to be a powerful tool to predict individual and human behaviour.

The degree of basic trait requirement varies with the job in hand. Identifying the various levels of traits and implementing tools to recruit the right combination of them helps in the smooth functioning of the business organisation. With a business entity’s survival and growth depended on the individual traits which direct one’s behaviour, improving on the positive traits and removing the influence of the negative traits should be done using the aid of training and other developmental programs.

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Posted: 27/01/2012 03:22:10

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