People classifications

Copyright 2017 Graham Berrisford. One of several hundred papers at http://avancier.website. Last updated 21/09/2018 20:36

 

Many classifications have been devised for classifying a person’s personality – some more scientific than others.

This paper identifies some schemes – and questions their usefulness and fairness in the hands of managers.

Contents

The big five personality traits. 1

The four most common personality types. 1

Conclusions and remarks. 2

Footnotes: other schemes. 3

 

The big five personality traits

This is the personality trait classification scheme most widely accepted by psychologists.

The “Big Five” traits are:

·         Extroversion

·         Neuroticism

·         Openness

·         Conscientiousness

·         Agreeableness

 

These five traits emerged in the 1940s through studies of the English language for descriptive terms.

The categories were validated in the 1990s as a scientifically backed way to evaluate a person’s character.

At least four sets of researchers have identified the same five factors.

 

“The predictive effects of the Big Five personality traits relate mostly to social functioning and rules-driven behavior.

They are not very specific for prediction of particular aspects of behavior.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits

The four most common personality types

In theory, the big five traits are a continuum with thousands of permutations of scores that make up unique personalities.

New research published in Nature Human Behavior identifies trait scores common to many individuals.

The researchers believe these groupings reflect a set of prototypical personality types.

They’ve labelled them:

·         role model (low in neuroticism and high in openness, agreeableness, extroversion and conscientiousness)

·         self-centered (high extroversion, medium neuroticism, along with low openness, agreeableness and  conscientiousness).

·         reserved

·         average (high neuroticism and extraversion, low openness, and medium agreeableness and conscientiousness).

 

“The researchers, borrowed methods developed to study particle physics to analyze the responses of 1.5 million people from four separate studies measuring the Big Five.

Using machine-learning algorithms, they scanned the first data set of nearly 150,000 responses looking for clusters of people who scored similarly on the five traits.

The algorithms initially identified 13 clusters, which the researchers then narrowed down to the four densest pockets that encompassed a higher than average number of people.

When they applied their algorithms to the other three data sets, the same four clusters emerged, confirming the status of those trait scores as distinct personality types.”

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/big-data-gives-the-big-5-personality-traits-a-makeover

 

It may be premature to change your dating profile to announce your new type just yet, though.

“To say that you are a this or a that, that’s a mistake,” says William Revelle, also at Northwestern and the lone psychologist on the study.

“What we’re saying is you can group more people in these four clusters than you’d expect by chance.

People are fairly continuously distributed throughout the space, there are just higher densities in parts of the space.”

 

In theory, personality typing reveals how different sets of traits work together to create an integrated whole.

A specific type is also easier to communicate than a list of five different dimensions.

Robins cautions, though, there is a risk of “arbitrarily drawing a circle around a particular cluster of people,

but there’s no meaningful underlying neurobiological underpinning to why those people are clustered together.”

Revelle agrees. “Breaking it down into one of four types would not allow me to understand you very well,” he says.

“If I want to know what you’re like, I need to know how able you are to do something, how stable you are, how interested you are in things.

I need to know all of that to predict or understand what you’re going to do.”

 

“Whereas this new research does not settle the question of the validity of personality typing,

for the moment the field of psychology does have two definitive categories: those who believe in personality types and those who don’t.”

Conclusions and remarks

Dr. Kevin Murphy, Pennsylvania State University, stated:

“The problem with personality tests is [their] validity as predictors of job performance is often disappointingly low.

The argument for using personality tests to predict performance does not strike me as convincing in the first place.”.

 

The validity of using these tools in management science is questionable, partly because their predictive value is not strong.

And partly because classifying people can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

 

People are drawn to schemas that promise to simplify the choices they have to make.

You may be tempted to use a schema to:

·         rewrite world history to match it, build a world view around it

·         help you choose one path or solution option over another

·         decide how people will be organised and/or what roles they play.

·         pigeon-hole somebody and start treating them as a type rather than an individual.

 

It is difficult to test the validity of schemas as a decision-making tool.

The danger is that a classification scheme can be used to:

·         avoid dealing with problems or people as individuals

·         avoid taking responsibility for a decision

·         hide personal prejudices behind a superficial rationale.

 

And since alternative choices are never explored, any or every use may be presented as evidence of the scheme’s validity.

 

A personality classification pigeon holes people in a way that can give a manager an excuse not to understand and manage the individual.

It can lead a manager to discount a person’s flexibility and ability to occupy other pigeon holes.

It can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When a manager manages a person according to preconceptions, they can force the person either to behave that way, or to rebel

 

So be very wary of pigeon-holing people using classification schemes.

See also the “Human Factors in Hierarchical Organisations” page at http://avancier.website.

Footnotes: other schemes

HEXACO Model

A six factor model similar to the five factors model.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HEXACO_model_of_personality_structure

Myers-Briggs Type Indicators

“Although popular in the business sector, the MBTI exhibits significant psychometric deficiencies, notably including poor validity and poor reliability.

The four scales used in the MBTI have some correlation with four of the Big Five personality traits, which are a more commonly accepted framework.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers%E2%80%93Briggs_Type_Indicator

A tongue-in-cheek classification

I have forgotten the source of this classification.

 

Clever

Not clever

Hard working

Dangerous

Useful (workers)

Lazy

Useful (save time and money)

Useless

Belbin’s classification of team roles (not personality types)

Belbin's 1981 book Management Teams presented conclusions from his work studying how members of teams interacted during business games run at Henley Management College.

Amongst his key conclusions was the proposition that an effective team has members that cover eight (later nine) key roles in managing the team and how it carries out its work.

This may be separate from the role each team member has in carrying out the work of the team.

 

·         Plant: A creative, imaginative, unorthodox team-member who solves difficult problems.

·         Resource Investigator: The "Resource Investigator" is the networker for the group.

·         Chairman (1981) / Co-ordinator (1988): The "Chairman/Co-ordinator" ensures that all members of the team are able to contribute to discussions and decisions of the team.

·         Shaper: A dynamic team-member who loves a challenge and thrives on pressure.

·         Monitor-Evaluator: A sober, strategic and discerning member, who tries to see all options and judge accurately.

·         Team Worker: The "Team Worker" is concerned to ensure that interpersonal relationships within the team are maintained.

·         Company Worker (1981) / Implementer (1988): The "Implementer" is the practical thinker who can create systems and processes that will produce what the team wants.

·         Completer Finisher: The "Completer Finisher" is the detail person within the team.

·         Specialist (1988): Belbin later added a ninth role, the "Specialist", who brings 'specialist' knowledge to the team.

Eysenck's model of personality - edited from Wikipedia

The following table describes the traits that are associated with the three dimensions in Eysenck's model of personality.

 

Psychoticism

Extraversion

Neuroticism

Aggressive

Sociable

Anxious

Assertive

Irresponsible

Depressed

Egocentric

Dominant

Guilt Feelings

Unsympathetic

Lack of reflection

Low self-esteem

Manipulative

Sensation-seeking

Tense

Achievement-oriented

Impulsive

Moody

Dogmatic

Risk-taking

Hypochondriac

Masculine

Expressive

Lack of autonomy

Tough-minded

Active

Obsessive

JungsEnneagram of personality types - edited from Wikipedia

 

Type

Characteristic role

Ego fixation

Holy idea

Basic fear

Basic desire

Temptation

Vice/Passion

Virtue

Stress

Security

1

Reformer

Resentment

Perfection

Corruptness, imbalance, being bad

Goodness, integrity, balance

Hypocrisy, hypercriticism

Anger

Serenity

4

7

2

Helper

Flattery (Ingratiation)

Freedom, Will

Being unloved

To feel love

Deny own needs, manipulation

Pride

Humility

8

4

3

Achiever

Vanity

Hope, Law

Worthlessness

To feel valuable

Pushing self to always be "the best"

Deceit

Truthfulness, Authenticity

9

6

4

Individualist

Melancholy (Fantasizing)

Origin

Having no identity or significance

To be uniquely themselves

To overuse imagination in search of self

Envy

Equanimity (Emotional Balance)

2

1

5

Investigator

Stinginess (Retention)

Omniscience, Transparency

Helplessness, Incapability, Incompetence

Mastery, Understanding

Replacing direct experience with concepts

Avarice

Non-Attachment

7

8

6

Loyalist

Cowardice (Worrying)

Faith

Being without support or guidance

To have support and guidance

Indecision, doubt, seeking reassurance

Fear

Courage

3

9

7

Enthusiast

Planning (Anticipation)

Wisdom, Plan

Being trapped in pain and deprivation

To be satisfied and content

Thinking fulfillment is somewhere else

Gluttony

Sobriety

1

5

8

Challenger

Vengeance (Objectification)

Truth

Being harmed, controlled, violated

Self-protection

Thinking they are completely self-sufficient

Lust (Forcefulness)

Innocence

5

2

9

Peacemaker

Indolence (Daydreaming)

Love

Loss, fragmentation, separation

Wholeness, peace of mind

Avoiding conflicts, avoiding self-assertion

Sloth (Disengagement)

Action

6

3

 

 

 

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