In order to drive discussion on this question, we first need to understand what personality is and what are the different traits that individuals’ personality can have. It is possible to define personality as those set of traits that characterize an individual. Personality can be influenced by biological, cultural and life events, and virtually all personality measures can be condensed into the 5-factor model of personality factors (Big Five).

5-factor model of personality factors (Big Five) includes

  1. Emotional stability: understood as the degree to which an individual can be anxious, depressed, angry, and generally emotionally insecure.
  2. Extroversion: understood as the degree to which a person can be sociable, talkative, assertive, active, and ambitious and is able to openly express feelings and emotions.
  3. Openness to experience: understood as the degree to which an individual can be open to experience, is intellectually curious, appreciative of art, and sensitive to beauty.
  4. Agreeableness: understood as the extent to which a person can be courteous, good natured, flexible, trusting, and liked by others.
  5. Conscientiousness: understood as the degree to which a person can be dependable, responsible, organized, and a planner.

Why is this relevant? Because, as studied by scholars, these five traits can have a direct impact on what we can expect from the employee:

Emotional stability involves less negative thinking and fewer negative emotions. This leads to higher job satisfaction and lower stress levels.

Extroversion is usually linked to better interpersonal skills, greater social dominance and making the individual more emotionally expressive. This leads to higher performance, enhanced leadership and higher job satisfaction.

Openness is associated with increased interest towards learning, more creativity and more flexibility and autonomy of the individual. This turns into higher training performance, enhanced leadership and makes the individual more adaptable to change.

Agreeableness involves the individual being more compliant and conforming. This turns into higher performance and lower levels of deviant behavior.

Finally, conscientiousness is usually reflected in greater effort and persistence, more drive and discipline and better organization and planning. This leads to higher performance, enhanced leadership and greater longevity of the individual in the organization. The Workplace Communication website defines organizational behavior as to how employees act as individuals within the company and how they interact as part of work groups. Understanding the way that people and groups interact in the workplace is important in being able to create positive organizational change. You need to be able to identify types of organizational behavior in the workplace in order to monitor the way in which your company functions.

Most employers today would like to have their employees motivated and ready to work, but do not understand what truly motivates a person. Companies could be more efficient if the employees had an invested interest in the future of the company. There are essential needs to be met for a person, specifically an employee, to succeed in the workplace. Every employee is at a different stage in their lives, which requires different management techniques. It is shown that motivation must come from within the employee. Just like any other word, there are variations of definitions to describe a concept. Motivation too has many different definitions, but it is important to focus on those that are related to the workplace. Understanding exactly what motivation is will help managers decide what actions to take to encourage their employees. The definition of motivation starts with the root word, motive. Webster’s Dictionary defines motive as, something that causes a person to act.


employee development coaching

Photo Credit:

Therefore, motivation can be defined as, the act of providing a motive that causes someone to act (Shanks, 24). In other words, according to Nancy Shanks, motivation causes someone to act and someone else cannot make someone motivated. It is at the discretion of the person to decide if they are going to be motivated or not. Motivated and unmotivated are not opposites, but instead, there are determining factors that could cause someone to be unmotivated, such as life events and attitudes towards a specific job. With relation to the workplace, Ray Williams, who writes for Psychology Today, defines motivation as, “predisposition to behave in a purposeful manner to achieve specific, unmet needs and the will to achieve, and the inner force that drives individuals to accomplish personal organizational goals” (Williams). A person becomes motivated in order to achieve their own personal goals as well as the organizational goals. The more motivated an employee is, the more likely they are to have an organizational commitment and identify themselves with the organization. 7 | Page This will meet some of the unmet needs, and connect them with the organization. If willing, the manager is able to give the employee incentives to meet their own goals and the goals set by the organization. Richard Ryan and Edward Deci, from the University of Rochester, agree that motivated means that the person is moved to do a particular act (Ryan and Edward, 54). The authors describe motivation as, the “orientation of motivation concerns the underlying attitudes and goals that give rise to action” (Ryan and Edward, 54). There are two specific types of motivation: financial and nonfinancial. Employees make up an organization and if they do not have an organizational commitment, then there is no incentive to excel at their jobs. A 5 | Page 1988 study showed that eighty-six percent of organizations struggled with attracting new employees and fifty-eight percent of those organizations expressed challenges with regards to retaining current employees (Ramlall, 52). Although this study is older, the information is still relevant today. Studies show that when ten professional employees of an organization leave, that organization loses roughly one million dollars (Ramlall, 52). In addition to the financial loss, they also suffer the loss of knowledge and experience the individual(s) may have, which is one of the most valued employee assets. This cost could be avoided or lessened by motivating employees by keeping them involved and committed to the organization.