How Individual Differences Affect the Way People Approach Their Jobs

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Boston College
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Employees with the same job description might develop different attitudes on the job because of different behavior or personality. The individual differences in terms of behavior, feelings, and thoughts affect the way people approach their jobs. The areas that are mostly affected by individual differences include job performance, leadership, and job satisfaction in addition to stress associated with the workplace. The most significant aspect in regards to individual differences is personality by which the nature of the personality of an individual affects his or her attitudes towards a job. Personality can be described as the sequential occurrence of behavior in regards to the thoughts, feelings, and nature of an individual. It is used to explain the behaviors and attitudes of people in regards to they perceive their jobs and their job performance (George & Jones, 2012).

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The big five personality traits include; extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience (George & Jones, 2012). Extraversion is characterized by an individual exhibiting positive emotional traits such that an individual has positive regard toward self and the people and things that surround them. In regards to job performance individuals that are extroverts exhibit positive attitudes and establish good relations with their fellow workmates such that they perform well in their duties. Neuroticism is characterized by negative emotional states such that an individual has negative regard toward self and the people and the things that surround them. In regards to job performance, their negative attitude makes them exhibit poor performance. Agreeableness is characterized with the aspect of people being able to connect with others well. Individuals with high levels of agreeableness show care and empathize with other while those with low levels tend to be rude and unsympathetic. In regards to job performance, individuals with levels of agreeableness socialize well with others while those with low levels benefit from the quality especially when it comes to jobs requiring antagonism. Conscientiousness is characterized by the level of care, perseverance, and trust that an individual portrays. Individuals with high levels of conscientiousness tend to be disciplined and organized and hence exhibit high job performance. Openness to experience entails an individual being flexible to the extent that he or she is able to take part in new experiences and can handle any task without much difficulty. In regards to job performance, individuals with such a trait engage in innovation and hence able to improve and ensure quality job performance (George & Jones, 2012). In regards to understanding the traits by managers, good managers need to understand and learn to deal with people of all personality types such that they are able to make necessary adjustments to suit the needs of the traits (George & Jones, 2012).

The circumstance that a supervisor might perceive a subordinates performance as being poor when it really is not is in the context in which the perception occurs. The context, in this case, entails aspects such as thoughts, experiences and the feelings of the people making the judgment. The aspects determine whether a perception will be accurate or inaccurate (Greenberg, 2013).

Continuous learning entails creativity by which an individual develops new and beneficial ideas that are able to contribute effectively to the well-being of an organization (DuBrin, 2013). The relationship between continuous learning and creativity is that when people take part in creative activities, they are perceived to take part in continuous learning. In regards to benefiting an organization, creativity allows innovation that assists in making changes to some of its systems such that they exhibit improvement which results in quality output (DuBrin, 2013).

The type of theories associated with work motivation includes need, expectancy, equity and organizational theory (Simon, 2013). The need theory is associated with the outcome to be obtained or rather factors that motivate individuals to take apart in an activity. The expectancy theory deals with the methods in which employees select the behavior to engage in and the involved efforts. The equity theory deals with the output and contribution of efforts while organizational justice theory deals with the perceptions of fairness that employees have towards an organization (Simon, 2013).


DuBrin, A. J. (2013). Fundamentals of organizational behavior: An applied perspective. New York: Elsevier.

George, J.M. & Jones, G.R. (2012). Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior. New York: Pearson Education Inc.

Greenberg, J. (Ed.). (2013). Organizational behavior: The state of the science. New York: Routledge.

Simon, H. A. (2013). Administrative behavior. Boston: Simon and Schuster.

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