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MANAGEMENT WITH INFORMATION SYSTEMS

Organisational Behaviour [MGT 1201]

Benefitsof Personality Assessment Lecturer: Mr. Deerpaul

Number of words: 2453

Date: 10 April 2006


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Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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Acknowledgement Human Resource Manager. It is acknowledged that there are many forms of “redtape” or procedures to follow in many organisations nowadays, be it in the private or public sector. Very few firms are exceptions to the rule. Air Mauritius is definitely one amongst those very few firms. The speed at which we got back a fully-answered questionnaire from Mr. J.B. Sadien, Human Resource Manager at Air Mauritius needs to be acclaimed. Besides, we would also like to thank Mr. Peermamode, Human Resource Manager at Mauritius Telecom, as well as Mr. Hugh Stanley, Human Resource Manager at Bioculture (Mauritius) Ltd [company that manages La Vanille Crocodile Park] for having willingly shed light to us on Personality Assessment, despite the fact that such is not the practice in their respective firms. [Note that a copy of the questionnaire has been attached to the appendices]

A constructive conflict characterised team. Moreover, it is often said that group work is characterised by conflicts, which may be constructive or destructive. However, in my capacity as team leader, I would like to point out that no so-called “destructive conflict” has been noted as every one contributed his or her part of the work to be done and, to be underlined, even though ideas generated from team members were thoroughly analysed and criticised so as to retain the best.

Hard-working team members. “Un travail de fourmie”… That is definitely how one would be most inclined to qualify the work done by my team-mates in view of the enormous research work that was conducted to complete the assignment titled “Benefits of Personality Assessment” based on the case of Air Mauritius. Their enthusiasm, dynamism, perseverance, persistence and determination are what actually made the analysis possible. Hats off to them!

Vidoushee Boolaky Team Leader

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________ __ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646 Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 0511524

Beelatoo V.


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

Benefits of Personality Assessment

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Air Mauritius Centre Phone (230) 2077070 President John Kennedy Street Fax (230) 2088331 Port Louis Website : www.airmauritius.com

- An Air Mauritius Case Study

Benefits of Personality Assessment Table of Contents PAGE Acknowledgement

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1.

Introduction

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2.

Personnel Selection

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3.

Performance Appraisal

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4.

Changing Faces of Organisations & the Need for Training

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5.

Employee Morale, Job Satisfaction & Motivation

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6.

Communication & Learning

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7.

Human Factors Psychology

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8.

Work Groups and Work Teams

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Conclusion

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Appendices

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Bibliography

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________________________________________________________________________________________________ Š2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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1 Benefits of Personality Assessment Introduction One tagline from the movie ‘American Beauty’ said “Look Closer”. We, as human beings have been so used to the artificial world and seeing what meets the eye, that we have stopped looking closer. It is obvious that someone who has had a closer look at a particular person must be that person’s family or close friend. This is so because that someone must have spent enough time with that particular person to know him or her quite well. However, it is also quite obvious that organisational psychologists do not have the required amount of time to spend with people in order to learn about their personalities. To overcome this hurdle in their job, organisational psychologists have recourse to what is commonly referred to as “Personality Assessment”.

Asked about how he would define the term ‘Personality Assessment’, Mr. J.B. Sadien, Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius said, “It is a test that parsimoniously identifies critical independent personality dimensions or relatively stable patterns of behaviour”. Indeed, the underlying assumption of any personality test or assessment is that personality characteristics can be measured. In this regard, there are various methods that are used to assess personality, amongst which are: (i)

Empirical Methods [e.g. the Myers Briggs Test and the Big Five Model]

(ii)

Basic Test [making the person write a self-report, behavioural observation, measuring of verbal, non-verbal, and physiological responses]

(iii)

Paper-and-pencil-type tests

Personality Assessment can also be objective, like for instance Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [MMPI], as well as projective, like The Rorschach Inkblot Test and The Thematic Apperception Test [TAT].

It is to be noted that in many companies in Mauritius, interviews are privileged over Personality Assessments. However, Personality Assessments surely have certain advantages over traditionalcharacterised interviews, which explains why certain companies like Air Mauritius have recourse to the former. These advantages are discussed further in the chapters that follow. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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2 Benefits of Personality Assessment Personnel Selection

Figure 1: Personnel Selection in an Organisation Source: www.kertis-services.com

It is acknowledged that possessing good educational certificates only cannot ensure someone a ‘good job’. In addition to educational certificates, a person also needs to have the necessary skills, whether technical, communications or any other skills required, to perform a particular job. Furthermore, the person also needs to have certain imbibed values which correspond to the needs, values and objectives of the organisation concerned. One would agree that matching a person’s values, skills and qualifications with the requirements of an organisation would have been very tedious, had there not been the so-called ‘Personality Assessment’.

Personnel Selection needs to be done appropriately to find the “right person to do the right job”, i.e. person-job fit. Thus, a Personality assessment becomes crucial to be able to find the qualified candidate by identifying relative strengths and weaknesses of all applicants. It is very interesting to note that a Human Resource Manager usually starts with a job analysis to gather information about the job requirements, after which the Personality Assessment is designed, as clearly stated by the Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius.

Personality Assessment proves to be very advantageous to an organisation as it helps to identify potential employees who correspond to the needed criteria of a particular job. And as rightly mentioned by Mr. Sadien, “Personality Assessment provides supplementary information about candidates” [information that supplements other methods of personnel selection such as interviews], which in turn helps to find the above mentioned “right person to do the right job”. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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3 Benefits of Personality Assessment Performance Appraisal

Figure 2: Performance Appraisal Source: www.parknicollet.com

A performance appraisal involves a systematic description of an employee’s strengths and weaknesses; systematic, because it can sometimes be biased if not systematic. However, Mr. J.B. Sadien, Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius is quick to mention that Performance Appraisal can be an emotion-laden topic.

It is acknowledged that in a work environment, all employees do not deliver the same output, which can be attributable to many factors at play. In some cases, the output of an employee can be improved by training, moral support, advice, disciplinary actions and a number of other means. The problem that crops up when trying to correct any deviation from standard performance is that very few employees would relish being corrected, no matter how much truth the criticism holds and no matter how tactfully the criticism is delivered.

Thus, Personality Assessments can play a crucial role in developing appropriate performance criteria that can be used to reinforce effective work behaviour and provide incentives to set new goals for future performance. Mr. J.B. Sadien mentions that knowledge of the personality of a particular employee definitely helps in identifying the source of any deviation from standard performance, which can be in the form of stress, fatigue, laziness, or any other personal problems. He further states that corrective actions may then be taken based upon the source of the deviation and employee attitude towards criticism. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Š2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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4 Benefits of Personality Assessment Changing Faces of Organisations and the Need for Training

Figure 3: Employees being trained in a training room Source: www.rensysgroup.com

Training is often used in organisations to bring newly hired employee up to a level where they can function completely in a particular job. Technological advances and fierce competition brought by globalisation oblige, firms do not have any other choice than to train their employees to prevent worker obsolescence. Industrial Psychologists can determine how employers’ needs will change and design retraining strategies to keep the workforce responsive to such changes.

However, the Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius points out that responsiveness of an employee to changes within an organisation may differ from individual to individual. He further adds that this brings back shadows of Personnel Selection, whereby it is very important to choose applicants who: 1. Can adapt to changes at a micro-level as well as at a macro-level 2. Are receptive to getting trained in view of improving their skills Personality Assessment is one such means of measuring the degree of responsiveness of a person towards changes in an organisation, and identifying employees, whether potential or actual, who are receptive to training.

Furthermore, as Mr. Sadien clearly states, Personality Assessment can provide information about weaknesses of employees, so that training can, therefore, be on these focus areas. Personality Assessment also allows firms to identify training potential, according to Air Mauritius’ Human Resource Manager. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ Š2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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5 Benefits of Personality Assessment Employee Morale, Job Satisfaction & Motivation

Figure 4: Job Satisfaction Source: www.donotgiveup.net

Yet another benefit of Personality Assessment is related to Job Satisfaction and Employee Morale in an organisation. It is acknowledged that employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs will tend to show less commitment both to their job and to the organisation. Such an undesirable behaviour will be reflected mainly in high absenteeism, wastage of the organisation’s economically precious time and resources, and in many other ways which can prove fatal to the organisation. In turn, this might lead to an adverse effect on the products or services offered by the organisation as well as the image and goodwill of that particular organisation, says Mr. J.B. Sadien, Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius, an organisation enjoying very high goodwill around the world.

A Personality Assessment can help in determining by which an extent an employee or potential employee is affected by certain motivating factors such as pay, promotion opportunities, intrinsic rewards and group factors such as relationship between the employee and other co-workers and supervisor. “The converse in the case of poor motivational factors also holds true”, Mr. J.B. Sadien warns.

Therefore, with personality assessment determining by how much an employee is affected by motivating or ‘non-motivating’ factors and what can be such factors, it becomes easy for managers to adopt strategies like promotion opportunities and intrinsic rewards to increase that special feeling which is an essential ingredient in baking an efficient and effective organisation. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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6 Benefits of Personality Assessment Communication & Learning

Figure 5: Communication Source: www.selu.edu

The field of business recognises the growing importance of communication. In many organization contexts, communication is viewed as one among various keys that determines success or failure of a firm. Communication, that is the transmission of messages, is not only concerned with that between management and workforce exclusively but also amongst co-workers. The Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius rightly says that “When communication is inefficient or breaks down, so does the quality of the firm”.

Therefore, it can be deduced from the above that to ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of an organization, good communication, both amongst employees, and between employees and management, needs to be ensured at all levels in the organization. Such good communication is possible through the use of Personality Assessment. Again, as in the case of Performance Appraisal, this is an emotion-laden topic. Assessing the personality of employees will provide the organization with data on employees’ temperament and probable behaviours in different kinds of situations. In other words, it can be said that Personality Assessment ensures effective communication amongst stakeholders in an organization by providing information about behaviour patterns of fellow stakeholders.

Furthermore, Mr. Sadien underlines the fact that effective communication provides a very amicable environment within the work place which can develop a sense of ‘camaraderie’ amongst stakeholders and thus facilitate employee learning from fellow stakeholders. ________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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7 Benefits of Personality Assessment Human Factors Psychology

Figure 6: Human Psychology Source: http://ed-karen.com

It has earlier been said that Personality Assessment is of utmost importance to management in Personnel Selection / Personnel Recruitment. However, the Human Resource Manager quickly points out “it cannot be denied that such benefits also extend to the side of employees as well”. This can be explained by the fact that Personality Assessment also helps employees to find jobs that suit them.

Human factors are the most prominent resources for an organization. Therefore, the jobs assigned to employees will imperatively have to be the right one for them. The organisation’s philosophy and values need to match with that of employees so that both the employee is satisfied and the organisation’s goals are attained. Hence, while going through a Personality Test, an individual may be assured that if a particular job or particular task is assigned to him or her, he / she is in the right place to do it efficiently and effectively. As a result, employees will attain at the same time both their career objectives as well as the objectives of the organization. That is exactly what is called “Killing two birds with one stone”, as Mr. J. B. Sadien rightly points out.

________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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8 Benefits of Personality Assessment Work Groups and Team Dynamics

Figure 7: Team Work Source: http://aventures-creatives.com/

A team can be defined as a group of people who work together [mutually influenced] towards a shared goal, in ways that combine their individual skills and abilities, and for which they are all responsible. Mr. Sadien, Air Mauritius’ Human Resource Manager defines what each of the letters in the word “Team” means for him:

T – Together

E – Everyone

A – Achieves

M – More

He further adds that in a team, one added to one does not give two, but more that two [1 + 1 ≥ 2]. This can be attributable to the synergy that should exist amongst fellow team-members. As such, Team Dynamics can have positive effects which can take the form of good communication amongst employees, greater participation of team members, and improved motivation and commitment.

________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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8 Benefits of Personality Assessment Work Groups and Team Dynamics [Continued…] It is acknowledged that behaviour in a team will be dependent on a number of factors, among which one is Personality. Therefore, it can be said that a Personality Assessment can help in determining a particular employee’s behaviour when placed to work in a group or team. The Human Resource Manager of Air Mauritius points out that it is important to determine whether a potential employee can adopt a team role while assessing the Personality of that particular employee at recruitment stage.

Furthermore, it is also important to provide the right mix of team roles [Plant, Resource Investigator, Coordinator, Shaper, Monitor Evaluator, Team Worker, Implementer, Completer, and Specialist]. To provide a clear illustration of what is meant by a wrong team composition, Mr. J.B. Sadien states the following:

The Wrong Person in the Wrong Place = Regression

The Wrong Person in the Right Place = Frustration

The Right Person in the Wrong Place = Confusion

The Right Person in the Right Place

= Progression

Therefore, Personality Assessment plays a crucial role in providing a right mix of team roles. This is so because Personality Tests provide Organisational Psychologists with the characteristics of employees so that these can be matched with the characteristics required to perform a particular team role.

________________________________________________________________________________________________ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

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9 Benefits of Personality Assessment Conclusion

It has earlier been described how Personality Assessment can be beneficial to an organization as well as to an employee. However, as the Human Resource of Manager of Air Mauritius correctly points out, Personality Assessment also has certain disadvantages. This is can be explained as follows.

First and foremost, unless validated for a specific job, personality assessment can be meaningless. It can also be said that a Personality Assessment can have a negative impact on the state of mind of a person who has failed the test. Tests can also be said to be unfair and biased towards particular racial and gender groups. For instance, in connection with gender, it is said that males tend to secure more profitable profiles which act to their advantage during personnel selection.

Furthermore, it can be argued that Personality Assessment fails in cases where candidates for a particular job can learn how to respond to show a positive but distorted side of their personality, as well as in cases where the personality of an individual changes over time, depending on events and circumstances that the individual faces. The lack of norms to which the raw scores from a Personality Assessment can be related and the lack of necessary skills to interpret the results of the Personality Assessments can also be considered to be major drawbacks. The failure of Personality Assessment is further accentuated by the fact that it is time and resource consuming.

To conclude, it can be said that Personality Assessments have a role to play in an organisation. However, they must be carefully and accurately applied. Mr. J. B. Sadien suggests that Personality Assessment should be used in conjunction with other verbal methods of interviewing. Moreover, candidates for a particular job should be asked to relate specific examples backed up by accurate descriptions of what happened and of their own behaviour.

________________________________________________________________________________________________ Š2006 Boolaky V. 0510646

Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 Beelatoo V. 0511524


Bsc. (Hons) Management with Information Systems

Bibliography 1. David A. Statt 2004, Psychology and the world of work, Palgrave Macmillan, China 2. Ronald E. Smith et. al. 1986, Psychology- The Frontiers of Behaviour, Harper & Row Publishers, New York 3. Neil R. Carlson et. al. 1997, Psychology- The Science of Behaviour, A Viacom Company, United States of America 4. Dorothy Marcic et. al. 1998, Organisational Behaviour- Experiences and Cases, South Western College Publishing, United States of America 5. Jane S. Halonen et. al. 1999, Psychology Contexts and Applications, McGraw-Hill, United States of America 6. Elizabeth Chell 1993, Psychology of Behaviour in Organisations, Macmillan Press Ltd, Hong Kong 7. Maureen Guirdham 1996, Interpersonal Skills at work, Prentice Hall, United Kingdom 8. Eugene McKenna 1994, Business Psychology and Organisational Behaviour- A Students’ Handbook, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, United States of America 9. Andrzej A. Huczynski et. al. 1991, Organisational Behaviour- An Introductory Text, Prentice Hall, United Kingdom

Websites for Photographs: 10. Air Mauritius’ Website [www.airmauritius.com] 11. Personnel Selection in an Organisation [www.kertis-services.com] 12. Performance Appraisal [www.parknicollet.com] 13. Employees being trained in a Training Room [www.rensysgroup.com] 14. Job Satisfaction [www.donotgiveup.net] 15. Communication [www.selu.edu] 16. Human Psychology [http://ed-karen.com] 17. Team Work [http://aventures-creatives.com/] _______________________________________________________________________________________________________ __ ©2006 Boolaky V. 0510646 Jeebun L.N. 0513644 Dosemahamed M.S. 0510158 Govinden S. 0514538 0511524

Beelatoo V.


Benefits of Personality Assessment