I’ve written a few times recently about the kind of personality types one sees in organizations, and whether a social business might attract a particular type of individual. For instance, research has shown that conscientious people tended to be much more likely to look out for the group than their more individually focused peers.
A second study then highlighted how much more effective such people were at helping others, whether in an outward facing customer service role or of course in more inward facing roles that require excellent collaboration skills.
The question is, does the social business make people conscientious, or do conscientious people make the social business? Professor Dave Bartram might have the answer. He wanted to test whether organisations tend to attract the same kind of people. It was based on previous research he’d conducted into homogenous personality types within a particular nationality, which showed that people of the same nationality tend to be more similar than people of different nationalities.
Bartram and his team combed over his 90,000 strong sample of employees that were spread across 35 countries and 490 different organisations. Can we guess the type of personality you are better from your nationality or your employer? How big a role does your industry play in your personality type?
Analysis showed that approximately 12% of any personality variance could be accounted for by our employer, with a similar number also applying to our nationality. The industry we work in however resulted in just 2% of the variance in our personalities. So our employer counts much more than our industry.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some personality traits were especially responsive to organisation type, such as persuasiveness, competitiveness, and appetite for busy work conditions, with each trait responsible for as much as 20% of personality variance. What’s more, conscientiousness was much more likely (as in 4 times more likely) to be related to organisation type than it was nationality.
So, the research seems to suggest that organisations do attract a particular personality type, especially around organisations that are entepreneurial, creative, and collaborative. When attempting to forge our workplace culture therefore, recruiting for personality type may be something to bare in mind.