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Robbins: Organizational Behavior Chapter Four

PERSONALITY AND EMOTIONS

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After studying this chapter, students should be able to:

1. Explain the factors that determine an individual’s 2. Describe the MBTI personality framework.
personality.
3. Identify the key traits in the Big Five personality model. 4. Explain the impact of job typology on the
personality-job performance relationship.
5. Differentiate emotions from moods. 6. Contrast felt vs. displayed emotions.
7. Read emotions. 8. Explain any gender-differences in emotions.
9. Describe external constraints on emotions. 10. Apply concepts on emotions to OB issues.

CHAPTER OVERVIEW

Personality
A review of the personality literature offers general guidelines that can lead to effective job performance. As such,
it can improve hiring, transfer, and promotion decisions. Because personality characteristics create the
parameters for people’s behavior, they give us a framework for predicting behavior. For example, individuals who
are shy, introverted, and uncomfortable in social situations would probably be ill-suited as salespeople. Individuals
who are submissive and conforming might not be effective as advertising “idea” people.

Can we predict which people will be high performers in sales, research, or assembly-line work on the basis of
their personality characteristics alone? The answer is no. Personality assessment should be used in conjunction
with other information such as skills, abilities, and experience. However, knowledge of an individual’s personality
can aid in reducing mismatches, which, in turn, can lead to reduced turnover and higher job satisfaction.

We can look at certain personality characteristics that tend to be related to job success, test for those traits, and
use the data to make selection more effective. A person who accepts rules, conformity, dependence, and rates
high on authoritarianism is likely to feel more comfortable in, say, a structured assembly-line job, as an admittance
clerk in a hospital, or as an administrator in a large public agency than as a researcher or an employee whose job
requires a high degree of creativity.

Emotions
Can managers control the emotions of their colleagues and employees? No. Emotions are a natural part of an
individual’s makeup. Where managers err is if they ignore the emotional elements in organizational behavior and
assess individual behavior as if it were completely rational. As one consultant aptly put it, “You can’t divorce
emotions from the workplace because you can’t divorce emotions from people.’’ Managers who understand the
role of emotions will significantly improve their ability to explain and predict individual behavior.

Do emotions affect job performance? Yes. They can hinder performance, especially negative emotions. That is
probably why organizations, for the most part, try to extract emotions out of the workplace. Emotions can also
enhance performance. How? Two ways. First, emotions can increase arousal levels, thus acting as motivators to
higher performance. Second, emotional labor recognizes that feelings can be part of a job’s required behavior.
For instance, the ability to effectively manage emotions in leadership and sales positions may be critical to
success in those positions.

What differentiates functional from dysfunctional emotions at work? While there is no precise answer to this, it has
been suggested that the critical moderating variable is the complexity of the individual’s task. The more complex a
task, the lower the level of arousal that can be tolerated without interfering with performance. While a certain
minimal level of arousal is probably necessary for good performance, very high levels interfere with the ability to
function, especially if the job requires calculative and detailed cognitive processes. Given that the trend is toward
jobs becoming more complex, you can see why organizations are likely to go to considerable efforts to discourage
the overt display of emotions—especially intense ones—in the workplace.
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WEB EXERCISES

At the end of each chapter of this instructor’s manual, you will find suggested exercises and ideas for
researching the WWW on OB topics. The exercises “Exploring OB Topics on the Web” are set up so
that you can simply photocopy the pages, distribute them to your class, and make assignments
accordingly. You may want to assign the exercises as an out-of-class activity or as lab activities with your class.
Within the lecture notes the graphic will note that there is a WWW activity to support this material.

The chapter opens with a profile of Charles B. Wang, the chairman of Computer Associates. Wang has been
described as a mercenary brute, ruthless, authoritarian, defiant, volatile, blunt, tactless, and isolated. What
makes him so tough and aggressive?

The experiences that shaped Wang’s life offer insight into his personality and behavior. He experienced racism
discrimination as a Chinese immigrant in Brooklyn, knew what it was like to go hungry, and to be the only Chinese
family at his school and on Little League teams. Despite his wealth and good fortune, he hasn’t forgotten those
experiences of his early years. Today he and his family live a secluded life on a large estate on Long Island.

CHAPTER OUTLINE

Personality Notes:

A. What Is Personality?

1. Personality is a dynamic concept describing the growth and development


of a person’s whole psychological system--it looks at some aggregate whole
that is greater than the sum of the parts.
2. Gordon Allport coined the most frequent used definition:

Personality—“the dynamic organization within the individual of those


psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his
environment”
3. Personality is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and
interacts with others.
4. It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits.

B. Personality Determinants

1. An early argument centered on whether or not personality was the result of


heredity or of environment.
• Personality appears to be a result of both influences.
• Today, we recognize a third factor—the situation.
2. Heredity
• Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception.
• The heredity approach argues that the ultimate explanation of an
individual’s personality is the molecular structure of the genes, located in
the chromosomes.

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• Three different streams of research lend some credibility to the heredity


argument:

a. The genetic underpinnings of human behavior and temperament


among young children. Evidence demonstrates that traits such as
shyness, fear, and distress are most likely caused by inherited genetic
characteristics.
b. The study of twins who were separated at birth. Genetics accounts for
about 50 percent of the variation in personality differences and over 30
percent of occupational and leisure interest variation.
c. The consistency in job satisfaction over time and across situations.
Individual job satisfaction is remarkably stable over time. This is
indicates that satisfaction is determined by something inherent in the
person.
• Personality characteristics are not completely dictated by heredity. If they
were, they would be fixed at birth and no amount of experience could alter
them.
3. Environment
• Factors that exert pressures on our personality formation:
a. The culture in which we are raised
b. Early conditioning
c. Norms among our family
d. Friends and social groups
• The environment we are exposed to plays a substantial role in shaping our
personalities.
• Culture establishes the norms, attitudes, and values passed from one
generation to the next and creates consistencies over time.
• The arguments for heredity or environment as the primary determinant of
personality are both important.
• Heredity sets the parameters or outer limits, but an individual’s full
potential will be determined by how well he or she adjusts to the demands
and requirements of the environment.
4. Situation
• Influences the effects of heredity and environment on personality
• The different demands of different situations call forth different aspects of
one’s personality.
• There is no classification scheme that tells the impact of various types of
situations.
• Situations seem to differ substantially in the constraints they impose on
behavior.

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C. Personality Traits Notes:

1. Early work revolved around attempts to identify and label enduring


characteristics.
• Popular characteristics include shy, aggressive, submissive, lazy,
ambitious, loyal, and timid. These are personality traits.
• The more consistent the characteristic, the more frequently it occurs, the
more important it is.
2. Early research on personality traits resulted in isolating large numbers of traits
—17,953 in one study alone—that made it impossible to predict behavior.
3. One researcher reduced a set of 171 traits to sixteen personality factors, or
primary, traits. (Exhibit 4-2).
4. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
• One of the most widely used personality frameworks is the Myers-Briggs
Type Indicator (MBTI).
• It is 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or
act in particular situations.
• Individuals are classified as:
a. Extroverted or introverted (E or I).
b. Sensing or intuitive (S or N).
c. Thinking or feeling (T or F).
d. Perceiving or judging (P or J).
• These classifications are then combined into sixteen personality types. For
example:
a. INTJs are visionaries. They usually have original minds and great
drive for their own ideas and purposes. They are characterized as
skeptical, critical, independent, determined, and often stubborn.
b. ESTJs are organizers. They are realistic, logical, analytical,
decisive, and have a natural head for business or mechanics.
They like to organize and run activities.
c. The ENTP type is a conceptualizer. He or she is innovative,
individualistic, versatile, and attracted to entrepreneurial ideas.
This person tends to be resourceful in solving challenging
problems but may neglect routine assignments.
• More than 2 million people a year take the MBTI in the United States
alone, however, there is no hard evidence that the MBTI is a valid measure
of personality.

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D. The Big Five Model Notes:

1. An impressive body of research supports that five basic dimensions underlie


all other personality dimensions. The five basic dimensions are:

• Extraversion. Comfort level with relationships. Extraverts tend to be


gregarious, assertive, and sociable. Introverts tend to be reserved, timid,
and quiet.

• Agreeableness. Individual’s propensity to defer to others. High


agreeableness people—cooperative, warm, and trusting. Low
agreeableness people—cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic.

• Conscientiousness. A measure of reliability. A high conscientious person is


responsible, organized, dependable, and persistent. Those who score low
on this dimension are easily distracted, disorganized, and unreliable.

• Emotional stability. A person’s ability to withstand stress. People with


positive emotional stability tend to be calm, self-confident, and secure.
Those with high negative scores tend to be nervous, anxious, depressed,
and insecure.

• Openness to experience. The range of interests and fascination with


novelty. Extremely open people are creative, curious, and artistically
sensitive. Those at the other end of the openness category are
conventional and find comfort in the familiar.

2. Research found important relationships between these personality dimensions


and job performance.
• A broad spectrum of occupations was examined in addition to job
performance ratings, training proficiency (performance during training
programs), and personnel data such as salary level.
• The results showed that conscientiousness predicted job performance for
all occupational groups.

• Individuals who are dependable, reliable, careful, thorough, able to plan,


organized, hardworking, persistent, and achievement-oriented tend to have
higher job performance.

• Employees higher in conscientiousness develop higher levels of job


knowledge.

• For the other personality dimensions, predictability depended upon both


the performance criterion and the occupational group.

• Extraversion predicted performance in managerial and sales positions.

• Openness to experience is important in predicting training proficiency.

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Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the CASE INCIDENT: Roustabouts Need
Understanding Too! Found in the text. A summary of the case and questions can be found at the end of this
chapter. A class exercise suggestion follows the introduction of the material.

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E. Major Personality Attributes Influencing OB Notes:

1. Locus of control
• A person’s perception of the source of his/her fate is termed locus of
control.

• Internals: People who believe that they are masters of their own fate.

• Externals: People who believe they are pawns of fate.


• Individuals who rate high in externality are less satisfied with their jobs,
have higher absenteeism rates, are more alienated from the work setting,
and are less involved on their jobs than are internals.
• Internals, facing the same situation, attribute organizational outcomes to
their own actions. Internals believe that health is substantially under their
own control through proper habits; their incidences of sickness and, hence,
of absenteeism, are lower.
2. There is not a clear relationship between locus of control and turnover because
there are opposing forces at work.
3. Internals generally perform better on their jobs, but one should consider
differences in jobs.
• Internals search more actively for information before making a decision,
are more motivated to achieve, and make a greater attempt to control their
environment, therefore, internals do well on sophisticated tasks.
• Internals are more suited to jobs that require initiative and independence of
action.
• Externals are more compliant and willing to follow directions, and do well
on jobs that are well structured and routine and in which success depends
heavily on complying with the direction of others.
4. Machiavellianism
• Named after Niccolo Machiavelli, who wrote in the sixteenth century on
how to gain and use power.
• An individual high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional
distance, and believes that ends can justify means.
• High Machs manipulate more, win more, are persuaded less, and
persuade others more.
• High Mach outcomes are moderated by situational factors and flourish
when they interact face to face with others, rather than indirectly, and when
the situation has a minimum number of rules and regulations, thus allowing
latitude for improvisation.
• High Machs make good employees in jobs that require bargaining skills or
that offer substantial rewards for winning.
5. Self-esteem
• Self-esteem—the degree to which people like or dislike themselves.
• (SE) is directly related to expectations for success.
• Individuals with high self-esteem will take more risks in job selection and
are more likely to choose unconventional jobs than people with low self-
esteem.

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E. Major Personality Attributes Influencing OB (cont.) Notes:

• The most generalizable finding is that low SEs are more susceptible to
external influence than are high SEs. Low SEs are dependent on the
receipt of positive evaluations from others.
• In managerial positions, low SEs will tend to be concerned with pleasing
others.
• High SEs are more satisfied with their jobs than are low SEs.
6. Self-monitoring
• It refers to an individual’s ability to adjust his or her behavior to external,
situational factors.
• Individuals high in self-monitoring show considerable adaptability. They are
highly sensitive to external cues, can behave differently in different
situations, and are capable of presenting striking contradictions between
their public persona and their private self.
• Low self-monitors cannot disguise themselves in that way. They tend to
display their true dispositions and attitudes in every situation resulting in a
high behavioral consistency between who they are and what they do.
• The research on self-monitoring is in its infancy, so predictions must be
guarded. Preliminary evidence suggests:
a. High self-monitors tend to pay closer attention to the behavior of
others.
b. High self-monitoring managers tend to be more mobile in their careers
and receive more promotions.
c. High self-monitor is capable of putting on different “faces” for different
audiences.
7. Risk taking
• The propensity to assume or avoid risk has been shown to have an impact
on how long it takes managers to make a decision and how much
information they require before making their choice.
• High risk-taking managers made more rapid decisions and used less
information in making their choices.
• While managers in organizations are generally risk-aversive, there are still
individual differences on this dimension. As a result, it makes sense to
recognize these differences and even to consider aligning risk-taking
propensity with specific job demands.
8. Type A
• A Type A personality is “aggressively involved in a chronic, incessant
struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, and, if required to
do so, against the opposing efforts of other things or other persons.’’
• They are always moving, walking, and eating rapidly, are impatient with the
rate at which most events take place, are doing do two or more things at
once and cannot cope with leisure time. They are obsessed with numbers,
measuring their success in terms of how many or how much of everything
they acquire.

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F. Major Personality Attributes Influencing OB (cont.) Notes:

9. Type B
• Type Bs never suffer from a sense of time urgency with its accompanying
impatience and feel no need to display or discuss either their
achievements or accomplishments unless such exposure is demanded by
the situation.
• Play for fun and relaxation, rather than to exhibit their superiority at any
cost and can relax without guilt.

10. Type A’s operate under moderate to high levels of stress.


• They subject themselves to continuous time pressure, are fast workers,
quantity over quality, work long hours, and are also rarely creative.
• Their behavior is easier to predict than that of Type Bs.

11. Are Type As or Type Bs more successful?


• Type Bs are the ones who appear to make it to the top.

• Great salespersons are usually Type As; senior executives are usually
Type Bs.

F. Personality and National Culture

1. The Big Five model translates across almost all cross-cultural studies.
2. Differences tend to surface by the emphasis on dimensions.
• Chinese use the category of conscientiousness more often and use the
category of agreeableness less often than do Americans.
• There is a surprisingly high amount of agreement, especially among
individuals from developed countries.

• There are no common personality types for a given country.


• There is evidence that cultures differ in terms of people’s relationship to
their environment. In North America, people believe that they can dominate
their environment. People in Middle Eastern countries believe that life is
essentially preordained.
2. The prevalence of Type A personalities will be somewhat influenced by the
culture in which a person grows up.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the exercise found in the MYTH OR
SCIENCE?: Deep Down, People Are All Alike box found in the text and on the next page of these notes. The
purpose of the exercise is to replace popularly held notions with research-based conclusions.

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MYTH OR SCIENCE? – “Deep Down, People Are All Alike”

This statement is essentially false. All people have values, attitudes, likes and dislikes, feelings, goals, and similar
general attributes, but individual differences are far more illuminating. People differ in intelligence, personality,
abilities, ambition, motivations, emotional display, values, priorities, expectations, and the like. Your ability to
predict behavior will be limited if you assume everyone is like you.

Take the task of selecting among job applicants. Recognize that jobs differ in terms of demands and
requirements. Interview and test applicants to:
• Categorize them by specific traits.
• Assess job tasks in terms of the type of personality best suited for effectively completing those tasks.
• Match applicants and job tasks to find an appropriate fit.

Using an individual-difference variable, managers improve the likelihood of identifying and hiring high-performing
employees.

Class Exercise:

1. Place the students in teams of five.


2. Have one set of teams brainstorm specific traits essential to being a good professor.
3. Another set of teams should brainstorm job tasks handled by a good professor.
4. Have the teams record their criteria on the board.
5. As a class, create one set of five traits and five tasks for a professorial position.
6. Ask students what questions or teaching artifacts students would ask or review in matching professorial
candidates to their jobs.

G. Achieving Personality Fit Notes:

1. The Person-Job Fit: This concern is best articulated in John Holland’s


personality-job fit theory.
• Holland presents six personality types and proposes that satisfaction and
the propensity to leave a job depend on the degree to which individuals
successfully match their personalities to an occupational environment.
• Each one of the six personality types has a congruent occupational
environment. (See Exhibit 4-3)
• Vocational Preference Inventory questionnaire contains 160 occupational
titles. Respondents indicate which of these occupations they like or dislike;
their answers are used to form personality profiles.
• The theory argues that satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest when
personality and occupation are in agreement.
2. The Person-Organization Fit
• Most important for an organization facing a dynamic and changing
environment, and requiring employees who are able to readily change
tasks and move fluidly between teams.
• It argues that people leave jobs that are not compatible with their
personalities.
• Matching people to the organizational culture at the time of hiring should
result in higher employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

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Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the TEAM EXERCISE: What is a “Team
Personality” found in the text and at the end of these chapter notes. The purpose of the exercise is to have
students think about personality traits that would be desirable when working with others in a team. A suggestion
for a class exercise follows the introduction of the material.

Emotions

A. Introduction Notes:

1. Emotions are a critical factor in employee behavior. Until very recently, the
topic of emotions had been given little or no attention within the field of OB.
2. The myth of rationality. Organizations have been specifically designed with the
objective of trying to control emotions. A well-run organization was one that
successfully eliminated frustration, fear, anger, love, hate, joy, grief, and similar
feelings.
3. The belief that emotions of any kind were disruptive. The discussion focused
on strong negative emotions that interfered with an employee’s ability to do his
or her job effectively.

B. What Are Emotions?

1. Affect is a generic term that covers a broad range of feelings that people
experience and encompasses both emotions and moods.
• Emotions are intense feelings that are directed at someone or something.
They are reactions, not a trait.
• Moods are feelings that tend to be less intense than emotions and which
lack a contextual stimulus. They are not directed at an object.
2. Emotions can turn into moods when you lose focus on the contextual object.
3. A related affect-term that is gaining increasing importance in organizational
behavior is emotional labor. Originally developed in relation to service jobs. It
is when an employee expresses organizationally desired emotions during
interpersonal transactions.

C. Felt vs. Displayed Emotions `

1. Emotional labor creates dilemmas for employees when their job requires them
to exhibit emotions incongruous with their actual feelings. It is a frequent
occurrence. For example, when there are people that you have to work with
whom you find it very difficult to be friendly toward. You are forced to feign
friendliness.
2. Felt emotions are an individual’s actual emotions.
3. Displayed emotions are those that are organizationally required and
considered appropriate in a given job. They are learned.

4. Key—felt and displayed emotions are often different. This is particularly true in
organizations, where role demands and situations often require people to
exhibit emotional behaviors that mask their true feelings.

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D. Emotion Dimensions Notes:

1. Variety
• There are many emotions. Six universal emotions have been identified:
anger, fear, sadness, happiness, disgust, and surprise. (See Exhibit 4-6).
• Emotions are identified along a continuum from positive to negative. The
closer any two emotions are to each other on this continuum, the more
people are likely to confuse them.
2. Intensity
• People give different responses to identical emotion-provoking stimuli.
Sometimes this can be attributed to personality.
• People vary in their inherent ability to express intensity—from never
showing feelings to displaying extreme happiness or sadness
• Jobs make different intensity demands in terms of emotional labor. For
example, air traffic controllers must remain calm even in stressful
situations.

3. Frequency and duration


• Emotional labor that requires high frequency or long duration is more
demanding and requires more exertion by employees.
• Whether or not the employee can successfully meet the emotional
demands of a job depends on both the intensity of the emotions displayed
and for how long the effort has to be made.

E. Can People Be Emotionless?

1. Some people have difficulty in expressing their emotions and understanding


the emotions of others. Psychologists call this alexithymia.
2. People who suffer from alexithymia rarely cry and are often seen by others as
bland and cold. Their own feelings make them uncomfortable, and they are not
able to discriminate among their different emotions.
3. Are people who suffer from alexithymia poor work performers? Not necessarily.
They might very well be effective performers, in a job requiring little or no
emotional labor. Sales or customer service jobs would not be good career
choices.

F. Gender and Emotions

1. It is widely assumed that women are more “in touch” with their feelings than
men.
2. The evidence does confirm differences between men and women when it
comes to emotional reactions and ability to read others.
• Women show greater emotional expression than men, experience
emotions more intensely, and display more frequent expressions of both
positive and negative emotions.
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F. Gender and Emotions (cont.) Notes:

• Women also report more comfort in expressing emotions.


• Women are better at reading nonverbal cues than are men.

3. These differences may be explained several ways:


• The different ways men and women have been socialized.
• Women may have more innate ability to read others and present their
emotions than do men.
• Women may have a greater need for social approval and, thus, a higher
propensity to show positive emotions such as happiness.

G. External Constraints on Emotions

1. Every organization defines boundaries that identify what emotions are


acceptable and the degree to which they can be expressed. The same applies
in different cultures.
2. Organizational influences:
• There is no single emotional “set” sought by all organizations.
• In the United States, there is a bias against negative and intense emotions.
Expressions of negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger tend to
be unacceptable except under fairly specific conditions.
• Consistent with the myth of rationality, well-managed organizations are
expected to be essentially emotion-free.
3. Cultural influences:
• Cultural norms in the United States dictate that employees in service
organizations should smile and act friendly when interacting with
customers. But this norm does not apply worldwide.
• Cultures differ in terms of the interpretation they give to emotions. There
tends to be high agreement on what emotions mean within cultures but not
between cultures. For example, smiling is often seen as an expression of
happiness by Americans. However, in Israel, smiling by cashiers is seen
as being inexperienced.
• Studies indicate that some cultures lack words for such standard emotions
as anxiety, depression, or guilt.

Instructor Note: At this point in the lecture you may want to introduce the ETHICAL DILEMMA: Managing
Emotions at Work. A summary of the case can be found at the end of this chapter and in the text.

H. OB Applications Notes:

1. Ability and Selection: People who know their own emotions and are good at
reading others’ emotions may be more effective in their jobs.
• Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to an assortment of non-cognitive skills,
capabilities, and competencies that influence a person’s ability to succeed
in coping with environmental demands and pressures.
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H. OB Applications (cont.) Notes:

a. Self-awareness. Being aware of what you are feeling.


b. Self-management. The ability to manage one’s own emotions and
impulses.
c. Self-motivation. The ability to persist in the face of setbacks and
failures.
d. Empathy. The ability to sense how others are feeling.
e. Social skills. The ability to handle the emotions of others.

• Several studies suggest EI may play an important role in job performance.


EI, not academic I.Q., characterized high performers.
• The implications from the initial evidence on EI is that employers should
consider it as a factor in selection, especially in jobs that demand a high
degree of social interaction.

2. Decision making
• Traditional approaches to the study of decision making in organizations
have emphasized rationality. That approach is probably naïve. People use
emotions as well as rational and intuitive processes in making decisions.
• Negative emotions can result in a limited search for new alternatives and a
less vigilant use of information.
• Positive emotions can increase problem solving and facilitate the
integration of information.
3. Motivation
• Motivation theories basically propose that individuals “are motivated to the
extent that their behavior is expected to lead to desired outcomes.”
• The image is that of rational exchange. People’s perceptions and
calculations of situations are filled with emotional content that significantly
influences how much effort they exert.
• Not everyone is emotionally engaged in their work, but many are.
4. Leadership
• The ability to lead others is a fundamental quality sought by organizations.
• Effective leaders almost all rely on the expression of feelings to help
convey their messages and is often the critical element that results in
individuals accepting or rejecting a leader’s message.
• When effective leaders want to implement significant changes, they rely on
“the evocation, framing, and mobilization of emotions.’’
5. Interpersonal Conflict
• Whenever conflicts arise, you can be fairly certain that emotions are also
surfacing.
• A manager’s success in trying to resolve conflicts, in fact, is often largely
due to his or her ability to identify the emotional elements in the conflict
and to get the conflicting parties to work through their emotions.
6. Deviant workplace behaviors
• Negative emotions can lead to a number of deviant workplace behaviors.

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H. OB Applications (cont.) Notes:

• Employee Deviance: Voluntary actions that violate established norms and


which threaten the organization, its members, or both.
• They fall into categories such as:
a. Production: leaving early, intentionally working slowly
b. Property: stealing, sabotage
c. Political: gossiping, blaming co-workers
d. Personal aggression: sexual harassment, verbal abuse

• Many of these deviant behaviors can be traced to negative emotions. For


example, envy is an emotion that occurs when you resent someone for
having something that you do not, and which you strongly desire and can
lead to malicious deviant behaviors.

OB IN THE NEWS – The Increasing Popularity of Anger-Management Classes

Anger-management classes have become a trendy solution for dealing with people who have difficulty controlling
their tempers. Prosecutors across the United States, for instance, are sending thousands of criminals for anger-
management instruction each year. Men who menace their wives or girlfriends are finding that a frequent legal
solution is for them to attend anger-management classes. Hotheaded celebrities such as Mike Tyson, Tommy
Lee, Sean “Puffy” Combs, Latrell Sprewell, Shannon Doherty, and Courtney Love have been required to take
these classes to help them cool their tempers. Companies are increasingly sending short-tempered employees to
these classes to help them manage their negative emotions.
Courses in anger management tend to be similar in content. Participants share their stories that have led
them to the class; then they are told to think about the consequences of what they do when they get worked up.
They are taught how to look at the big picture, how not to let small things bother them, how to be a good listener,
how to accept someone else’s opinion without losing control, etc.
Mental-health professionals say that anger-management classes can be beneficial. They say that making
mature decisions is a skill that can be taught, but it requires committed students over a long period. Unfortunately,
many people who suffer from anger problems are not willing to admit they have a problem and are even less
willing to put in the effort—one expert says her clients typically need about a year to overcome their anger issues
—to try to control it. But studies of anger-management programs find little to support their effectiveness. This may
be due to several factors. It may reflect a lack of commitment by participants. It may be that many people in these
programs actually need other kinds of therapy. Anger management is designed to deal with spontaneous rage,
yet many of the individuals taking these courses are just cold, calculating people. Or it may well be that it is not
possible to change a basic personality that includes the tendency to exhibit spontaneous rage when angered or
frustrated.

Class Exercise:

Nearly everyone has experienced “Road Rage” in some form whether they have observed it, been a victim of it, or
when they have acted out at another driver. Conduct this exercise as a class to develop effective strategies for
preventing and dealing with Road Rage.

I. Ask the students to define Road Rage and what common responses would be. Is there a continuum of anger
response in their answers? List responses along the continuum or in columns. For example, students may
have the following ideas: Shrug Off  Verbal Response within my car  Verbal Response directed at other
driver  Physical Gestures  Erratic Driving (Cutting Other Driver Off, ) etc.,  Physical Violence.
J. Now ask your students to develop an “Anger-Management Plan” directed at diffusing each of the situations
they listed earlier. (This can be done as a class or in small groups).
K. Is the plan they developed workable? Would they use it in the future when confronted with a similar situation?
Why or Why not? Could these strategies be applied in the workplace?
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QUESTIONS FOR REVIEW

1. What is personality?
Answer – A dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole psychological
system. Personality looks at some aggregate whole that is greater than the sum of the parts. Personality is
the dynamic organization within the individual of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique
adjustments to his environment. Personality is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and
interacts with others. It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits.

2. What behavioral predictions might you make if you knew that an employee had (a) an external locus of
control? (b) a low Mach score? (c) low self-esteem? (d) a Type A personality?
Answer – a) Individuals who rate high in externality are less satisfied with their jobs, have higher
absenteeism rates, are more alienated from the work setting, and are less involved on their jobs than are
internals. Externals are more compliant and willing to follow directions. Externals should do well on jobs that
are well structured and routine and in which success depends heavily on complying with the direction of
others. b) An individual high in Machiavellianism is pragmatic, maintains emotional distance, and believes that
ends can justify means. High Machs manipulate more, win more, are persuaded less, and persuade others
more. High Mach outcomes are moderated by situational factors. High Machs flourish when they interact face
to face with others rather than indirectly, when the situation has a minimum number of rules and regulations,
thus allowing latitude for improvisation, and when emotional involvement with details irrelevant to winning
distracts low Machs. High Machs make good employees in jobs that require bargaining skills or that offer
substantial rewards for winning. c) Self-esteem—the degree to which they like or dislike themselves. It is
directly related to expectations for success. Individuals with high self-esteem will take more risks in job
selection and are more likely to choose unconventional jobs than people with low self-esteem. The most
generalizable finding is that low SEs are more susceptible to external influence than are high SEs. Low SEs
are dependent on the receipt of positive evaluations from others. In managerial positions, low SEs will tend to
be concerned with pleasing others. d) A Type A personality is “aggressively involved in a chronic, incessant
struggle to achieve more and more in less and less time, and, if required to do so, against the opposing
efforts of other things or other persons.’’ They:
• Are always moving, walking, and eating rapidly;
• Feel impatient with the rate at which most events take place;
• Strive to think or do two or more things at once;
• Cannot cope with leisure time;
• Are obsessed with numbers, measuring their success in terms of how many or how much of
everything they acquire.

3. What is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator?


Answer – The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most widely used personality frameworks—Myers-
Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). It is a 100-question personality test that asks people how they usually feel or
act in particular situations. Individuals are classified as
• Extroverted or introverted (E or I).
• Sensing or intuitive (S or N).
• Thinking or feeling (T or F).
• Perceiving or judging (P or J).
These classifications are then combined into sixteen personality types. There is no hard evidence that the
MBTI is a valid measure of personality.

4. Describe the factors in the Big Five model. Which factor shows the greatest value in predicting behavior?
Why does it?
Answer – Research supports that five basic dimensions underlie all other personality dimensions. The five
basic dimensions are:

• Extraversion: Comfort level with relationships. Extraverts tend to be gregarious, assertive, and sociable.
Introverts tend to be reserved, timid, and quiet.
• Agreeableness: Individual’s propensity to defer to others. Highly agreeable people—cooperative, warm,
and trusting. Low agreeableness people—cold, disagreeable, and antagonistic.

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• Conscientiousness: A measure of reliability. A high conscientious person is responsible, organized,


dependable, and persistent. Those who score low on this dimension are easily distracted, disorganized,
and unreliable.
• Emotional stability: A person’s ability to withstand stress. People with positive emotional stability tend to
be calm, self-confident, and secure. Those with high negative scores tend to be nervous, anxious,
depressed, and insecure.
• Openness to experience: The range of interests and fascination with novelty. Extremely open people are
creative, curious, and artistically sensitive. Those at the other end of the openness category are
conventional and find comfort in the familiar.

Of the five factors “conscientiousness” predicted job performance across all occupational groups. Individuals
who are dependable, reliable, careful, thorough, able to plan, organized, hardworking, etc. tend to have a high
job performance record.

5. Do people from the same country have a common personality type? Explain.
Answer – The Big Five model translates across almost all cross-cultural studies. There are no common
personality types for a given country. There is evidence that cultures differ in terms of people’s relationship to
their environment. In North America, people believe that they can dominate their environment. People in
Middle Eastern countries believe that life is essentially preordained. The prevalence of Type A personalities
will be somewhat influenced by the culture in which a person grows up. There are more in capitalistic
countries. In cultures such as Sweden and France, where materialism is less revered, we would predict a
smaller proportion of Type A personalities.

6. Why might managers today pay more attention to the person-organization fit than the person-job fit?
Answer – It is most important for an organization facing a dynamic and changing environment, and requiring
employees who are able to readily change tasks and move fluidly between teams. It argues that people leave
jobs that are not compatible with their personalities. Matching people to the organizational culture at the time
of hiring should result in higher employee satisfaction and reduced turnover.

7. What is emotional labor, and why is it important to understanding OB?


Answer – Emotional labor is when an employee expresses organizationally desired emotions during
interpersonal transactions. Originally developed in relation to service jobs, but now seems to apply to every
job. For example, you are expected to be courteous and not hostile in interactions with coworkers.

8. How does national culture influence expressed emotions?


Answer – Cultural norms in the United States dictate that employees in service organizations should smile
and act friendly when interacting with customers, but this norm does not apply worldwide. Cultures differ in
terms of the interpretation they give to emotions. There tends to be high agreement on what emotions mean
within cultures, but not between. Studies indicate that some cultures lack words for such standard emotions
as anxiety, depression, or guilt.

9. What is emotional intelligence, and why is it important?


Answer – Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to an assortment of non-cognitive skills, capabilities, and
competencies that influence a person’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and
pressures.
• Self-awareness: Being aware of what you are feeling.
• Self-management: The ability to manage one’s own emotions and impulses.
• Self-motivation: The ability to persist in the face of setbacks and failures.
• Empathy: The ability to sense how others are feeling.
• Social skills: The ability to handle the emotions of others.
• Several studies suggest EI may play an important role in job performance.

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QUESTIONS FOR CRITICAL THINKING

1. “Heredity determines personality.” (a) Build an argument to support this statement. (b) Build an argument
against this statement.
Answer – Personality is a dynamic concept describing the growth and development of a person’s whole
psychological system. Personality is the sum total of ways in which an individual reacts to and interacts with
others. It is most often described in terms of measurable traits that a person exhibits. The early argument was
that personality was the result of heredity or of environment. It now appears that personality appears to be a
result of both influences and even a third factor—the situation. Heredity refers to those factors that were
determined at conception.
The heredity approach argues that the ultimate explanation of an individual’s personality is the molecular
structure of the genes, located in the chromosomes. Three different streams of research lend some credibility
to the heredity argument.
• The genetic underpinnings of human behavior and temperament among young children
• The study of twins who were separated at birth
• The consistency in job satisfaction over time and across situations
Personality characteristics are not completely dictated by heredity. Factors that exert pressures on our
personality formation are:
• The culture in which we are raised
• Early conditioning
• Norms among our family
• Friends, and social groups
The environment we are exposed to plays a substantial role in shaping our personalities. Culture establishes
the norms, attitudes, and values passed from one generation to the next and creates consistencies over time.

Heredity sets the parameters or outer limits, but an individual’s full potential will be determined by how well he
or she adjusts to the demands and requirements of the environment.

2. “The type of job an employee does moderates the relationship between personality and job productivity.” Do
you agree or disagree with this statement? Discuss.
Answer – Students can take either position but their discussion should include elements of the data of
person-organizational fit. Holland’s research is central to this discussion. He presents six personality types
and proposes that satisfaction and the propensity to leave a job depend on the degree to which individuals
successfully match their personalities to an occupational environment. Each one of the six personality types
has a congruent occupational environment. The theory argues that satisfaction is highest and turnover lowest
when personality and occupation are in agreement. There does appear to be intrinsic differences in
personality among individuals. There are different types of jobs. People in job environments congruent with
their personality types should be more satisfied and less likely to voluntarily resign than should people in
incongruent jobs.

3. One day, your boss comes in, and he’s nervous, edgy, and argumentative. The next day, he is calm and
relaxed. Does this behavior suggest that personality traits are not consistent from day to day?
Answer – No, these are simply variations in his emotional state. Emotions are reactions to an object, not a
trait. They are object-specific. Emotions have a number of dimensions: variety, intensity, frequency and
duration.

4. What, if anything, can managers do to “manage” emotions?


Answer – They cannot control the emotions of their colleagues and employees. Emotions are a natural part
of an individual’s makeup. Where managers err is if they ignore the emotional elements in organizational
behavior and assess individual behavior as if it were completely rational. Managers who understand the role
of emotions will significantly improve their ability to explain and predict individual behavior.

5. Give some examples of situations where the overt expression of emotions might enhance job performance.
Answer – Emotions can also enhance performance in two ways. First, emotions can increase arousal levels,
thus acting as motivators to higher performance. Second, emotional labor recognizes that feelings can be part
of a job’s required behavior. So, for instance, the ability to effectively manage emotions in leadership and
sales positions may be critical to success in those positions.

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POINT-COUNTERPOINT – Traits Are Powerful Predictors of Behavior

POINT
The essence of trait approaches in OB is that employees possess stable personality characteristics that
significantly influence their attitudes toward, and behavioral reactions to, organizational settings. Trait theorists
recognize that all traits are not equally powerful. They tend to put them into one of three categories. Cardinal traits
are those so strong and generalized that they influence every act a person performs. Primary traits are generally
consistent influences on behavior, but they may not show up in all situations. Finally, secondary traits are
attributes that do not form a vital part of the personality but come into play only in particular situations. Trait
theorists do a fairly good job of meeting the average person’s face-validity test. Managers seem to have a strong
belief in the power of traits to predict behavior.

COUNTER POINT
Few people would dispute that there are some stable individual attributes that affect reactions to the workplace,
but trait theorists go beyond that generality and argue that individual behavior consistencies are widespread and
account for much of the differences in behavior among people. There are two important problems with using traits.
First, organizational settings are strong situations that have a large impact on employee behavior. Second,
individuals are highly adaptive, and personality traits change in response to organizational situations.
Organizational settings tend to be strong situations because they have rules and other formal regulations that
define acceptable behavior and punish deviant behavior, and they have informal norms that dictate appropriate
behaviors. These formal and informal constraints minimize the effects of personality traits. There is a growing
body of evidence that an individual’s traits are changed by the organizations that individual participates in.
Moreover, people typically belong to multiple organizations that often include very different kinds of members, and
they adapt to those different situations. Instead of being the prisoners of a rigid and stable personality framework,
as trait theorists propose, people regularly adjust their behavior to reflect the requirements of various situations.

Class Exercise:

1. Divide the class into two groups—one group to take on the issues raised in Point, the other group to take on
the issues raised in Counter Point. You may want to divide each half into smaller groups to enable all class
members to participate in the group’s discussions.
2. Ask the class to act as an organization’s management team. Their job is make a recommendation as to what
types of testing they will use in their organization when selecting employees for hire or promotion using the
issues assigned by the Point/Counter Point arguments. Which types of testing will be used and why? (You
may want to give students time to do some research—either Internet or Library—on this topic. There are
several exercises in the Exploring the Web section at the end of this chapter.)
3. Have students present their recommendations to the class and make a decision as to what is the best
argument for testing, type of test, etc. What gains do they expect as a result of the testing?
4. Have them list the recommendations and benefits on the board for the class to evaluate during the
discussion.
5. You may want them to research the cost of implementing these tests in an organization. Does testing cost of
testing offset the benefits?

Instructor Note: This would make an excellent topic for a research paper. Many fine resources are available on
the Internet and in scholarly publications for the student.
1
Some of the points in this argument are from R.J. House, S.A. Shane, and D.M. HeroId, “Rumors of the Death of Dispositional Research Are
Vastly Exaggerated,” Academy of Management Review, January 1996, pp. 203–24.
2
Based on A. Davis-Blake and J. Pfeffer, “Just a Mirage: The Search for Dispositional Effects in Organizational Research,” Academy of
Management Review, July 1989, pp. 385–400.]

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TEAM EXERCISE – What’s a “Team Personality”?

It is the unusual organization today that is not using work teams. But not everybody is a good team player. This
prompts the questions: What individual personality characteristics enhance a team’s performance? And what
characteristics might hinder team performance?
1. Break into groups of five or six.
2. Based on the research presented in this chapter, each group should (a) identify personality characteristics
they think are associated with high performance teams and justify their choices, (b) identify personality
characteristics they think hinder high performance teams and justify their choices, and (c) resolve whether it is
better to have teams composed of individuals with similar or dissimilar traits.
3. Each group should select an individual who will present the group’s findings to the class.

Note: Two keys to this exercise are 1) the “best” traits depend on the task, and 2) teams need a variety of traits
for the cross-fertilization of ideas, ways of thinking, etc.

Ethical Dilemma – Managing Emotions at Work

Our understanding of emotions at work has increased rapidly in the past decade. We are now at the point
at which we are capable of, or close to being capable of, managing the emotions of employees. For instance,
companies that want to create open and friendly work places are using the selection process to “select out” job
applicants who are not outgoing and enthusiastic and are providing training to teach employees how to smile and
appear cheerful. Some organizations are going further in attempting to create “emotionally humanistic” work
environments by not only shaping the emotions that workers evoke in their daily contacts with customers but also
by selecting employee applicants with high emotional intelligence, controlling the emotional atmosphere of teams
and work groups, and similar emotion-management practices.
Groucho Marx once joked that “the secret of success in show business is honesty and sincerity. Once you
learn how to fake that, you have got it made.” In many service organizations today, Groucho’s remark is being
applied. For instance, telephone-sales staff in a number of insurance companies are trained to invoke positive
feelings from customers—to make it easy for them to say “yes.” Employees are taught to avoid words with
negative connotations and replace them with upbeat and confidence-building words such as “certainly,” “rest
assured,” “immediate,” and “great.” Moreover, employees are taught to convey these “scripts” in a way that seems
natural and spontaneous. To ensure that these “authentic” positive feelings are consistently evoked, the phone
calls of these sales people are often monitored.
Organizations like McDonalds, Disney, and Starbucks select and program employees to be upbeat and
friendly. They allow employees no choices. Moreover, these organizations export their emotional expectations to
everywhere in the world in which they locate. When the hamburgers or lattes come to town, the typical grimace of
the Moscovite or shyness of the Finnish employee are subject to a similar genre of smile-training.
Is asking people to feign specific job-related emotions unethical if it conflicts with their basic personality?
Is exporting standardized emotional “rule books” to alien cultures unethical? What do you think?

This dilemma is based on S. Fineman, “Managing Emotions at Work: Some Political Reflections;” paper presented at a symposium at the
Academy of Management Conference; Washington, DC, August 2001.

Teaching Notes
These questions can be used as a group Q & A in class or to assign the questions as a journal entry or short
homework assignment.

Questions:
1. What is emotional labor? Is it fair for companies to ask employees to display emotions they may not be
feeling? Or, feelings that may by interpreted as “culturally out of place?”
2. Would your answer be the same if companies were asking employees to be rude or abrupt rather than
smiling? (For example, a trendy restaurant.) Or sad? (For example, a funeral home.)
3. Should individuals not be chosen for jobs when they do not display the desired behaviors? Should they
not be chosen when training would be an option?
4. How should employees be counseled on their display of emotions if it does not meet company
expectations?
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CASE INCIDENT – Roustabouts Need Understanding Too!

If you were to walk around one of Transocean Sedco Forex’s oil rigs, off the New Orleans’ coast, you would see
something that might puzzle you. Most of the workers have three stickers on their hard hats. One says “Start to
Understand Me.” The other two are colored dots. What is this all about? The colored dots are there to tell co-
workers about the personality under the hat. The company believes that workers are better able to understand
each other and get along if they know the personalities of the people with whom they have to work.

Transocean has hired an outside consulting firm to provide personality assessment to its 8,300 workers
worldwide. For instance, employees are presented with 28 sets of four words. Each worker picks a word that
describes him best and a word that describes him least. A typical set: fussy, obedient, firm, playful. Employees
then are shown how to score their test and find out their two dominant colors. For instance, reds are driven.
Yellows are emotional, talkative, and have a fondness for people. Greens are cautious and serious. Reds are
strong-willed and decisive. And blues dislike change and can be a little wishy-washy. Rig workers wear their dots
on their hats, while land-based employees post theirs outside their office doors. No one is forced to display their
colors and some think the program may be too intrusive. Tim Callais, a Transocean adviser for operational safety,
says those who question the program’s credibility are “probably blue people.”

A number of employees seem to find the dots helpful. Thom Keeton, a red–green rig manager, keeps a color
chart under the glass covering his desk for quick reference. Tom Watkins, a senior rig hand on a drilling ship who
is also a red–green, thinks the colors correctly reflect his personality: blunt, to the point, and not liking to talk
much. David Gray, a blue–yellow, says the colored dots help him deal with high-strung red–greens now that he
has figured out that he just has to get to the point more quickly.

This program is not being applied only at Transocean. Similar personality-based coding systems are being put
into place with a number of blue-collar employees. Assembly-line workers in Kentucky are using the system. So
are police officers in Kansas, electricians in Texas, construction crews in Florida, and carpenters and plumbers in
New York City.

Note to Instructor: Break up the class in groups of three or four students each. Ask them to discuss the
questions and share their answers later as a class. You might ask groups to take a decidedly “pro” or
“management” viewpoint on each question and other groups to take a decidedly “con” or a position as to why
employees may react negatively to this program. Student answers will vary, but could include the elements
bulleted below each question.

1. Are you surprised that oil-rig workers would buy into a program like this?
• Why not? Everyone has a personality despite the job he or she does. If the dots improve
communication between group members—especially oil rig workers—possibly safety can be
improved and production increased.

2. How valid do you think color-coded personality ratings are?


• Because the instrument was self scored, it may not be as valid as other similar instruments.
However, you still have some insight as to how the person sees him or herself even if the instrument
is not entirely valid.

3. Do you think having employees “wear their personalities on their hats” is a personal intrusion? Is it unethical?
• No one is forced to wear the dots, however, stating that those who do not are “probably blue” by the
advisor is insensitive and has no basis in fact. He picked the color with the least desirable traits so
that anyone without dots is perceived to have those traits, which may or may not be true.

4. Transocean’s CEO supports the program but says, “I can be whatever color I want to be.” Do you agree with
him? Explain.
• While personality traits are generally fixed, you can change your response to situations to reflect a
trait that you wish to convey.

Based on C. Cummins, “Workers Wear Feelings on Their Hard Hats and Show True Colors,” Wall Street Journal, November 7, 2000, p. A1.

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Exploring OB Topics on the World Wide Web


Search Engines are our navigational tool to explore the WWW. Some
commonly used search engines are:

www.goto.com
www.google.com
www.yahoo.com
www.lycos.com
www.hotbot.com
www.looksmart.com

1. Go to the American Psychological web site http://helping.apa.org/daily/anger.html to read about


strategies for controlling anger. Write a two page paper about what you learned and how it
might apply to your life. (For example, maybe you already use mediation as a stress reliever,
but plan to incorporate more exercise into your day.)

2. Learn more about yourself! Go to www.2h.com/personality-tests.html. There you will find a


variety of personality tests such as “Are you a Type A?,” the “Stress O Meter,” and other IQ and
personality tests. Most are free and often fun to take. Take two or three of your choice. Print
the results you get on yourself and bring them to class where we will discuss the validity of your
findings.

3. Here’s another site for personality tests. Remember these tests are more for fun than anything
else. Go to www.davideck.com/cgi-bin/test.cgi?action=personality for a variety of tests. The
“All Guide to Your Personality” is an indicator of the Big Five. There’s also the “Goofy
Personality” tests, and Kingdom Personality test among others. Print your results and bring
them to class and we will discuss the validity of your results.

4. How does your Big Five profile (completed in number 3 above) compare against the MBTI? Go
to www.personalitytype.com/quiz.html to get a brief assessment of your MBTI profile. Bring
copies of both results to class for discussion.

5. What’s your EQ? Dan Goldman has developed a short quiz to give you an idea of where you
might fall on the Emotional Quotient scale. Visit www.unte.com/azEQ.tmpl to read a brief article
published in the Unte Reader on EQ. Then select “Take the Test Now” to take the test. Be sure
to score your results and print them off. Bring to class and we will discuss the validity of the
test.

6. Read about EQ at http://trochim.human.cornell.edu/gallery/young/emotion.htm, which is now the


hottest topic in emotion theory. This site provides an overview of the theory and why it is
important. It is a great place to begin research on the topic. Write five interesting facts about
EQ and bring them to class. Be prepared to discuss how EQ can be utilized in the workplace.

7. How are personality tests and employment linked? Why would an employer or employee be
interested in the results of a personality test? Go to the following sites to learn more
http://www.signonsandiego.com/marketplace/jobs/myjobsearch/ccsdt/advance/personal/person
al2.shtml
http://www.employmentreview.com/2002-06/features/CNfeat02.asp
http://www.flinders.edu.au/careers/EmpTest.html
http://www.careerjournal.com/jobhunting/interviewing/20010622-webb.html

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http://www.hr-guide.com/data/G312.htm

Bring five new facts you learned from at least two of the above sites to class for a group
discussion.

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