Individual’s Behavior and Personality Traits

Subject: Psychology
Pages: 7
Words: 1667
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College

An individual’s behavior is affected in several ways by various factors. The four common factors influencing individual behavior are motivation, ability, role perception, and situational factors. Motivation refers to forces within an individual, which affects his or her direction, persistence, and intensity of his or her voluntary behavior. In this case, direction refers to opting to put effort into a given responsibility while intensity refers to the amount of energy allocated to a given task.

On the other hand, persistence refers to the period that an individual allocates to a certain task. The second factor that influences the behavior of an individual is widely known as ability. People understandability in different ways. However, ability refers to both aptitude and learned capabilities. Aptitude means one’s natural talent that helps him to discover certain tasks quickly as well as perform given duties perfectly compared to other individuals. In contrast, learned capability refers to diverse knowledge and skills that an individual acquires over time.

The acquired abilities, which help a person to perform a task more effectively and efficiently, maybe mentally or physically. The third factor, which influences an individual’s behavior, is role perception. Role perception refers to the way one understands the tasks and duties assigned or responsibilities expected to carry out. Role perception requires that one understands a specific task he or she is required to perform in addition to recognizing priorities of various duties and tasks.

If different ways of carrying out the task are available, then one should consider the most appropriate behavior of performing the task. The fourth aspect that determines the behavior of an individual is situational factors. These external conditions are beyond the control of an individual and in most cases, they tend to influence the behavior and performance of an individual. The situational characteristics are rarely influenced.

People tend to abide by situational factors, for instance, terrible economic conditions. Nevertheless, situational factors originate within the organization, and individuals within the organization have some degree of control over them. The situational factors can either relate to budget, employees, specified period, and the facilities within the organization among other things.

For a long time, it has appeared that many scholars have come to one agreement that the five-factor theory adequately categorizes the broad personality traits. The big five dimensions of personality characteristics are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Characteristics of the extraversion include being talkative, social, and assertive in addition to possessing a high degree of emotions.

Extraversion helps an individual to remain aggressive while performing various tasks. The second character, agreeableness, has several attributes associated with it such as affection and trust. Most managers appreciate this character since the employee is susceptible to following the rules and procedures as given by the employer, as opposed to arguments and confrontations.


Conscientiousness is the third trait that is portrayed by a certain group of people. These individuals are thoughtful, having good impulse control over and above possessing goal-directed behaviors. These characters are essential since the organization will have employees that can make critical decisions on behalf of managers. The fourth character that was categorically identified, neuroticism, features several characteristics including moodiness, sadness, failure of controlling emotions, high levels of anxiety, and tetchiness.

These individuals often fail to control their temper and emotions hence they end up bringing more complications in an organization. Openness portrays several features such as insight over and above imagination. The openness trait is helpful as it assists managers in recognizing the needs and situations of employees.

Social identity theory denotes that an individual has different personal selves, which corresponds to the different circles of a group membership. This can be explained by a situation in which an individual may think or act under a personal, community or national level of self is influenced by various social contexts. On the other hand, self-concept emphasizes how identity is built through interaction. In particular, an individual is believed to interact with society and therefore acquire characteristics that identify him or her.

Social identity and stereotyping have large influences on the perceptual process. As noticed, perception can be defined as the different ways in which individuals interpret different things. Stereotyping refers to generalizing traits of certain age groups, ethnic groups, or certain communities without putting into consideration variations between individuals. It would be impossible to perceive a certain group of people to possess a certain uniform character. This could not be true for all individuals. Also, one might perceive that an individual from a certain circle of membership in a given society posses a given character because the group acts or behave in a certain manner.


Attribution is the process of assigning motives and actions with a major aim of determining an individual’s behavior. This process attempts to determine whether an individual’s behavior is determined by situational factors or dispositional factors. The dispositional attributions indicate that an individual personality and intellectual factors, which are unique to the person, are responsible for the kind of character possessed by that individual.

Such an individual would portray features such as laziness, intelligence, assertiveness among other features. Conversely, situational attribution denotes that the external environment in which an individual is exposed is responsible for a given behavior. This might include good advice from friends and family members, bad lack, or good among other external factors. However, the two attributions would most likely fail to differentiate between a character that was influenced by the external environment and one that an individual was born with. The two attributions also fail to depict in a person’s character that remains dormant.

Self-fulfilling prophecy refers to a prediction in which the calculation might turn out to be true. The happening turning out to be true as predicted is mostly influenced by positive feedback between behavior and belief. The prediction normally turns out to be true since many people develop fear as well as logical confusion and therefore, the feelings and reactions eventually end up fulfilling the false prophecy.

Emotions and cognition normally affect our behavior and attitudes. Emotions are psychological, behavioral, and physiological episodes experienced towards an event or an object, which usually create a state of readiness. It normally occurs without our awareness.

On the other hand, cognition is a developed perception of an attitude towards an object, which is majorly facilitated by beliefs. Once an individual is subjected to a certain situation, such as those triggering happiness, he or she might tend to show behavior and attitude that is friendly. Similarly, if one develops a hatred attitude towards a certain event or a belief that an event or an object does not deserve to be liked, one would not change his or her attitude no matter how one would be influenced by someone else.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is a range of non-cognitive skills, knowledge, and abilities that help an individual to cope up with the demanding pressures of the external environment and always stay successful. The four dimensions of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, which pertains to knowing one’s capabilities as well as recognizing one’s emotions, preferences, and intuitions. Self-management involves managing one’s internal state and resources to strive to attain a given goal.

Self-awareness refers to understanding other people’s needs and concerns while social skills are dexterities associated with sharing with other people a common goal and frequently persuading as well as convincing them with certain messages.

Stressor might produce different stress levels in two people due to several factors, including the way an individual perceives the stressor as well as the extent to which an individual is exposed to the stressor. For instance, working for long hours might provide more time for someone who likes the job to continue working for extra hours. On the other hand, someone who dislikes the job would feel bored.

Maslow provided a pyramid showing the hierarchy of needs. He arranged the needs from the basic ones to the ones with high degrees of prestige. At the bottom, Maslow mentioned psychological needs such as breakfast and lunch programs, and correct temperatures as being important to humankind. The second need, which is perceived to be more basic, is safety needs such as security for one’s job position. Belongingness and love fall in the third category.

Esteem needs and self-actualization falls in the fourth and fifth categories respectively. Maslow noted that these factors are very important in motivating employees. He asserted that employees should be guaranteed a secure job position, be allowed to form informal groups within the organization, and given freedom of exploiting their full potentials in their respective areas.

McClelland suggested that specific needs are acquired over time since one is shaped by life experiences. McClelland advocated for three needs that is, need for achievement, need for power, and need for affiliation. The need for power regards efforts that one puts in gaining reputation, having great influence and impact upon certain people or events as well as straining to achieve certain positions in society, to gain recognition. The need for achievement is concerned about creating and sustaining standards of performance. The need for affiliation deals with the maintenance of social ties.

Expectancy Theory Model

Expectancy Theory Model

Three aspects are considered at this point. The first aspect is valence in which value is placed on the specified reward. Expectancy is another factor in which there is a belief that certain endeavor would lead to performance. The last aspect is instrumentality where performance is tied to a certain reward. In this situation, one might tend to believe that perceived effort would not result in the required performance. Similarly, an employee might tend to believe that a given performance may fail to result in a given reward.

A challenge also arises given that individuals always place value on various rewards, concerning their preferences and their perceptions. It, therefore, becomes important for one to consider the efforts of performance and reward given to motivate employees who may perceive the reward as equal to the efforts they have performed.