Personality, Perception


The word personality is derived from a Greek word “persona” which means “to speak through.” Personality is the combination of characteristics or qualities that forms a person’s unique identity. It signifies the role which a person plays in public. Every individual has a unique, personal and major determinant of his behavior that defines his/her personality.

Personality trait is basically influenced by two major features −

  • Inherited characteristics
  • Learned characteristics

Inherited Characteristics

The features an individual acquires from their parents or forefathers, in other words the gifted features an individual possesses by birth is considered as inherited characteristics. It consists of the following features −

  • Color of a person’s eye
  • Religion/Race of a person
  • Shape of the nose
  • Shape of earlobes

Learned Characteristics

Nobody learns everything by birth. First, our school is our home, then our society, followed by educational institutes. The characteristics an individual acquires by observing, practicing, and learning from others and the surroundings is known as learned characteristics.

Learned characteristics includes the following features −

  • Perception− Result of different senses like feeling, hearing etc.
  • Values− Influences perception of a situation, decision making process.
  • Personality− Patterns of thinking, feeling, understanding and behaving.
  • Attitude− Positive or negative attitude like expressing one’s thought.

Traits of Personality

Personality traits are the enduring features that define an individual’s behavior. A personality trait is a unique feature in an individual. Psychologists resolved that there are five major personality traits and every individual can be categorized into at least one of them. These five personality traits are −

  • Extrovert
  • Neurotic
  • Open
  • Agreeable
  • Conscientious

Major Personality Attributes

Following are the five major personality attributes that influence OB

Locus of Control

Locus of control is the center of control of an individual’s code of conduct. People can be grouped into two categories i.e., internals and externals respectively.

People who consider themselves as the masters of their own fates are known as internals, while, those who affirm that their lives are controlled by outside forces known as externals.

Before making any decision, internals actively search for information, they are achievement driven, and want to command their environment. Thus, internals do well on jobs that craves complex information processing, taking initiative and independent action.

Externals, on the other hand, are more compliant, more willing to follow instructions, so, they do well in structured, routine jobs.


Machiavellianism is being practical, emotionally distant, and believing that ends justify means.

Machiavellians are always wanting to win and are great persuaders. Here are the significant features of a high-mach individuals −

  • High-Machs prefer precise interactions rather than beating about the bush.
  • High-Machs tend to improvise; they do not necessarily abide by rules and regulations all the time.
  • High-Machs get distracted by emotional details that are irrelevant to the outcome of a project.


It is the extent up to which people either like or dislike themselves. Self-Esteem is directly related to the expectations of success and on-the-job satisfaction.

Individuals with high self-esteem think that they have what it takes to succeed. So, they take more challenges while selecting a job.

On the other hand, individuals with low self-esteem are more susceptible to external distractions. So, they are more likely to seek the approval of others and to adapt the beliefs and behaviors of those they respect.


Self-monitoring is the capability of regulating one’s behavior according to social situations. Individuals with high self-monitoring skill easily adjust their behavior according to external, situational factors. Their impulsive talents allow them to present public personae which are completely different from their private personalities.

However, people with low self-monitoring skills cannot cover themselves. Regardless of any situation, they are always themselves. They have an attitude of, “what you see is what you get.”

Risk taking

Generally, managers are reluctant on taking risks. However, individual risk-taking inclination affects the bulk of information required by the managers and how long it takes them to make decisions.

Thus, it is very important to recognize these differences and align risk-taking propensity with precise job demands that can make sense.


 Perception is an intellectual process of transforming sensory stimuli to meaningful information. It is the process of interpreting something that we see or hear in our mind and use it later to judge and give a verdict on a situation, person, group etc.

It can be divided into six types −

  • Of sound− The ability to receive sound by identifying vibrations.
  • Of speech− The competence of interpreting and understanding the sounds of language heard.
  • Touch− Identifying objects through patterns of its surface by touching it.
  • Taste− The ability to receive flavor of substances by tasting it through sensory organs known as taste buds.
  • Other senses− They approve perception through body, like balance, acceleration, pain, time, sensation felt in throat and lungs etc.
  • Of the social world− It permits people to understand other individuals and groups of their social world. Example − Priya goes to a restaurant and likes their customer service, so she will perceive that it is a good place to hang out and will recommend it to her friends, who may or may not like it. Priya’s perception about the restaurant is good.

Perceptual Process

Perceptual process are the different stages of perception we go through. The different stages are:

  • Receiving
  • Selecting
  • Organizing
  • Interpreting


Receiving is the first and most important stage in the process of perception. It is the initial stage in which a person collects all information and receives the information through the sense organs.


Selecting is the second stage in the process. Here a person doesn’t receive the data randomly but selectively. A person selects some information out of all in accordance with his interest or needs. The selection of data is dominated by various external and internal factors.

  • External factors− The factors that influence the perception of an individual externally are intensity, size, contrast, movement, repetition, familiarity, and novelty.
  • Internal factors− The factors that influence the perception of an individual internally are psychological requirements, learning, background, experience, self-acceptance, and interest.


Keeping things in order or say in a synchronized way is organizing. In order to make sense of the data received, it is important to organize them.

We can organize the data by −

  • Grouping them on the basis of their similarity, proximity, closure, continuity.
  • Establishing a figure ground is the basic process in perception. Here by figure we mean what is kept as main focus and by ground we mean background stimuli, which are not given attention.
  • Perceptual constancy that is the tendency to stabilize perception so that contextual changes don’t affect them.


Finally, we have the process of interpreting which means forming an idea about a particular object depending upon the need or interest. Interpretation means that the information we have sensed and organized, is finally given a meaning by turning it into something that can be categorized. It includes stereotyping, halo effect etc.

Importance of Perception in OB

We need to understand what the role of perception in an organization is. It is very important in establishing different role of perceptions like −

  • Understanding the tasks to be performed.
  • Understanding associated importance of tasks allotted.
  • Understanding preferred behavior to complete respective tasks.
  • Clarifying role perceptions.

For example, every member in a group has to be clear regarding the role allotted to them. Programmer writes the code, tester checks it, etc.

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