Personality: Characteristics, Factors, Roles, Theories of Personality (2023)

Personality: Characteristics, Factors, Roles, Theories of Personality (1)Personality is a patterned body of habits, traits, attitudes, and ideas of an individual’s, as these are organized externally into roles and statues and as they relate internally to motivation, goals, and various aspects of selfhood.

The term personality is derived from the Latin word “Persona” which means to speak through.

This Latin term was used to denote the mask, the actors used to wear in ancient Rome and Greece, An individual’s personality is the combination of traits and patterns that influence their behavior, thought, motivation, and emotion.

It drives individuals to consistently think, feel, and behave in specific ways; in essence, it is what makes each individual unique.

Over time, these patterns strongly influence personal expectations, perceptions, values, and attitudes. In addition to this, personality arises from within the individual and remains fairly consistent throughout life. It is a pattern of stable states and characteristics of a person that influence his or her behavior towards goal achievement. Each person has unique ways of projecting these states.

The study of personality focuses on two broad areas;

  1. One is understanding individual differences in particular personality characteristics, such as sociability or irritability.
  2. The other is understanding how the various parts of a person come together as a whole.

What is Personality?

According to Gordon Allport, “Personality is the dynamic organization within the individuals of those psychophysical systems that determine his unique adjustments to his environments”.

Feist and Feist said, “personality is a pattern of relatively permanent traits and unique characteristics that give both consistency and individuality to a person’s behavior.”

By personality Ogburn means “the integration of the socio-psychological behavior of the human being, represented by habits of action and feeling, attitudes and opinions.”

According to Lundberg and others, “The term personality refers to the habits, attitudes and other social traits that are characteristic of a given individual’s behavior”.

Lawrence A. Pewin said, “Personality represents those structural and dynamic properties of an individual or individuals as they reflect themselves in characteristic responses to situations”.

Hence personality is a sum total of ways in which an individual reacts and interacts with others. It is individual differences in characteristic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It is the supreme realization of the innate habit of a living being.

It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination.

For example- he has a very pleasant personality or he was an influential personality in genetic engineering.

Characteristics of Personality

Personality: Characteristics, Factors, Roles, Theories of Personality (2)

The term personality is used in various senses.

Generally, it is used to indicate the external outlook of an individual. In philosophy, it means internal quality.

But in social psychology, the term personality indicates-neither the external or outward pattern nor does it indicate the internal quality. It means an integrated whole. In the modem world and psychology, it has come to indicate the sum total of an individual’s characteristics and qualities.

Various thinkers, social psychologists, and others have defined personality in various ways. It is a sum of physical, mental and social qualities in an integrated manner.

Thus, personality is the sum of the ideas, attitudes, and values of a person which determine his role in society and form an integral part of his character. Personality is acquired by the individual as a result of his participation in group life. It refers to something much more essential and enduring about a person.

Beyond this basic point of agreement, personality has othercharacteristics or features in common.

  • Personality is something which is unique in each individual.
  • Personality refers particularly to the persistent qualities of an individual.
  • Personality represents a dynamic orientation of an organism to the environment.
  • Personality is greatly influenced by social interactions.
  • Personality represents a unique organization of persistent dynamic and social predisposition.
  • Consistency.
  • Psychological and physiological.
  • It impacts behaviors and actions.
  • Multiple expressions.

Personality is something which is unique in each individual

Personality refers to internal as well as external qualities, some of which are quite general. But it is unique to each individual. It is not possible for a person to reproduce or imitate the qualities of the personality of another person.

Personality refers particularly to persistent qualities of an individual

Every individual has a certain feeling as well as other permanent traits and qualities.

Personality is mainly composed of the persistent or permanent qualities that exhibit themselves in form of social behavior and attempt to make an adjustment with the environment.

Personality represents a dynamic orientation of an organism to the environment

Personality represents the process of learning. It takes place in reference to the environment. We do not acquire all the traits of personality at once.

Personality is greatly influenced by social interactions

Personality is not an individual quality. It is a result of social- interaction.

In other words, it means that when we come in contact with other members of society, we acquire certain qualities while We exhibit certain others. All these come to form personality.

Personality represents a unique organization of persistent dynamic and social predisposition

In personality, various qualities are not put together.

They are, in fact, integrated into one. This integration is nothing but a result of organization which may be different from man to man. The behavior of a person directed to one particular individual may differ from the behavior of another person.

That is why; we put the condition of a suitable environment. This suitability is concerned with individual specificity.


There is generally a recognizable order and regularity to behaviors. Essentially, people act in the same ways or similar ways in a variety of situations.

Psychological and physiological

Personality is a psychological construct, but research suggests that it is also influenced by biological processes and needs.

It impacts behaviors and actions

Personality does not just influence how we move and respond in our environment; it also causes us to act in certain ways.

Multiple expressions

Personality is displayed in more than just behavior. It can also be seen in our thoughts, feelings, close relationships, and other social interactions.

Actually, personality is the unique combination of patterns that influence behavior, thought, motivation, and emotion in a human being. There are many approaches to the modem psychological study of personality, including the psychodynamic, learning, humanistic, biological, trait, and cultural perspectives.

It can be described as how a person affects others, how he understands, and views himself, and his pattern of inner and outer measurable traits. It encompasses the relatively stable feelings, thoughts, and behavioral patterns a person has.

In fact, our personality changes over long periods of time.

Factors of Personality

Personality: Characteristics, Factors, Roles, Theories of Personality (3)

In the field of organizational behavior, personality is the aggregate of a person’s feelings, thinking, behaviors and responses to different situations and people.

Our personality differentiates us from other people, and understanding someone’s personality gives us clues about how that person is likely to act and feel in a variety of situations. In order to effectively manage organizational behavior, an understanding of different employees’ personalities is helpful.

Having this knowledge is also useful for placing people in jobs and organizations. Having a strong personality is the key to success. This is also a key determinant of good leadership.

A person with a positive attitude can direct his thoughts, control his emotions and regulate his attitude. Every person has a different personality and there are a lot of factors which contribute to that personality. We call them the ‘determinants of personality’or the‘factors of personality’.

  • Environmental Factors.
  • Physical Factors.
  • Situational Factors.
  • Hereditary.
  • Family and Social Factors.
  • Identification Process.
  • Cultural Factors.
  • Intelligence.
  • Sex Differences.
  • Psychological Factors.

Environmental Factors

Among the factors that exert pressures on our personality formation are the culture in which we are raised; our early conditioning; the norms among our family, friends, and social groups; and other influences that we experience.

These environmental factors play a substantial role in shaping our personalities.

It establishes the attitudes, values, norms, and perceptions of an individual. Based on the cultures and traditions, different senses of right and wrong are formed in individuals.

These environmental factors also include the neighborhood a person lives in, his school, college, university, workplace, friends, parents; everybody plays a role as the determinants of one’s personality.

Physical Factors

There are many physical factors which will determine a person’s personality. These physical factors include the overall physical structure of a person: his height, weight, color, sex, beauty, body language, etc.

Physical factors are one of the major reasons for that. Most of the physical structures change from time to time, and so does the personality. With exercises, cosmetics, surgeries etc. many physical features are changed, and therefore, the personality of the individual also evolves.

Situational Factors

The situational factors can be commonly observed when a person behaves contrastingly and exhibits different traits and characteristics. In this way, situational factors impact a personality in a significant way.

They often bring out the traits of a person that are not commonly seen. An individual’s personality, although generally stable and consistent, does change in different situations.

The different demands of different situations call forth different aspects of one’s personality. So we shouldn’t look at personality patterns in isolation (canon, & Porter, 19&). This aspect is very important for organization behavior because the manager has control over the organizational situation.


Heredity refers to those factors that were determined at conception. Physical structure, facial attractiveness, gender, temperament, muscle composition, and reflexes, energy level, and biological rhythms are characteristics that are generally considered to be either completely or substantially influenced by the parents.

Hereditary predisposes a certain mental, physical and emotional states. It has been established through research that those psychological characteristics can be transmitted through hereditary. However such conclusive proof is not available for human beings.

Family and Social Factors

Family and social groups have the most significant impact on personality development. Parents and other family members have a strong influence on the personality development of the child. Parents have more effect on personality development as compared to other members of the family.

Besides a person’s home environment and family members, there are other influences arising from social factors like- friends, neighbor, relatives, etc. These groups have their impact through socialization and identification process.

Identification Process

The identification process occurs when a person tries to identify himself with some person to whom he feels ideal in the family.

First identification can be viewed as the similarity of behavior between the child and the model.

Second identification can be looked in as the child motives or desires to be like the model.

Third, it can be viewed as the process through which the child actually takes on the attributes of the model.

Cultural Factors

Culture is the underlying determinant of human decision making. It generally determines attitude towards independence, aggression competition, and co­operation. Each culture expects and trains its members to behave in a way that is acceptable to the group


There is definitely some relationship between intelligence and personality. Intelligence is mainly hereditary. Persons who are very intelligent can make a better adjustment in home, school, and society than those persons who are less intelligent.

Sex Differences

Boys are generally more assertive, tough-minded and vigorous. They have better need to succeed with regard to interest and aptitudes. Boys show interest in machinery and outdoor activities. They prefer adventures.

But girls are less vigorous games. They are quieter and interested in personal appearance. They are more injured by personal, emotional and social problems.

Thus sex differences play a vital role in the development of the personality of an individual.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors play a big role in the functioning of human behavior and the development of one’s personality. Some of the psychological factors are- motives,acquired interests, attitudes, character, intellectual capacities etc.

Beyond the joint influence of these factors however, the relative contribution of each factor to personality varies with the character or personality process involved and perhaps with the individual concerned.

Roles of Personality in Organizational Behavior

Personality: Characteristics, Factors, Roles, Theories of Personality (4)

Personality plays a key role in organizational behavior because of the way that people think, feel, and behave effects many aspects of the workplace. People’s personalities influence their behavior in groups, their attitudes, and the way they make decisions.

In the workplace, personality affects such things as motivation, leadership, performance, and conflict. The more that management understands how personality in organizational behavior works, the better equipped they are to be effective and accomplish their goals.

One factor which determines the importance of personality in OB is the environment where the personality of an individual is being studied; after all, personality’s impact on an organization is relative and depends on how the organization has been structured.

Weakly structured organizations with loosely defined roles tend to get the most impact, compared to strongly structured organizations with more defined roles. People have many different views of the world that affect their personalities.

When a situation arises, an individual will handle it based upon his or her personal values, beliefs, and personality traits. These traits are developed throughout a person’s lifetime and cannot be easily changed, so it is more helpful for managers to attempt to understand this rather than to fight it.

There are 2 types of values governing our behaviors in an organization; personal values and the commonly held values of an organization.

We tend to act in accordance with these values, which in turn will define what is ethical and what it is not.

The beliefs and values remain relatively stable regardless of what situation we are in. Our feelings and behaviors, on the other hand, tend to be easily influenced by the environment in which we function. Traits such as openness, emotional stability, and agreeableness all predict that an individual will have less conflict, work better in teams, and have positive attitudes about his or her work.

People with this type of personality should be placed in situations where they would be working with or leading others. Positive-interpersonal skill is a personality trait that greatly affects the workplace.

Individuals who exhibit this trait generally enjoy working with other people, and they have the empathy and sensitivity that enables them to get along well with others.

Decision-making and independence are greatly affected by personality.

Personality traits such as self-efficacy, conscientiousness, and pro-activity contribute to good decision-making under pressure and independence, while traits such as neuroticism and not being open do not.

In the light of these reflections, our personal values and personalities govern our actions and behaviors, and since organizational behavior is built upon our personal values, it is of paramount importance to understand personalities of employees to make good use of organizational behavior.

One of the fundamental issues in the understanding of people’s behavior is how we understand the person in an organizational setting. Jackson and Carter (2000) pointed out that in work organizations; we often take a limited view of the person, focusing more on the degree of willingness to pursue organizational goals.

Work-related behavior of people in an organization stems from both environmental and individual factors. From the environmental approach, interpersonal, group, and societal influences and individual factors extend across cognitive abilities, acquired expertise, personality styles, motivation, and physical attributes.

A common aspect of personality is the manner in which we think of its effect on behavior. We tend to think of this in terms of a person with a particular set of traits.

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