Personalityjob Fit Theory


PERSONALITY THEORIES. A theory of personality is a set of unproven speculations about various aspects of human behavior that often invites argument from research-oriented psychologists who decry the lack of quantification and the proliferation of untestable hypotheses found in most personality theories, whereas personality theorists, in turn, criticize the laboratory approach toward understanding behavior as being too artificial and trivial. C. Hall and G. Lindzey discuss in detail what personality is, what a theory is, what a theory of personality is, and assess over 15 major personality theories. The personality theorist typically devises a variety of interrelated concepts, constructs, and terms that provide convenient descriptions of behavior and establish a framework for organizing large amounts of data. However, the definition of the term per sonality itself seems to be so resistant to a consensual-agreement statement, and so broad in usage, that most psychology textbooks (other than textbooks on personality theories) use it strategically as the title of a chapter and then expound freely on it without incurring any of the definitional or positivistic responsibilities attached to it (cf., implicit personality theory/lay personality theory and implicit theory of personality - first described by J. S. Bruner, R. Tagiuri, and L. J. Cronbach, which refers to the unconsciously held ideas that most laypeople have about the personalities of others, where they establish a complex web of assumptions about the traits and behaviors of others and assume that they will act in accordance with those assumptions). One approach toward understanding the term personality is to examine it according to the role it has played in psychological theory, in general, rather than to list its numerous definitions. Thus, the following roles, or theory-categories, of personality may be cited: (1) type theories - persons are described and classified based on a pattern of traits or other dis-positional characteristics (e.g., the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates hypothesized the four basic temperament types of: sanguine, choleric, melancholic, and phlegmatic; W. Sheldon proposed personality characteristics as related to the three body types or "somato-types" of: endomorph, mesomorph, and ecto-morph; C. Jung classified individuals as to introvert versus extravert types); (2) trait theories assume that personality may be described as a compendium of particular ways ("traits") and dispositions of behaving (cf., dispositional theory - holds that the readiness of a person to act selectively in social situations depends mainly on how that individual has acted in the past in similar settings; according to this approach, such dispositions are based on a hierarchy consisting of generalized attitudes, interests, and value systems), thinking, feeling, and reacting (e.g., G. W. All-port's cardinal, central, and secondary traits; the factor analytic approach of R. B. Cattell, who identified 16 basic dimensions as the "core" of personality; and H. J. Eysenck's approach of two fundamental dimensions - introversion versus extraversion and stability versus unstability - as the core of personality

(cf., role theory of personality - describes personality development as the gradual acquisition of roles as prescribed by a particular social unit or culture; doctrine of cultural determinism - states that environment, culture, and the combined aspects of a given society's economic, political, social, and religious organization determines personality to a greater degree than do hereditary factors; the current big five model ofpersonality traits that identifies the basic five factors in personality as: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience; and the little thirty traits that are specific personality traits associated with the big five factors, where each of the latter is described by six traits on which it loads most heavily; e.g., extroversion is associated with warmth, positive emotions, sociability, activity, excitement-seeking, and assertiveness); (3) psycho-dynamic/psychoanalytic theories, which characterize personality by the "integration" of systems (such as the manner in which unconscious mental forces interplay with thoughts, feelings, and behavior), the motivation of the person, and the concern with the development of personality over time (e.g., the personality theories of S. Freud, C. Jung, A. Adler, R. Laing, F. Perls, W. R. D. Fairbairn, and the "neo-Freudians" such as E. Fromm, H. S. Sullivan, and K. Horney; (4) behavioristic theories, which extend learning theory to the study of personality and assess personality from an outside (rather than an internal) perspective by measuring observable behaviors and reinforcement contingencies (e.g., the approaches of J. B. Watson and B. F. Skinner); (5) social learning/social cognitive theories (including situationism/situationist critique - a criticism by W. Mischel of one of the assumptions of personality theory that people display consistent behavior patterns across situations, and interactionism - proposes that human behavior is dependent partly on internal personality factors, partly on external situational factors, and partly on interactions between the two), which examine factors, in addition to external observable behaviors, such as complex social roles, memory, retention processes, modeling, observational learning, and self-regulatory processes as they contribute to the functioning of personality (e.g., the approaches of J. Dol-

lard and N. E. Miller, A. Bandura, J. Rotter, W. Mischel, A. Staats, H. J. Eysenck, and J. Wolpe; (6) humanistic theories (also called the phenomenological perspective, and the third force in psychology - so called because it developed as a reaction to both psychoanalytic and learning theories) emphasize internal experiences, feelings, thoughts, and the basic self-perceived worth of the individual human being where self-actualization/self-realization are the overall goals (e.g., the theories of C. Rogers and A. Maslow); and (7) field theories of personality - posit that humans' behaviors depend on their constitutional-birth programming and their specific social experiences, both factors interacting to produce one's particular reactions to the world. S. R. Maddi, R. J. Corsini, C. Hall and G. Lindzey, R. Ewen, D. Schultz, and L. Pervin all show the range that personality theorists cover concerning the core and structure of personality, the development and dynamics of personality, and the criteria of the healthy personality. The contributions that personality theories have made to psychology include the following: insights into dream interpretation, the causes and dynamics of psychopathology, new and creative developments in psychotherapy, facilitation of learning in work and educational settings, expanded methods of literary analysis, and fuller understanding of the nature of religious beliefs and prejudices. Some of the constructs that originated in personality theory and have enjoyed widespread acceptance in psychology include the following: the phenomena of the unconscious, parapraxes ("Freudian slips"), anxiety-reducing defense mechanisms, narcissism, transference of emotions, resistance in therapy, anxiety, introversion and extraversion, inferiority and superiority complexes, lifestyle, body language, compensation, identity crisis, intrapsychic conflict, traits, and needs for self-esteem, self-hate, self-actualization, and achievement [cf., as-if personality - a pattern of behavior that seems to be well-adjusted and normal, but the individual is unable to behave in a spontaneous, genuine, or warm manner; the as-if hypothesis - a conjecture that human actions and thoughts are guided by unproven or contradictory assumptions that are treated as if they were true; and impasse-priority theory - suggests that per-sons may show four "impasses" or efforts to avoid certain conditions: controller (avoids ridicule), pleaser (avoids insignificance), moral superiority (avoids rejection), and avoider (escapes stress)]. General criticisms and evaluations of personality theory include the suggestions that the field of personality would benefit enormously from: an increased sophistication in methodology, more sensitive discrimination between effective literary style and powerful theorizing, more freedom concerning an obligation to justify theoretical formulations that depart from normative or customary views of behavior, and an avoidance of theoretical "imperialism." Also, it may be suggested that personality theorists have been far too free with neologisms (i.e., coining new words or terms, or using existing terms in novel ways), and that the inability of personality theorists to resolve the most fundamental issues (such as the nature of human motivation) may lead people to question the merits of the entire field of personality psychology (cf., naive personality theories - refer to informal judgments that serve as premature personality assessments, and are based largely on common sense, intuition, and uncontrolled observations of self and others). On balance, however, despite such negative assessments, the area of personality theory seems to represent a potentially useful contrast and adjunct to the sometimes narrow scope of modern empirical research in psychology. See also ADLER'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; ALLPORT'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; ANGYAL'S PERSONALITY THEORY; CATTELL'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; ERIKSON'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; EYSENCK'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; FREUD'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; FROMM'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; GALEN'S DOCTRINE OF THE FOUR TEMPERAMENTS; GOLDSTEIN'S ORGANISMIC THEORY; HORNEY'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; INTELLIGENCE, THEORIES/ LAWS OF; JUNG'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; KELLY'S PERSONAL CONSTRUCT THEORY; KRETSCHMER'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; LEARNING THEORIES/LAWS; MASLOW'S THEORY OF PERSONALITY; MURPHY'S BIOSOCIAL THEORY; MURRAY'S THEORY OF







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