Personality Questionnaires - Science, The 'Big 5'

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The assessment of personality variables continues to have a wide appeal to organisations. Personality constructs have been demonstrated to be useful for explaining and predicting attitudes, behaviours, performance and outcomes in a range of work settings (Ones, Dilchert et al, 2007). Starting with the work of Barrick & Mount (1991), Barrick, Mount & Judge (2001), and Ones, Viswesvaran & Dilchert (2005), there is considerable evidence to suggest that personality is important in predicting the accomplishment of a wide range of work tasks. Additionally, job analyses of the components considered important in predicting overall job success are typically of a personality, as well as a cognitively, based nature (Hough & Ones, 2001).

The Personality Questionnaires are fifteen scale work personality questionnaires structured around the widely accepted "Big Five" model of personality. According to this model, the diverse array of human personality traits can be effectively summarised by the five broadly independent domains that are generally labelled as Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Emotional Stability (or "Resilience"). The model itself originated from the findings of lexical studies of personality structure, in which self, or peer ratings on a comprehensive set of personality-descriptive adjectives or phrases were factor analysed. In nearly all cases the "Big Five" emerged as the most efficient and effective model (factor analytical solution). Much of the credit for this work belongs to Goldberg, who was the first person to use the phrase "Big Five" and who subsequently went on to refine and operationalise the "Big Five" model both at the trait and facet level. (See Goldberg 1990, 1993 and 1999). Subsequent to the work of Goldberg, Costa and McCrae (1992) developed a specific Big Five personality inventory, known as the "NEO-PI-R".

The Personality Questionnaires owes much of its of inspiration to the work of Goldberg, and Costa and McCrae, particularly in the sense of retaining the Big Five model at the trait or domain level, but also of having lower level facets which feed into each of the five traits. Although there has sometimes been some debate about which particular facets fit into which particular trait or domain, the Personality Questionnaires has included those facets which are most recognisable to a user, and which are most likely to be relevant for workplace assessment. Note that in this sense, the domain of "Extraversion" is limited to the arena of "Sociability" and does not include facets such as "Activity" and "Excitement-Seeking", (Costa and MacCrae (1992)).

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