Closing the Scientist-Practitioner Gap: The Big Five Personality Traits

The Big Five Personality Dimensions And Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis

Barrick, M. R., & Mount, M. K. (1991)
Personnel Psychology
1991. vol 44

Another seminal academic article for the field of IO Psychology was the work done by Murray Barrick and Michael Mount investigating the relationship between the Big Five personality traits (Extraversion, Emotional Stability, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness) and work performance (Job and training proficiency). In this study, using meta-analytic techniques, they looked across numerous datasets across positions including professionals, police, managers, sales and semi/skilled workers. Their findings on how personality is a strong predictor of workplace performance have guided several additional academic studies and more importantly they heavily influenced the practice of using personality measurement as an important applied business tool for employee selection.

  1. Conscientiousness was a valid predictor of performance across all jobs investigated.
  2. Conscientiousness was the strongest predictor of job performance compared to the other big 5 traits.
  3. Extraversion was a strong predictor of performance for jobs that required interpersonal skills (managers and sales).
  4. Openness and extraversion were a strong predictors of training proficiency.
  5. All personality traits had positive average correlations with work performance.
  6. Other traits are found to be valid predictors of performance depending on the situation and environment (job and performance types).
  7. Job type
    i. Emotional stability and agreeableness for police
    ii. Agreeableness and openness for managers
  8. Performance type
    i. Extraversion for job proficiency
    ii. Agreeableness for training proficiency

Article by Brandon Jordan

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