Friday, 14 August 2020

Personality test terms

I was putting together some definitions by Greenhaus and Callanan (2006) recently for my students, and then thought that they might be useful for all of us!
Personality: A "Personality refers to characteristics that make individuals unique, including their prototypical thoughts, emotions, interests, habits, and behaviors. Psychological in nature, personality is relatively stable over time. Almost every element of a person’s career is in part determined by [...] personality, [including] occupational choice, early career socialization, job performance, career satisfaction, and career changes are affected by personality" (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 627).
Personality Test: "Personality tests are are self-report questionnaires in which the respondent provides information about [their] feelings or behaviors" (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 633).
Broad Personality Factors: "Early work in the personality field identified nearly 18,000 words from the dictionary as being potentially useful in distinguishing people from one another", with later research narrowing this to "3,500 [...] stable personality traits", resulting in psychologists continually trying simplify and rationalise the taxonomies, "to reduce the thousands of personality traits into a smaller, more manageable set". Broad traits are at one continuum-end, demonstrating the multi-dimensionality of personality (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 629).
Individual Personality Factors: "individual personality trait[s are] a narrow and precise approach to categorizing one of the unique features of a human being[, ...] focused on a single element of personality". Many "sets of narrow personality traits [are] related; for example, someone who is generally dependable might also tend to be very organized. Narrow traits are at the other continuum-end, demonstrating the uni-dimensionality of personality (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 629).
Self-evaluation: Self-evaluation is a "broad dispositional concept referring to the extent to which people hold a positive self-concept, core self-evaluations are related to several career processes and outcomes" (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 631). "Core self-evaluations are basic evaluations that individuals hold about themselves, and they are indicated by four specific traits: self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy, locus of control, and emotional stability (low neuroticism). Core self-evaluations are related to job satisfaction, task motivation, and job performance" (Greenhaus & Callanan, 2006, p. 631).
I hope these are useful!


  • Reference: Greenhaus, J. H., & Callanan, G. A. (2006). Encyclopedia of Career Development (Vols. 1 & 2). SAGE Publications Ltd.

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