Dimensional models of personality have typically sought to explore personality structure principally from a descriptive perspective, and as such make for effective personality taxonomies. Fortunately, personality research is currently in transition, with researchers looking towards more complex, scientifically derived theories of personality in an attempt to learn about the biological and cognitive mechanisms underlying surface level personality dimensions. The purpose of the current research program was to test numerous structural models of the relationship between two bio-cognitive models of personality and indices of workplace behaviour. It was argued that Cloninger, Svrakic and Przybeck’s (1993) scales of personality can be modelled according to an approach/avoidance framework, and that character dimensions mediate temperament in the prediction of important workplace behaviours. It was also argued that Jackson’s (2005) scales of personality can be modelled according to an approach framework, and that Goal Orientation mediates Sensation Seeking in the prediction of important workplace behaviours.
Chapter 1 begins with a brief introduction to the study of personality from the trait perspective. This is followed by a brief overview of well known biological models of personality (e.g., Eysenck, 1967; Gray, 1982, 1987), leading to a more in depth discussion of both Cloninger et al.’s (1993) and Jackson’s (2005) models of personality. Cloninger et al.’s (1993) model is comprehensively reviewed and critiqued, based on clinical, genetic, psychometric and neurological research. A complex, structural model of Cloninger’s et al.’s (1993) scales of personality is then proposed. It is argued that Cloninger et al.’s dimensions can be modelled along an approach and avoidance theme, and that character mediates temperament in the prediction of important workplace behaviours. The introduction concludes with an overview of Jackson’s (2005) model, and key similarities between Jackson’s model and the proposed structural model of Cloninger et al.’s dimensions are highlighted. The introduction focuses on justifying the proposed mediation between temperament and character in the prediction of workplace variables.
Chapter’s 2, 3 and 4 provide empirical tests of the key hypotheses outlined in the introduction. In chapter 2, an initial, basic test of Cloninger et al.’s model was conducted, whereby the model was compared to the Big Five (Costa & McCrae, 1985) in its ability to predict leadership emergence. It was found that a substantial portion of the variance in leadership emergence was trait based, and that that the multilevel model incorporating Cloninger et al.’s (1993) dimensions provided the best fit. The purpose of chapter 3 was to assess the proposed structural model of Cloninger et al.’s (1993) personality dimensions, and to assess the utility of the model in the prediction of workplace outcomes. The results of the two studies presented in this chapter were generally consistent with the proposed structure of Cloninger et al.’s dimensions. Cloninger et al.’s model was also found to significantly predict several workplace outcomes.
In chapter 4, an alternative model of temperament and character was explored. Jackson’s (2005) model suggests that Goal Orientation mediates Sensation Seeking in the prediction of functional behaviours (i.e. an approach pathway). In this chapter, two central components of the model were tested across two studies. Regression analyses in both studies generally supported the proposed model and were consistent with the theme that character mediates temperament in the prediction of workplace variables.
A number of conclusions are made from this research. Firstly, it is argued that biological models of personality, particularly Cloninger et al.’s and Jackson’s have utility in the area of Organisational Psychology. It is argued that models of personality which recognise the differential influence of temperament and character are likely to lead to a number of accurate and interesting implications. Specifically, it is suggested that dimensions of character are more open to training and intervention than are temperament dimensions.