Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses in Solving Work Problems: A Knowledge and Appraisal Personality Architecture (KAPA) Analysis of the Trait Conscientiousness and Self-Efficacy

Academic journal article International Journal of Psychological Studies

Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses in Solving Work Problems: A Knowledge and Appraisal Personality Architecture (KAPA) Analysis of the Trait Conscientiousness and Self-Efficacy

Article excerpt

Abstract

Our goal was to demonstrate the effect of personal strengths and weaknesses when solving work related problems among students enrolled in business courses. We predicted that each participant would uniquely activate personal knowledge (such as strengths and weaknesses) in situations idiosyncratically judged as relevant to his or her strength or weakness. 65 participants completed all the measures of a two-study program (37 participants in study 1 and 28 participants in study 2). At the outset of both studies, participants completed a card sorting task regarding the relevance of self identified (via a brief written narrative) personal strengths and weaknesses to work related problems. In both studies, we primed our participants with their personal strengths and personal weaknesses (counter balance session 1 and session 2) then assessed their self-efficacy for solving work related problems. In study 1 we also assessed the participants' perceived effectiveness at solving work problems. The results indicated that perceived self-efficacy varied as a function of the interaction between personal knowledge and appraisal of the situations. Participants who were primed with their personal strength (weakness) reported the highest (lowest) self-efficacy for the work problems that were relevant to their strength (weakness). The results also indicated that self-efficacy in turn mediated perceived effectiveness to handle work problems over conscientiousness.

Keywords: K?P?, idiographic personality assessment, self-efficacy, strengths and weaknesses, conscientiousness

1. Introduction

Assessing personality dispositions of current or prospective employees is important in a job setting. Employers view personality assessment as a diagnostic tool because it has predictive value on how employees would perform. For instance, it has been routinely demonstrated that people who display high levels on the trait conscientiousness are in essence better workers than those who do not (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Jackson et al., 2010; Moon, 2001). What appears to be missing in the extant literature is a complete understanding of what predisposes employees to reach, maintain or develop conscientious behavior at work. Scholars believe that personality assessment of traits on a global level would be better explained by intra-individual variations in points of personal strengths and weaknesses relevant to designated settings (Caprara & Cervone, 2000; Cervone 2004; Cervone et al., 2008; Orom & Cervone, 2009). Thus, using models that entail a finite analysis of intra-individual variability is advantageous to further investigate how workers solve problems in a job setting.

1.1 Personality Assessment and the Contextualization of Traits

Where the Five Factor Model succeeded in providing descriptions for the five broadest personality traits among individuals, the Big Five (Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness to Experience, Emotional Stability, and Conscientiousness) merely account for singular traits on an inter-individual, global level, thus discounting for the intra-individual variability of responses to different situations (Beckmann, Wood, Minbashian, 2010; Borsboom, Mellenbergh, Van Heerden, 2003). Situations, or the context in which a behavior takes place, contain different psychological characteristics that reflect meanings and consequences in different manners among individuals (Fleeson, 2007). For example, one employee may approach a review with more anxiety than another employee who may remain calm during the same evaluation. Conversely, the same employee who experienced anxiety during the review may remain composed while speaking in public. Essentially, situations are never approached the same way by any two individuals because of intra-individual differences (Cervone, 2004). Personality coherence research showed long since that people display unique profiles of behavior in context (Cervone & Shoda, 1999; Mishel & Shoda, 1995) and that such unique profiles can be successfully utilized to remove everyday challenges that impede pursuing one's selected activities (Artístico et al. …

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