Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

The Effect of Personality on Academic Performance: Evidence from Two University Majors

Academic journal article Business Education & Accreditation

The Effect of Personality on Academic Performance: Evidence from Two University Majors

Article excerpt


Our study focuses on the effect of personality type and personality preferences measured by the Myers- Briggs typology, on higher education students' choice of profession and on their academic performance. We statistically analyzed a sample from two slightly similar bachelor majors studied at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, to reveal both the general and major-specific effects of personality. We have found that the most frequent types in both majors were ENFJ and ESFJ; however, differences were revealed in the relative frequencies in the ESTJ, ISTJ and ENFJ types. We identified significant differences between the majors in the average preferences along the introversion-extraversion scale and in the sensing-intuition dichotomies (the latter was significant only for female students). We also found differences in the explanatory power of personality for the two majors and also in the types and preferences which contribute positively or negatively to academic success.

JEL: A22, A23,121

KEYWORDS: Business Education, Higher Education, Career, Personality Type, MBTI


The social sciences have long been interested in the relationship between personality and career. However, we can examine the effect of personality on the success of an individual in at least 5 phases of his/her career: (1) performance in public education, (2) choice of profession, (3) performance in vocational, professional or higher education, (4) choice of job, and (5) success in the given job, e.g. work performance, income, advancement, and job satisfaction. The earlier phases are likely to have a significant effect on the later ones as they ground the later phases. Empirical studies confirm that personality contributes to personal achievement to at least some degree in public education (e.g. Neuenschwander et al., 2013, Laidra et al., 2007), to decisions about the choice of academic major and profession (e.g. Borges and Gibson, 2005, Cano and Garton, 1994, Hartung et al., 2005, Dunning, 2001, Hinton and Stockburger, 1991, Sears et al., 1997, Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993, Borges and Savickas, 2002), to performance in vocational, professional and higher education (e.g. Borg and Shapiro, 1996, Borg and Stranahan, 2002a, Borg and Stranahan, 2002b, Ziegert, 2000, Ditiberio and Hammer, 1993), to the choice of job (e.g. Lawrence, 1986, Keirsey and Bates, 1984, p. 155-166, Kennedy 2002), and to success in the labor market, whether this is in terms of job performance (e.g. Barrick et al., 2001, Judge and Bono, 2001), wages and advancement (e.g. Andrisani, 1977, 1981, Cobb-Clark and Tan, 2009), or job satisfaction (e.g. Ayan and Kocacik, 2010, Judge et al., 2000, Judge and Bono, 2001, Judge et al., 2005).

Our study contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between personality and career by answering three research questions. First, it compares the two academic majors in our sample (BA in 'Business Administration and Management' (BAM) and BSc in 'Business Informatics' (BI)) by the personality types of their students, and examines whether there are any significant differences between them, i.e. it searches for results for the second phase. It builds the examination on the Myers-Briggs personality typology (Briggs-Myers et al., 1998). The second research question explores the effect of personality type as an independent variable on academic success in the two selected majors. The third research question focuses on the same role of the four personality preferences underlying the MyersBriggs typology. In the case of the first research question we have the opportunity to compare our findings to previous research results found in the literature. However, we do not have any information about any examinations similar to our second and third analyses.

The second section of the study briefly introduces the personality typology used in the research and the results of various studies from the literature dealing with similar research questions. …

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