Overview of the Article
The selected article is “Personality and Organizations: A Test of the Homogeneity of Personality Hypothesis” by Schneider, Smith, Taylor, and Fleenor (1998. The purpose of the study was to investigate whether the homogeneity of personality hypothesis holds in organizations. The homogeneity of personality hypothesis presumes that organizations are relatively homogenous with respect to the personality attributes of their managers.The research study employed a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) analysis.
Research Questions for the Study
The study research question was “Does the Homogeneity of Personality Hypothesis hold in Organization?”
It had two specific objectives, first to investigate whether there were differences in modal personality within organizations, and secondly, to investigate whether there were differences in modal personality between organizations within the same industry.
The Homogeneity Hypothesis presumed that there is a sufficient lack of within-organization variability with respect to between-organization variability to permit the reliable differentiation of organizations on the basis of the personality characteristics of the people in them.Statistically, this presumption can be tested by conducting a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) using organization membership as the categorical independent variable and the four continuous MBTI dimensions as the dependent variables.
The specific objectives of the study were to investigate whether there were differences in modal personality within organizations, and secondly, to investigate whether there were differences in modal personality between organizations within the same industry.Therefore, the research study had two null hypotheses.
Objective 1: To investigate whether there were any differences in modal personality within organizations.
For this objective, the null hypothesis presumes that there are no differences in modal personality within the organization. That is, managers within the organization are homogenous in terms of their personality. The alternative hypothesis postulates that there are differences in modal personality within organizations.
H0: µPersonality of Manager 1 in Organization x= µPersonality of Manager 2 in Organization x =µPersonality of Manager 3 in Organization x
H1: µPersonality of Manager 1 in Organization x ≠ µPersonality of Manager 2 in Organization x ≠ µPersonality of Manager 3 in Organization x
Objective 2: to investigate whether there were differences in modal personality between organizations within the same industry.
The Null hypothesis for this objective presupposes that there are no differences in modal personality between organizations within the same industry.That is, the modal personality of managers in organizations within the same industry is homogenous. The alternative hypothesis supposes that the modal personality of managers in organizations within the same industry is heterogeneous.
H0: µPersonality of Manager 1 from Organization x in industry A = µPersonality of Manager 2 from Organization x in industry A= µPersonality of Manager 3 from Organization xin industry A
H1: µPersonality of Manager 1 from Organization x in industry A ≠ µPersonality of Manager 2 from Organization x in industry A≠ µPersonality of Manager 3 in Organization xin industry A
Methods and Study Design
To test the homogeneity hypothesis, the study required personality data from multiple members of different organizations. Therefore, the target participants for the study were managers from various organizations that represent different U.S industries.The participants sample sizewas 12,739 managers from 142 organizations. The sample of 142 organizations was selected to ensure a credible index of the modal personality profiles of managers by limiting organizational participation to those organizations for which at least 25 managers had completed the personality measure.The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) served as the measure of personality for the study. It classifies personality into four bipolar dimensions: Extraversion-Introversion, Thinking-Feeling, Judging-Perceiving, and Sensing-Intuition.
A MANOVA is conducted when the research question has more than one related dependent variables. Statistically, the Homogeneity Hypothesis presumption was tested by performing a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) whereby, organization membership formed the independent variable while the four continuous MBTI dimensions of Extraversion-Introversion (EI), Thinking-Feeling (TF), Judging-Perceiving (JP), and Sensing-Intuition (SI) formed the dependent variables.The independent variable, organization membership, is a categorical variable. This is because it has more than two categories which have no intrinsic ordering. On the other hand, the four MBTI dimensions that form the dependent variables are continuous variables measured at the interval or ration level.This is because they take numeric values in the MBTI and are on a real scale with clearly defined subdivisions.
The study predominantly employed the use of a MANOVA analysis. To investigate the variances in organizational membership on the four MBTI dimensions, the research employed a one-way MANOVA analysis.On the other handthe studyused a factorial MANOVA to investigate the within industry variations of the MBTI dimensions.
With regards to organizational membership, the study employed the use of Wilk’s multivariate criterion and found that there was a significant main effect in the one-way MANOVA for organizational membership on the four MBTI dimensions. This finding suggests that organizations differ with regard to the personality of their managers. The findings indicated that the total amount of shared variations between organization membership and the four MBTI canonical variates.Results of the factorial MANOVA within industry, and organization nested within industry as the independent variable and the four continuous dimensions of the MBTI as the dependent variables revealed significant although small and below standard criterion.A significant multivariate effect for organizational membership suggests that the assumption of homogeneity is tenable; however, it provides no indication of the size of the effect.
Therefore, from the findings, the study accepts the null hypothesis and rejects the alternative hypothesis for the first objective of the study. That is, there is homogeneity in personality of managers in the same organization. For the second objective, the study rejects the Null hypothesis and accepts the alternative hypothesis;there are differences in modal personality of managers between organizations within the same industry
One key shortcoming of the study which the researchers also acknowledged was the use of the MBTI as a measurement instrument in the study.A more appropriate measure could have been one based on the five-factor model or organizational culture profile. However, the use of MBTI was to some extent appropriate as it allowed for the testing of the Homogeneity hypothesis on many different managers from equally many and different organizations.
Whereas the study presents findings with regards to the homogeneity of behavior of managers within an organization, the findings fail to shed light on the causes of the homogeneity observed. The cause of the homogeneity observed can range from decisions by individuals regarding the attractiveness of organizational membership to them, decision by organizations about who is attractive as an employee, socialization tactics by organizations to imbue newcomers with the values and perspectives of the organization, to decisions by the individual or by the organization to leave the organization when a fit is not achieved. Thus, there arises a need for another research to be conducted to establish the combination of factors that influence personality homogeneity.
Due to the multiplicity and complexity of using MANOVA, together with the inclusion of many variables, it carries with it the risk of an incorrect inference. Thus, other tests such as significance test to assess the differences between the groups on all dependent variables; univariate tests; and post Hoc tests in studieswhose independent variable have more than two levels, need to be conducted on top of the MANOVA analysis to increase the chances of inferring correct conclusions.
The research study had two main objectives, to investigate the variances in organizational membership on the four MBTI dimensions and to investigate the within industry variations of the MBTI dimensions.The MANOVA analysis conducted showed a significant effect for organizational membership on the personality traits of managers.This is to say that organizations are different with regards to the personality of their members. That is, the total amount of shared variations between organizations membership and the four MBTI canonicalsvariates. Results of a second MANOVA, drawingup organizations within the same industries, disclosed a significant effect for organization as well as industry on the personality of managers.This means that differences within industry and organizations within industry and the personality characteristics of their managers are significant, but when compared to industry standards the difference is significantly small and belowstandard levels.
Concisely, the findings from the analysis suggest support for the hypothesis that organizations are relatively homogenous with regards to the personality characteristics of their managers, but differ with regards to the personality characteristics of their managers across organizations.
The carrying out of the study was important for a number of reasons. First, the findings of the research study would be instrumental in explaining the behavior of organizations. The findings would also be invaluable to persons interested in the study of individual differences in people in the work place in understanding organizational behaviour, strategy, structure, culture and organizational effectiveness. Second to a job seeker, the findings would be invaluable in choosing an organization to work for as he will be able to compare the personality traits associated with a particular organization and match them with his own personality traits and therefore be in a position to analyze his chances of getting employed in that particular organization and his chances for retention. Finally, the findings would go along way in explaining the failure of many structural rearrangements to yield long-term organizational change, due to in part, the modal personalities of the people in the organization and the notion that the existing structural arrangements fit the people in that organization. Therefore, this research study was a very important undertaking.
Schneider, B., Smith, D. B., Taylor, S., & Fleenor, J. (1998). Personality and Organizations: A Test of the Homogeneity of Personality Hypothesis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(3), 462-470.
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