Individual behavior, personality and values - summary of chapter 2 of Organizational Behavior by Mcshane, S. (8th edition)

Organizational Behavior
Chapter 2
Individual behavior, personality and values

MARS model of individual behavior and performance

For most of the past century, experts have investigated the direct predictions of individual behavior and performance.

  • One of the earliest formulas was: performance = person X situation

Person: individual characteristics
Situation: external influences on the individuals behavior

Another formula
Performance = ability X motivation
The skill-and-will model

AMO model

Limited interpretation of the situation

Four variables

  • Motivation
  • Ability
  • Role perception
  • Situational factors

All factors critical influences on an individual’s voluntary behavior and performance
These are direct predictors of behavior on the workplace.

Employee motivation

Motivation: the forces within a person that affect his or her direction, intensity, and persistence of voluntary behavior.
Direction refers to the path along which people steer their effort. Motivation is goal-directed.

Intensity is the amount of effort allocated with the goal.
Persistence refers to the length of time that the individual continues to exert effort toward an objective. Employees sustain their effort until they reach their goal or give up beforehand.


The natural aptitudes and learned capabilities required to successfully complete a task.
Aptitudes are the natural talents.

Learned capabilities are the physical and mental skills and knowledge you have acquired. They tend to wane over time when not used.
Aptitudes and learned capabilities are the main elements of competencies.

Role perceptions

The degree to which a person understands the job duties assigned to or expected of him or her.

Role clarity exists in three forms:

  • When employees understand the specific duties or consequences for which they are accountable.
  • When employees understand the priority of their various tasks and performance expectations.
  • Understanding the preferred behaviors or procedures for accomplishing tasks.

Situational factors

Individual behavior and performance depend on the situation.
Two main influences:

  • The work context constrains of facilitates behavior and performance
  • Situations provide cues that guide and motivate people

Types of individual behavior

Task performance

The individual’s voluntary goal-directed behaviors that contribute to organizational objectives.
Three types:

  • Proficient task performance
    Prforming the work efficiently and accurately
  • Adaptive task performance
    How well employees modify their thoughts and behaviors to align with and support a new or changing environment.
  • Proactive task performance
    How well employees take the initiative to anticipate and introduce new work patterns that benefit the organization.

Organizational citizenship

Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB’s): various forms of cooperation and helpfulness to others that support the organization’s social and psychological context.

Counter-productive work behaviors

Voluntary behaviors that have the potential to directly or indirectly harm the organization.

Joining and staying with the organization

Maintaining work attendance

Organizations are more effective when employees perform their jobs at scheduled times.

Personality in organizations

Personality determinants: nature versus nurture

Personality is shaped by both nature and nurture.

Five-factor model of personality

The five broad dimensions representing most personality traits:

  • Conscientiousness
    Organized, dependable, methodical, and industrious
  • Emotional stability
  • Openness to experience
  • Agreeableness
  • Extraversion

Five-factor model and work performance

Personality mainly affects behavior and performance through motivation, specifically by influencing employees’ direction and intensity of effort.
All of the five-factor model dimensions predict one or more types of employee behavior and performance to some extent.


  • The Big Five dimensions cluster several specific traits, each of which can predict employee performance somewhat different from others in the same cluster
  • The relationship between a personality dimension or trait and performance may be nonlinear.

Conscientiousness traits of industriousness and dutifulness are the best predictors of proficient task performance.
Extraversion is the second best overall personality predictor of proficient task performance.

Agreeableness does not predict proficient or proactive task performance very well, but it does predict an individual’s performance as a team member as well as in customer service jobs.
Openness to experience is a weak predictor of proficient task performance.
Emotional stability is moderately associated with proficient task performance. One of the best personality predictors of adaptive performance.

Jungian personality theory and the Myers-Briggs type indicator

The Jungian personality theory is measured through the Myers-Briggs type indicator.

How people prefer to gather information occurs through two competing orientations:

  • Sensing
    Involves perceiving information directly through the five senses. It relies on an organized structure to acquire factual and preferably quantitative details.
  • Intuition
    Insight and subjective experience to see relationships among variables.

Judging information consists of two competing processes

  • Thinking

    • Feeling
  • Perceiving
    • Judging

Values in the workplace

Value system. People arrange their values into a hierarchy of preferences.
Each persons value system is developed and reinforced through socialization.

It is stable and long-lasting.

In reality, values exists only within individuals, they are personal values.
Groups of people might hold the same or similar values, these are shared values.

Organizational values: values shared by people throughout an organization.
Cultural values: values shared across a society.

Values and personality traits are related to each other, but differ in a few ways.

  • Values are evaluative and personality traits describe what we naturally tend to do.
  • Personality traits have minimal conflicts with each other
  • Both are partly determined by heredity, but this has a stronger influence on personality traits.

Types of values

Schwartz’s values circumplex
10 categories:

  • Universalism
  • Benevolence
  • Tradition
  • Conformity
  • Security
  • Power
  • Achievement
  • Hedonism
  • Stimulation
  • Self-direction

Each category is a cluster of more specific values.
The 10 categories are clustered in four quadrants

  • Openness to change
  • Conservation
  • Self-enhancement
  • Self-transcendence

Values and individual behavior

Personal values influence decisions and behavior in various ways.

  • Values directly motivate our actions by shaping the relative attractiveness (valence) of the choices available.
  • Values frame our perceptions of reality
  • We are motivated to act consistently with our self-concept and public self-presentation

Several factors weaken the relationship

  • The situation
  • We don’t actively think about them much of the time

Values congruence

Values tell us what is right or wrong and what we ought to do.
Values congruence: how similar a person’s values hierarchy is to the values hierarchy of another entity.

Organizations also benefit from some incongruence, with diverse perspectives.

Ethical values and behavior

Three ethical principles

  • Utilitarianism
    The only moral obligation is to seek the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
  • Individual rights
    Everyone has the same set of natural rights.
  • Distributive justice
    The benefits and burdens of similar individuals should be the same, otherwise they should be proportional.

Moral intensity, moral sensitivity and situational influences

Moral intensity

The degree to which an issue demands he application of ethical principles.

Moral sensitivity

A person’s ability to recognize the presence of an ethical issue and determine its relative importance.
Includes cognitive and emotional level awareness that something is or could be morally wrong.

Several factors are associated with a person’s moral sensitivity:

  • Expertise or knowledge of prescriptive norms and rules
  • Previous experience with specific moral dilemmas
  • Employees who are better at empathizing are more sensitive to the needs and situation of others, which makes them more aware of ethical dilemmas involving others.
  • How people define and view themselves
  • Mindfulness, a person’s receptive and impartial attention to and awareness of the present situation as well as to one’s own thoughts and emotions in that moment.

Situational factors

Ethical conduct is influenced by the situation in which the conduct occurs.

Supporting ethical behavior

Most large and medium-sized organizations maintain or improve ethical conduct through systematic practices.

  • A code of ethical conduct
  • Train and regularly evaluate employees about their knowledge of proper ethical conduct.

Values across cultures

Individualism and collectivism

Individualism: a cross-cultural value describing the degree to which people in a culture emphasize independence and personal uniqueness.

Collectivism: a cross-cultural value describing the degree to which people in a culture empathize duty to groups to which they belong ad to group harmony.

Those two are not opposites, the two are uncorrelated.

Power distance

A cross-cultural value describing the degree to which people in a culture accept unequal distribution of power in society.
Those with high power distance value unequal power.

Uncertainty avoidance

The degree to which people tolerate ambiguity (low uncertainty avoidance) or feel threatened by ambiguity and uncertainty.
High uncertain avoidance value structured situations in which rules of conduct and decisions making are clearly documented.

Achievement-nurturing orientation

Reflects a competitive versus cooperative view of relations with other people.

Caveats about cross-cultural knowledge

  • Too many studies have relied on small, convenient samples
  • Cross-cultural studies often assume that each country has one culture.
  • Cross-cultural research and writing continues to rely on a major study conducted among four decades ago.
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Organizational Behavior by Mcshane, S. (8th edition) a summary


This is a summary of the book Organizational Behavior by Mcshane, S (8th edition). This book is about psychology at the workplace. It contains for instance ways to increase employee satisfaction and workplace dynamics. The book is used in the course 'Labor and and

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