The Impact Of Intelligence And Personality On Individuals’ Behaviors And Performance At Work

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Intelligence and personality feature as significant concepts to formal scientific literature and contemporary discussions of psychological phenomena. Associated importance of the ideas derives from their reference to powerful, broad attributes regarding humans, which influence motivation, cognition, and behaviour in various settings, including work. Despite personality and intelligence availing essential techniques of summarizing considerable individual dissimilarities regarding human performance, the concepts do not answer the same types of questions. Personality primarily centres on content questions concerning organization, substance, or meaning of a person’s thoughts, actions, feelings, and perceptions. Intelligence deals with ‘effectiveness’ as it establishes how well people perform in line with some externally and internally describe criterion. Various intelligence and personality theories abound that explicate human functioning and motivations. Examples of personality theories include Freud’s theory, the tripartite theory of personality, trait approach to personality, Allport’s trait theory, and last, Eysenck’s personality theory. Examples of intelligence theories include Spearman’s theory, Triarchic theory on intelligence, and last, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. Thus, this essay explores how intelligence and personality influence or determine individuals’ behaviours and performance at work.

Theoretical Background

Woods & West (2010) consider intelligence as the mental quality, which comprises the potential to learn from experience, adjust to new circumstances, handle and comprehend abstract concepts, and finally apply knowledge to influence an individual’s environment. Differences in the definitions by different scholars abound. For instance, Edward L. Thorndike and Lewis M. Terman differed in their description of intelligence as the latter considered it as the ability to think abstractly while Thorndike defined it as learning with regards to the potential to provide right questions and responses (Cassady & Eissa, 2008).

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Wilde (2016) cites that Charles Spearman tried to explain intelligence with the use of subjects. Spearman’s intelligence theory avers that humans possess a simplified form of information christened as the g-factor, which contributes to other dedicated forms of intelligence determined by the s-factor. The S-factor scores derive from the total of G-factor, and it assesses an individual’s potential in a single area. Sample S-factor intelligence includes verbal comprehension, memory, attention, abstract reasoning, and spatial skills.

Triarchic theory of intelligence advanced by Robert Sternberg divides human intelligence into three types, including creative, analytical, and practical intelligence. The innovative approach concerns an individual doing something in a new way, while analytical knowledge comprises an individual’s ability to evaluate information and apply deductive reasoning to reach a credible solution. Last, practical intelligence refers to the intelligence aligned with common sense reasoning (Chamorro-Premuzic & Furnham, 2014). Balanced inclusivity of all the above intelligence results in the most exceptional life success.

Settling on the best theory of intelligence stems as a tough feat considering that different approaches use different concepts to explain the application of intelligence. However, contemporary theories such as Sternberg’s and Gardner’s theory provide promising and novel insights (Truxillo, Bauer, & Erdogan, 2015).

Druskat, Mount, & Sala (2013) link personality to the pattern of feelings, thoughts, behaviours, and social adjustments continually depicted, which influence an individual’s self-conceptions, expectations, attitudes, and values. Besides, personality forecasts human reactions to stress, other people, and problems (Furnham, 2008). Personality theories fall into four main categories, including trait, psychoanalytic, social-cognitive, and humanistic. Chmiel (2008) indicates that all the latter approaches focus on the origin and development of personality traits and identity. For instance, psychoanalytic theories explore human behaviour concerning the interactions of different aspects of personality. As a founder of psychoanalytic theories, Freud categorizes personality into three components, including the ID, Ego, and the Super-ego (Rothmann & Cooper, 2015). The ID responds to the pleasure principle while the Ego emerges to sensibly meet the demands and wishes of the ID as per the external world while focusing on the reality principle. Last, the Super-ego features societal rules and moral judgment on the Ego, resulting in ID observing morality (Lewis, 2011).

Behaviourist theories explore personality in line with how external stimuli influences behaviour. The behavioural approach features a shift from Freudian school as it insists on the need for empirical thought and experimentation (MacRae & Furnham, 2014). B. F Skinner abounded as the founder of the behavioural school and advanced a model that denoted the interaction pf the organism with its surroundings. He explained personality in terms of nature and nurture (Lawson, Anderson, & Rudiger, 2015).

Humanistic theories deem behaviour in terms of free will. The latter approach centres on subjective knowledge of individuals as opposed to definitive, forced actors, which determine behaviour. Maslow features as a significant theorist under this school and advances four primary dimensions, including awareness, acceptance, reality and problem focus, and last unhostile sense of humour/democratic.

Behaviour and Performance at Work

Furnham (2012) personality traits influence an individual’s behaviour and performance at work. Primarily, personality derives its influence from cultural, biologically, and life events. The personality measures fit under the Big-five personality measure, which explains how personality influences behaviour and performance at the workplace. For example, outgoing individuals function best in social environments or where they can interact freely. In job environments, outgoing individuals provide helpful and friendly customer service, and they can motivate other workers through their upbeat nature and happiness. Personality also influences individuals’ behaviour through an intense work ethic. Employees with fervour prioritize their jobs. Hodson (2001) cites that work ethic drives employees to work late and get assignments done early. However, employees with a weak work ethic typically demand oversight and management to keep them centred on their work (Wilde, 2016). Personality also influences work behaviour and performance through motivation. Employers should comprehend what motivates their employees. Cassady & Eissa (2008) indicate that figuring out individual employee motivation abounds as a problem, which employers need to figure out. For instance, some employees prefer recognition among their colleagues while others stem as self-motivated as they derive satisfaction from completing the task assigned to them. Personality also depicts individuals’ attention to detail at work. For example, some employees make broad, creative plans devised to keep an organization moving forward, and they establish new proposals to deal with the current issues.

Emotional intelligence abounds as a mixture of supervisory abilities that comprise a prominent control regarding how supervisors’ cooperate with other people. Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in forecasting a leader’s effectiveness. Besides, emotional intelligence exudes leadership potentials and capabilities. Work performance indicators comprise organizational ambidexterity, happiness, subjective comfort, and burning out of a place of work, among other factors. Intelligence influences employees to provide excellent services to customers. For instance, intelligence permits employees to approach clients and tender their assistance and services. Besides, intelligence enables employees to espouse all safety procedures and practices. Lower emotional intelligence and responsiveness linked with higher levels of job frustrations, disappointments, and distrust, which affects the organization’s performance in the long run. Emotional intelligence directly and positively aligns with organizational performance and job satisfaction. Emotional intelligence influences the job satisfaction of other employees. For example, the latter derives credence from the premise that managers with high emotional intelligence perform better than managers depicting lower emotional intelligence. Higher emotional intelligence elicits positive sentiments that, in turn, augment the level of job satisfaction, while attitudes such as hopelessness, dissatisfaction, and annoyance tend to decrease the level of job satisfaction. Hodson (2001) cites that since emotional responsiveness features as part of emotional intelligence, it also relates to job satisfaction.


This essay explored and evaluated how intelligence and personality determine individuals’ behaviour and performance at work. Associated significance of intelligence and personality as Psychological terms derives from their reference to powerful, broad attributes regarding humans, which influence motivation, cognition, and behaviour in various settings, including work. Research describes intelligence as the mental quality, which comprises the potential to learn from experience, adjust to new circumstances, handle and comprehend abstract concepts, and finally apply knowledge to influence an individual’s environment. Theories linked to intelligence include Spearman’s intelligence theory and the Triarchic theory of intelligence, as discussed above. Personality theories fall under the behavioural, psychoanalytic, and humanistic categories. The approaches discussed above help to comprehend how intelligence and personality influence behaviour and performance in the work environment. Comprehension of different personalities facilitates knowledge regarding different motivations at work. For example, employees with fervour prioritize work while employees with a weak work ethic typically demand oversight and management to keep them centred on their work. Emotional intelligence also facilitates comprehension of work performance through the various elements of emotional intelligence. Some features associated with emotional intelligence include self-regulation, self-awareness, social skill, empathy, and motivation. For example, social skills entail the potential to build and maintain social relations and strong personal relationships with others. The latter encompasses having some of the skills indicated above, including self-regulation and empathy.


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