One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is our research partnership with Deakin University. SACS has co-ventured with Deakin on a range of research projects associated with values, personality, engagement, leader behaviours and work outcomes such as good and bad behaviours of employees.
A couple of weeks ago we received the great news that the Journal for Research in Personality accepted for publication a paper of which I was co-author on the question of the relationship between personality and values. Could, for instance, a person’s values be predicted if we happen to know their personality? We know that there is a strong genetic component to personality, whereas values are believed to be largely learnt during the course of life. Here is the essence of what we found:
- Personality predicts values, particularly if you use the HEXACO (SACS recommended personality model) much better than previous researchers had found.
- On average just over 25% of a person’s value set is driven by his or her personality.
- The accuracy with which personality predicts values varies depending on the value, with:
- Power seeking heavily driven by personality, (just under 50%) suggesting a strong genetic component to the desire to dominate others.
- Benevolence being relatively lightly driven by personality, (just over 20%) suggesting the intriguing proposition that people can be taught to be kind and helpful to each other.
If you are into reading academic papers and want the full story click here.
From previous research we discovered that if you want to predict an important work outcome such as negative behaviours personality is way more effective than values (we found 40% accuracy for personality and just over 17% for values). Together they work very well (45% accuracy in total in that previous study) because personality characteristics represent an underlying tendency, such as to be hardworking, whereas values are goals – eg I believe that it is important to help others. If you want to measure these characteristics in prospective employees, check the Personality Assessment services page.
Especial thanks to Jeromy Anglim from Deakin for doing the heavy number crunching and leading the write up of the paper.
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