The Intersection of Personality and TechnologyThe creation of the has changed how humans perceive the world and communicate, for example the workplace. This new form of communication causes changes in human behaviors and personalities. In short, the internet has spawned the e-ego, an online personality that differs from how people would normally behave in a face-to-face situation. This e-ego has the tendency to bring out the worst in people or foster a completely different persona than intended. Because of a lack of physical interaction, people are more likely to act like a worse version of themselves.[1] An easy example of this being true is the occurrence of cyber bullying. Although this is not as likely to occur in a work setting, it is worth considering the harmful effects of personality in the presence of technology.

However, the effects of the internet in the workplace are not all bad. In fact, there are many great advances in this technology that now allow for smoother operations. The job interview process is a prime example of this. When deciding on new employees, résumés can now be submitted, personality tests given, and interviews can all be transmitted via the internet contributing to a more convenient and efficient recruitment process to fill positions and search for jobs. Many notable corporations such as Albertson's, Neiman Marcus and Target now regularly give online personality tests when prospective employees submit applications and résumés[2] . The results of these tests directly effect a person's possibility to be hired.

This wiki will research personality and technology in the workplace in breadth to try to comprehend the full extent to which personality and technology together can harm or help the work setting.



Personality Testing

It has become a staple in most American businesses, especially during the hiring process. Although it is a useful tool in identifying the best fit for a position, it is also unreliable in some issues.[3]

The first issue is when linear algorithms are used for personnel selection. For some companies, selecting a potential employee is about how the applicants will answer certain questions that analyze their potential fit in a position. With the linear algorithms, the highest or lowest scores are given the most favorable attention. However, it is possible that an applicant could be too outgoing or open-minded to do the job correctly. Following some testing on specific personality variables, researchers have found that many traits are better represented by a nonlinear equation, creating a bell-curve type model. With this new model, the best suitable applicants actually score in the middle-range for different personality traits.

The second issue is limiting one's performance because of personality instead of ability. It is often perceived that people can foresee how others would react to certain situations or guess how others would spend their time. However, there are always exceptions to every rule. An extrovert, for example, could be a great mathematician or an introvert could be a great politician. By determining job fits by personality, other characteristics or abilities can be overlooked.

Testing one's ability would be a better way to guess if an applicant would fit in a certain job. The biggest problem with this is that it's hard to do so. For example, one's ability to work with Microsoft Excel is not completely dependent upon previous job experience. So how would you discover one's ability as smoothly and as easily as personality? Also, if personality is the greatest factor for whoever gets a job, it could cut down the diversity in a given field of employment, stopping constructive conflict and allowing people with the ability to achieve job tasks to fall through the cracks in the employment process.

The third issue is that there are problems with detecting fake tests. Personality tests makes one interpret him or her self after all, who would know them as well as themselves? However, with this process you tend to get dishonest answers. People tend to use impression management or self-deception in order to make themselves look better. One way to offset this bias is to name all close to perfect scores on tests using a top-down selection model, and write the applicants off as fakers. The problem is how does anyone know if they were lying?

Lastly, there are legal issues with personality tests. For certain personality characteristics, certain people have an edge over the competition. For example, men often score higher when rating dominance, which would give an illegal advantage, or offset the diversity that would help with constructive conflict. A way to avoid these issues is to curve scores so that applicants are on a level-playing field or to just compare scores in their respective groups. However, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 states that scores on applicant tests cannot be adjusted. The only solution to not test those specific traits; only test those that are not bias towards one sex, race, religion, etc.

external image negativity.jpgNegativity in the workplace

Negativity is like a virus. You can catch it from other people, or spread it around in your office building. Negativity can lead to "increased turnovers, lateness, absenteeism, customer complaints, errors, accidents, and illness." All of these result in costs to a company that could lead to devastation in this economy. Negativity can be introduced into a company through words and tone, such as whining, and unnecessarily speaking against ideas. It is also presented visually, through appropriate gestures, and also lack of body language. In addition to this, negativity spreads through negative people! They exist in forms such as ice rollers, rumormongers, the eggshells, and the steamrollers. These personalities are most present when conditions aren't met. When negativity occurs, it is up to the leaders to confront the issue by turning negatives into positives, to turn the tape recorder on, and to try to cure the negativity virus. Locating these people and trends effectively leads to a healthier corporation, and healthier employees.[4]

Small Business Personality Types external image Personality-Test-Cartoon-LOL-personality-test-25440766-378-400.jpg

The American City Business Journal (ACBJ) produced a survey about Internet usage by small businesses. They were looking for a direct correlation between business success and how they used the Internet. By breaking the 2000 companies sampled into five groups, they found that the more involved a company is online the better their success in sales will be. The five groups are:
  1. Viewers - view the web and hardly use it for more than entertainment. Despite being 24% of the companies in the survey, Viewers only managed to achieve 10% of the sales and their businesses tended to be the smallest.
  2. Commentators – share their opinions, work from home, are young, and buy the least. The percent of companies that were commentators was 17% and they grossed 14% of the sales.
  3. Interactors – usually the most educated of all the groups, use the Internet for a lot of different activities and services. Interactors made 23% of the sales and counted for 15% of the companies.
  4. Investors – use the Internet to research companies, stay up-to-date on current events and, the staple in their diet, investing online. Investors tallied for 22% of the businesses and produced 23% of the sales.
  5. Transactors – are people who do absolutely everything online and their companies can be fully utilized by anyone from browsing to shipping. The results of the survey found that Transactors held 29% of the combined sales of the companies surveyed at only 25% of the composition.
"According to Mr. Phillips, 'you can’t be out of the Internet and be a successful business person. It would just be impossible'” (Strauss, 2001). With this information, it is conceivable to think that being heavily involved online can only increase success of a company.[5]

Personality traits could make some users more innovative in IT than others.

In the IT department, personality traits can play into their job. They also share traits with some of the people in the other departments. There are five traits that are positively related to IT professional’s department that aren’t used as much in other jobs. The five traits are Emotional Resilience, Openness, Tough-Mindedness, Customer Service and Conscientiousness. IT professionals scored above average on Emotional Resilience, Openness, Tough-Mindedness, and Customer Service, but scored below average on Conscientiousness. This may leads us to think that great IT professionals may want to work a little more on their conscientiousness. Customer service scores indicates that workers are willing to try to make customers happy, but also requires IT professionals to be conscientious. Looking at such results, it may lead management to develop a conscientiousness training day for the IT professionals.
Holland’s vocational theory helps us determine whether score on the big five personality traits could differentiate IT professionals from other occupational groups. By using this theory, it was concluded that the IT workers had above average scores on the four traits (Emotional Resilience, Tough-Mindedness, Openness, Customer Service) that produced a positive effect to their career satisfaction. However, although career satisfaction is greatly important to a company, it is also essential that they can represent the corporation in a manner that speaks of the values that the company shares.

This video is from the office and shows how a lot of people view the IT department.

The Four Above Average Traits

Emotional Resilience is higher among IT professionals than other occupations. The reason for this is due to the amount of stress that is involved in many IT jobs. The stresses that may go through are demands from multiple constituencies, facing schedule pressure, and impossible workloads. As electronics start to mature more, the IT employees face the stress of having to improve enterprise services. IT professionals with higher levels of Emotional Resilience tend to deal with the many stresses that come a long with their job. We can conclude that in the future IT professional’s emotional resilience will increase due to the current trends of consumer electronics, increased competition from programmers from other countries, and continual technological innovation.

Openness also was one of the higher of the personality traits of IT professionals. IT professionals must be able to adapt due the constant change in technology in software, information systems, and other arrangements. They must assist with personal discovery, new learning, and professional development. In the past few years, you may have noticed how technology has become more advanced. IT staff that enjoy learning and sharing information have really flourished in these years. IT often helps business collaborate technologies to get it up and running such as instant messenger and online meetings.

Here is the list of standards of the Association of Information Technology Professionals
• In recognition of my obligation to management I shall keep my personal knowledge up-to-date and insure that proper expertise is available when needed.
• In recognition of my obligation to my employer I shall make every effort to ensure that I have the most current knowledge and that the proper expertise is available when needed.
Looking at these criteria, openness will always be a primary standard for IT. It would be very difficult to imagine an IT employee who is closed to new idea and isn’t well to adapt to any new innovative ideas.

Tough-mindedness is another trait that has often been seen as an important qualification for working in the IT field. Being logical and factual has been connected with computer programmers. Since technology does seem to change rapidly, the IT employees need to be able to make a decisions and stick with them. Not only do their decisions need to be made quickly, they must be well informed and provide detailed analyses.

The last positive trait is Customer Service Orientation. You will see many IT departments in organizations have service level agreements to provide quick and great quality service to internal customers and external customers as well. The foundation of IT workers is to develop services to additional internal customer groups and mix IT with other organizational functional units. Enterprises can also save money by IT services become consistent. IT can benefit the organizations by supporting new marketing and service activities.

One Below Average Trait

One personality trait that is positively related to IT but had below average scores is Conscientiousness. It contains personal qualities like attention to detail and quality consciousness in the same way that it takes in qualities like conformity and rule-boundedness. These may be associated with IT work but many workers prefer a more informal and less structured work environment like a relaxed dress code, personal appearance requirements, and more of free scheduling. Based on this analysis it would be to a company’s advantage to hire IT candidates with high levels of Conscientiousness. A company could also make plans to develop a conscientiousness training and development programs.

Big 5 Traits Overview

external image Open_Minded.pngThe Big 5 In Human Resources Personnel

The Big 5 Traits of Personality Characteristics is known as the OCEAN model. It stands for openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. It’s a model commonly found used in workplace settings to determine job satisfaction and job fit. In some instances it can be used to get an insight into future job performance. Lounsbury, Steel, Gibson, and Drost (2008) researched personality traits and job satisfaction within HR using the big 5 traits of personality. The paper states “Boswell and Judge (2001) found that agreeableness, conscientiousness, and extraversion were correlated positively with career satisfaction in a sample of US executives” (Lounsbury et al, 2008, p. 3). The Big 5 have been successful in determining whether satisfaction is related personality. Neuroticism has a negative effect on job satisfaction as it causes employees to stress and get upset more quickly than others, thus having an adverse correlation on job satisfaction. Openness seems to be relevant to any job type satisfaction. It’s a factor that appears in Lounsbury et al.’s research as well as previous research done by Boswell and Judge (2001). Since most HR personnel have to be extroverted, open, and agreeable, it is no surprise that the Big 5 model is a great personality test to measure the job satisfaction in positions that require high levels of assertiveness and openness. Individuals who are introverted and shy may not have the right personality fit, based on the Big 5, to be satisfied with a job like HR. In general, the OCEAN testing have some issues. Psychologists stated that they think the test has a limited scope, have a bad methodology, and has a inconsistent theoretical status.

Why Personality Matters in the Workplace, Woody

personality_2.jpg Personality in the workplace is important because it is essential in creating bonds with employers, employees and other important figures in any working environment. The article warns against confusing behavior and personality. "Behavior is what we observe in others as bystanders. We all learn about others and make attributions based on what we see. However, personality is not the only driver of behavior, there are always external forces operating to influence how we behave. Thus, we have to be careful about the attributions we make based only on limited observations within certain contexts" (Woody, 2011). Since behavior is different, to determine personality we should look for consistent behaviors to determine traits.

In the workplace, the key issue to realize about personality is that people are different and have not shared the same experiences as each another. This usually is a good thing as it can create great teams with a wide range of perspective. To fully understand the power of personality in the workplace, one has to understand the diversity in personality.[6]

Myers-Briggs effect on technology in the workplace

mbti.gifOverviewMBTI is probably one of the most popular and frequently applied personality tests in the workplace nowadays. Since it was developed in 1943, "around 2.5 million people take the test annually", and "more than 80 of the Fortune 100 companies used Myers - Briggs test in some forms" (Bauer & Erdogan, 2010)[7] .
Among a great variety of its applications, MBTI can be used in selecting users for designing activities, based on the extent to which it influences usage of technology. However, let's first begin by looking at the four main personality dimensions that MBTI classifies: Extraversion - Introversion, Sensing - Intuition, Thinking - Feeling, Judging - Perceiving, so as to gain a basic understanding of the indicator.
The below video offers a brief introduction of MBTI personality dimensions.

Applying MBTI Preference on the use of technology
Does an Individual's Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Preference Influence Task-Oriented Technology Use? - Pamela Ludford and Loren Tervee[8]
1. Methodology: The method is to conduct an experimental research on twenty subjects. They took part in three exercises, each involved using a different type of software application, and then completed the MBTI test. The research aimed to relate MBTI personality types to usage of technology.

  • Task 1: Demonstration of email management habits, especially job-related ones.
This task took place in the subjects' offices, where they provided quantitative information about their email messages, the number of email presently in their Inbox, Sent, Deleted Item, Task lists, the number of folders they created as well as the number of items in selected folders.
  • Task 2: Evaluation of at least two books and one music CD of personal choice on
The goal was for participants to use information available, such as Customer Reviews and Editorial Reviews, to decide whether the book or music CD held their personal interests.
  • Task 3: Reaction to Movielens' movie recommendations and the Movielens website itself.
Participants discussed their opinions, reactions and decisions to the suggested movie list from Movielens, a movie recommended website.
2. Hypotheses Email management habits were predicted to demonstrate MBTI Judging/Perceiving Preference, since this MBTI distinction described differences in individual organization style. Products Evaluations ( potentially indicated MBTI Thinking/Feeling Preference, which described what type of information people use in decision-making. Usage of Product Recommendation systems (Movielens) was likely to reflect MBTI Thinking/Feeling Preference, for this dimentsion demonstrated decision-making process.

3. ObservationOn the first task, emails are classified into Task-related Emails, Informational Emails, Mails of Indeterminate Status. The study showed that handling of Informational Emails and Mails of Indeterminate Status was unaffected by MBTI preference: in handling Task-related Emails, all participants kept them in their Inbox while the task was in progress. However, when the task was completed, a difference occurs. Since they liked finishing task to achieve closure, MBTI "Judgers" reported a preference for either deleting the email or moving it to another folder. In contrast, MBTI "Perceivers" liked to keep their options open, and consequently preferred to keep it for a length of time varying from a few days to more than a year.Untitled.png
On the second task, in evaluating books, MBTI "Feelers" preferred to read and use Customer Review content, for they were interested in the views of other Amazon customers. MBTI "Thinkers", in contrast, took more advantage of the Editorial Reviews since they highly paid attention to the authority and credibility of the reviewers.
Just as with books, when it came to assessing music, MBTI "Thinkers" were more likely to read and use Editorial Review content, since they sought to confirm their partiality for the music with a professional critic's review. On the other hand, MBTI "Feelers" tended to base their decisions on their instinct sense of the music: they might have heard a song or two on the CD, liked it, and eventually decided to purchase it .
On the third task which involved usage of product Recommendation systems (Movielens), the results received did not correlate to participants' MBTI preference, thus, the study's third hypothesis was not supported.
4. Conclusion to MBTIThere are few similar work examining how MBTI preferences influence task-oriented technology use, so the study has both raised the issue for inquiry and represented some initial results. Firstly, it indicated that two people of with the same job function may use application differently, and the difference can be explained by MBTI preference. This fact would help reducing the likelihood of failure in designing jobs due to assumption that people use software in a similar fashion. Additional work could explore how one MBTI preference could be combined with another when it gets to users characterizations. Secondly, as MBTI preference is proven to affect how people use technology, the cost of participatory design might be justified accordingly. Last but not least, MBTI preferences prove to be exhibited in all cultures. If future technology design were to include features satisfying users with varied MBTI preferences, the prediction is that applications would translate well across all cultures.


In today's society we should expect technology in our work environment since it has intertwined itself into every aspect of our daily lives. Technology does influence corporations. Every year, companies lose an estimated $759 billion from salary losses.[9] This can be associated with the different types of personalities we find in the workplace. Some people who do not find their job suitable may be off task, or unfocused throughout their work hours which may lead to losses to the company. In addition to the losses for the companies, employees who use the internet for/at their work may harm their professional image. Many companies use facebook to research their future employees and also to check up on their current employees. Technology also effects communication within businesses. People are more likely to lie online than face-to-face as long as it is not documented.[10] Also, using online personality tests to determine who should and should not be employed may lead people to give the answers the company is looking for (anticipation bias).
However, technology does have a positive effect on the workplace. Technology bridges distances, makes work faster, and can help determine person-job fit. Having technology in the work place is a blessing in disguise. With more research, companies will be able to figure out how to use personality to their advantage instead of letting it cost them money. Technology has already become essential in today's society. E-mails, memo's, calendars, and organization can all be taken care of online, and to make such benefits successful, suitable personalities may play a large role in its effectiveness

To management, we would recommend using technology to get to know their employees and placing people in a job environment that they are best suited for. Personality is essential in determining person-job fit because people are not cookie-cutter molds; they are unique individuals and need to be treated as such. Not everyone can and will succeed in certain positions. Management should learn to identify traits in people looking to work for the business. In addition, personality also plays a role in how you want your company to be viewed. If the company represents values that a person do not share, or do not believe in, it may affect the business directly since companies have a "liability to an employees bad act[11] ". We urge management to consider the consequences of having unfit personalities in the workplace. Negativity can spread like a virus crippling your company from the inside-out. Management needs to make sure it can control potential discontent before it happens.

A map of The Big Five


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  2. ^ Cha, A.E. (2005, March 27) "Employers relying on personality tests to screen applicants." Washington Post. A01.
  3. ^ Winfred Arthur, David J. Woehr, William G. Graziano, (2001) "Personality testing in employment settings: Problems and issues in the application of typical selection practices." Personnel Review, Vol. 30 Iss: 6, pp.657 - 676
  4. ^ Topchik, G. S. (n.d.). Confronting Negativity in the Workplace. NRC E-Newsletter Best of the Best. Retrieved November 25, 2011, from
  5. ^ Strauss, S. (2010, July 8). The 5 internet personality types : Technology :: American Express OPEN Forum. OPEN Forum :: American Express OPEN Forum. Retrieved November 16, 2011, from
  6. ^ Woody, D. (2011, March 7). Why personality matters in the workplace | Fox business. Fox Business | Business News & Stock Quotes - Saving & Investing. Retrieved November 16, 2011, from
  7. ^ Bauer & Erdogan. (2010, July). Organizational Behavior, 1.1. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from
  8. ^ Ludford, P., & Terveen, L. (2003). Does an individual's myers-briggs type indicator preference influence task-oriented technology use?. IOS Press, 1, 623-631. Retrieved November 10, 2011, from
  9. ^ Malachowski, D. (2005, July 11). Wasted time at work costing companies billions | Full page. San Francisco Bay Area — News, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Classifieds: SFGate . Retrieved November 21, 2011, from
  10. ^ Conger, C. (2011, March 4). Do people lie more online? : Discovery News. Discovery News: Earth, Space, Tech, Animals, History, Adventure, Human, Autos . Retrieved November 21, 2011, from
  11. ^ Employer Liability for an Employee's Bad Acts | (n.d.). Lawyers, Legal Forms, Law Books & Software, Free Information - Nolo. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from