29 Jun 2010

Workplace Big 5™

Every now and again in one's professional development you come across research and an application of that research which helps you to significantly better understand why we behave in the way that we do.  The Workplace Big 5 Profile™ developed by Pierce and Jane Howard is a great addition to the knowledge bank. It is practical, easy to use, and when linked with a 360 degree instrument such as Benchmarks® has real beneficial impact for those who complete the questionnaire and then receive feedback.  The Workplace Big 5 emerged from research originally begun in 1936. The search was on to find how many clusters of words were required  "to distinguish the behaviour of one human being from another".  The advent of the personal computer in the 1980's,and the availability of software, meant that there was a much greater research focus and  5 clusters of words appeared to account for the majority of the differences between individual personalities.  These 5 factors are referred to today by five letters N, E, O, A, and C.

N = The need for Stability
E = Extraversion
O = Originality
A = Accommodation
C = Consolidation

Another very useful aspect of this instrument is that as part of the outcome, a participant receives a Trait Capacitor report.  This estimates your energy capacity for various competencies. These estimates are based on specific research studies. In addition to a score, the estimates of your capacity are also described along a continuum: 

Energising ---- Natural ----- Somewhat Natural ----- Draining ---- Outside Comfort Zone

What Pierce and Jane have achieved is to develop a user friendly instrument with a wide range of applications.  The 5 factor model ticks all the boxes for Reliability, Validity, Norms, Global applicability, and Descriptive Power.

A must read:  The Owner's Manual for Personality at Work by Pierce J. Howard and Jane Mitchell Howard.  ISBN 1-8851-6745-8

Matthew is accredited in the use of the WorkPlace Big 5 Profile™

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