Having understood the concept of personality, now we can move further to know how an individual’s personality is determined? Is it inherited (genetically determined) or is it formed after years of experience? There are no simple answers to these questions.
Having understood the concept of
personality, now we can move further to know how an individual’s personality is
determined? Is it inherited (genetically determined) or is it formed after
years of experience? There are no simple answers to these questions. In fact,
several factors influence the shaping of our personality. Primarily, there are
two sources contributing for personality differences. They are i. heredity and
ii. environment. Environment has several factors within it like culture, family
background, life experiences and the groups we interact with. The following
diagram shows how personality is shaped by these factors.
Heredity Our personality is partly
inherited genetically from our parents. For example, whether we are fair or
dark, tall or short, strong or weak are all characteristics that have something
to do with heredity. Personality characteristics are partly influenced by
environmental factors also like experiences in life. Some traits may have
strong genetic component while others may be largely learned.
Culture Culture refers to the distinctive
ways in which people organize and live their lives. Hence people belonging to
different societies will have different cultural orientations. Persons born
into a particular society are exposed to family and societal values and to
norms of acceptable behaviour in the culture of that society. People in the
West and those in the East have cultural differences between themselves. In US
culture, people are rewarded for being independent while in Japanese culture
they are rewarded for being group oriented. These differences are primarily due
to variations in cultural norms and expectations of acceptable behaviours in
the respective societies. You may also note that though cultural values may
have an impact on personality differences among people in different cultures,
people born in the same culture may also differ from each other in many
characteristics. Managers should keep this in mind when they are dealing with
Family Background An important tool of socializing
a person into a particular culture is the person’s immediate family. Factors
like the socio-economic status of the family, the number of children in the
family and birth order, and education of the parents and extended members of
the family such as cousins, uncles and aunts influence personality formation.
In this regard, you may note that parents’ influence on children’s development
is significant and it happens in three ways: 1. Through
their own behaviours they influence children’s behaviours; 2. They
serve as role models; and 3. They
selectively reward and punish the behaviour of children.
Experiences in Life Perceptions, ego, temperaments,
and self esteem, are all related to ones past experiences.A complex set of events and interactions with other
people determine the level of self esteem of a person. Therefore, some personality
traits get changed positively or negatively on the basis of the kind of
experiences in one’s life.
Groups we interact with
The first group of people, a
person interacts with is the family. As they grow, people participate in
various groups in the life time. The roles and experiences people have as
members of different groups lead to personality differences. People influence
each other and tend to associate with members who are similar to them in their
attitudes and values. The interactions begin first with patents and siblings,
then teachers and classmates, later on friends and colleagues. Undoubtedly, the
influence of groups and various individuals will shape our personality. For
example, if a person wants to become a member of a work group, he has to change
himself to conform to the values and norms of that group. If the person is of
aggressive type, he may have to become cooperative.
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Personality And Individual Differences
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