Trait theory presents an approach to understand personality. Many traits are common to most people.
Trait theory presents an approach
to understand personality. Many traits are common to most people. However,
there are many other traits that are unique to a person. It may be remembered
that traits are reactions and not what a person possesses. A person does not
possess emotion but he acts emotionally in some circumstances. One the basis of
the traits, people may be described as emotional, aggressive, loyal, creative,
flexible, humorous, sentimental, and impulsive and so on. Traits are the basic
elements of personality and can be used to summarize the behaviour of a person.
However, determining basic traits is rather difficult because thousands of
descriptive words are there.
The psychoanalytical theory of
personality is based on the Freudian concept of unconscious nature of
personality. On the basis of his clinical experience, Freud noted that his
patient’s behaviour could not always be consciously explained. This prompted
him to believe that the personality structure is primarily founded on
unconscious framework and that human behaviour and motivation are the outcomes
of such conflicting psychoanalytic concepts as the id, the ego and the super ego. Id is the foundation of the unconscious and is the basis of libido
drives. It strives for sexual and other biological pleasures and has animal instincts
of aggression, power and domination. Ego
is conscious in nature and is a mechanism to relate our conscious urges to the
outside real world. It keeps the id in check through the realities of the
external environment. While id
demands immediate pleasure, regardless of costs, ego controls it so that these pleasures are granted at an
appropriate time and in an acceptable manner. Because of difficulty in keeping
the id under control, ego is supported by super
ego. The super ego is the higher level restraining force and can be
described as the conscience of the person. The conscience creates standards of
what is right and what is wrong and is generally subconsciously developed by
the absorption of cultural and ethical values of the social environment. All these
three Freudian elements are inter-related and each cannot exist in isolation
from others. In order to create a “normal” personality, there must be a balance
in the relationship among these three forces.
Social Learning Theory
The social learning theory
differs from the psychoanalytical theory in two ways. First, it is believed that personality development is more a result
of social variables than biological drives. Secondly,
motives can be traced to known and conscious needs and wants rather than unconscious
and latent desires. Thus, learning theory looks at personality as the sum total
of all that a person has learned. The social learning theory focuses on
behaviour patterns and cognitive activities in relation to the specific
conditions that evoke maintain or modify them. The social learning theory uses “reinforcement
and punishment” approach in understanding personality. For example, good
behaviour is rewarded by management in terms of praise that further reinforces
good behaviour. Thus, behaviour and external environment have mutual interaction.
Behaviour partly creates the person’s environment and the environment affects
the behaviour as well.
Learning may also take place
simply from observation rather than interaction with the environment. We watch
the behaviour of other people, draw conclusions from it and come out with our
own behaviour. Unlike trait theory or psychoanalytical theory, social learning
theory considers situation as an
important variable in determining human behaviour.
Tags : Management Concepts & Organisational Behaviour - Personality And Individual Differences
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