Extroverts Vs. Introverts: New Study Examines their Perceived Value in the Workplace

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A recent study by researchers from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management suggests that although extroverts are initially held in higher esteem in the workplace, self-described neurotics and those who are socially withdrawn tend to gain respect over time while their outwardly confident co-workers lose status. As time passes, neurotics tend to exceed expectations and are perceived as hard workers, while extroverts are seen to coast—and this is the case even if the two groups make similar contributions. In a recent New York Times article, lead author Corinne Bendersky describes her findings and suggests that the patterns she found reflect the value of creating low expectations.

Bendersky’s study included two parts. In the first part, graduate students completed a survey about their own personalities and how they viewed others in their work groups. Initially, the more confident students were perceived as being stronger contributors. But when the survey was repeated ten weeks later, the perception of the introverts had improved, while the extroverts lost status.

In the second part of the study, students were presented with a hypothetical situation: a co-worker named John was assigned to help them finish a project. John was described to half of the students as neurotic and to the other half as extroverted. As predicted, students initially expected that extroverted John would be a more effective contributor. Next, some students were told that even though he was busy, John had agreed to work late; others were told that John was too busy and had to leave early. In both cases, students were less critical of neurotic John’s contributions, while extroverted John was seen as disappointing—even when he was generous with his time.

The findings may also suggest that people perceive the values of personality and contribution differently. Extroverted personalities are overvalued but their contributions can be undervalued; introverted personalities tend not to be valued, but their contributions are sometimes overvalued—they seem to be given the benefit of the doubt.

What are the implications of this research for hiring managers and team leaders? In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Bendersky cautions against hiring too many extroverts. “The core of an extroverted personality is to be attention-seeking,” she says. “It turns out they just keep talking, they don’t listen very well, and they’re not very receptive to other people’s input. They don’t contribute as much as people think they will.”

What do you think? What combinations of personality traits make up the most effective teams where you work? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

 

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Understanding Workplace Personality: New Assessment Helps Job Seekers and Employers Find the Right Match

applicantBeyond the technical requirements of the job, what are the workplace personality traits that lead to success in a specific work environment? Understanding the personality traits needed for a particular job or workplace can be the key to a good career choice—a match that works for both employee and employer.

The new Working Styles Assessment™ (WSA™) from PAR is a measure of work-related personality traits such as initiative, persistence, concern for others, self-control, conscientiousness, and analytical thinking. By measuring these traits, career counselors can help their clients find jobs they love—and employers can find workers who have what it takes for success on the job.

The WSA is the only workplace personality assessment that uses the current Occupational Information Network (O*NET) terminology, which means that the personality traits measured by the WSA can be compared to the traits associated with hundreds of current occupations listed in the O*NET database.

The WSA helps create a win-win situation for job seekers and employers:

  • Career counselors can help their clients use the WSA to identify their own strengths and explore the career options that are most likely to be a good fit.
  • HR professionals can decide which traits are most important for a given job and then use the WSA to identify candidates who have those traits.
  • Job seekers can look up interesting jobs on the O*NET and compare the working styles required by those jobs to their own working styles.

The WSA is a useful complement to the recently released 5th Edition of the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®), John Holland’s gold standard career interest inventory. The WSA will also soon be available on PARiConnect, PAR’s online assessment platform.

To learn more about the WSA and other career products from PAR, visit www.parinc.com or call Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378.