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Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics

Personality refers to series of characteristics and patterns of behaviors, feelings and thoughts that
distinguishes one individual from the other. Personality is in-built and lasts throughout the entire
life of an individual. Personality influences our actions, relations and how we generally respond
to the environment.
Different theories have been advanced to explain the development of personalities some of
which are directly related to biological influences. The trait theories explain personality as one of
the genetically related internal characteristics. (Eysenck, 1967)
Most of personality traits make two major assumptions. One, traits are regularly stable over time.
An entrepreneur’s behavior may literally vary from time to time but there is a core consistency
that occasionally replicates itself in a way that it’s directly related to his true characteristic
nature. A factor that’s unchangeable. For instance, he may display a cool, stable and friendly
behavior in other setups other than in a business meeting that his core behavior of shrewdness
may be displayed. (Matthews, Deary & Whiteman, 2003)

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics 2
Secondly, traits basically influence human behavior. (Matthews, Deary & Whiteman, 2003) To
identify and distinguish the foundations of psychological, social and physiological traits that
form the basis that influence behaviors then scientific psychology of traits are utilized to
distinguish the internal nature of the properties of the individual from other overt behaviors.
To develop a science of traits for a particular individual involves the measurement and the basic
classification of traits. To measure the trait adjectives of a particular person, a simple technique
such as asking questions about his behaviors that can be related to his personality. Questions on
an extrovert or an introvert can be roughly summarized by a person’s liking of external parties
and other social activities or other activities that can differentiate the two personalities. Other
experimental personality tests for extroverts can be devised to include laughter, jokes and other
sociable activities. Verbal reports are the recommended trait reports that are used universally by
most researchers.
Entrepreneurs have one thing in common, they are hard working and focused. Traits associated
with relaxation and conservatism rarely applies to this group of people. Introverts are also
heavily weighed down by their quietness and solitudeness. Entrepreneurs are very good at
interpersonal skills and they need people to employ in order to create wealth. These qualities are
associated mostly with extroverts. (Calliendo and Kritikos, 2011)
The trait theories describe personality according to a person’s traits. Allport and Odbert (1936)
made the first attempt to list and describe the traits that form’s a person’s personality. Though
there was no scientific evidence to prove some of his theories he originally thought that these
traits were connected to the nervous system. (Boeree, 2006)

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics 3
Raymond Cattell (1965) believed that the theories of Allport and Odbert (1936) were too many
and reduced them into sixteen theories which were associated to two basic theories. The Surface
and the source traits. The surface theories are the outward characteristics that are action driven
and they are easily noticeable by other people. The source traits are the basic traits that form the
foundation of the other traits. The examples of surface and the source traits that work together
are shyness, solitude and quietness which are related to the original source traits of an introvert.

The following are the sixteen theories of Cattell (1965)
Conservative Serious Trusting Reserved
Group Rule Practical Concrete
dependent defying   thinker
Undisciplined Shy Forthright Easily
Relaxed Tough Self- Submissive
  Minded assured  

There are some traits that are difficult to relate to entrepreneurs.
The big five theories reduced the Cattell (1965) theories into five. These were Openness,
Neuroticism, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Conscientiousness. (Cobb-Clark, Schurer, 2012)
Openness is a trait that features such characteristics as imagination and insight. Those who
posses these traits also have a wide range of interests and they have a willingness to try new
ideas and experiences.

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics 4
Extraversion is a trait that includes characteristics like talkativeness, excitement, assertiveness
and outstanding expressiveness. Most of these people are outgoing and very social.
Neuroticism is a trait that’s exhibited by individuals who experience emotional instability or
imbalance, sadness, moodiness and constant irritability. This group of people worries excessively
and they are mostly overanxious. (Draycott & Kline, 1995)
Agreeableness trait includes such dimensions as trust, kindness, affectionate, altruism among
other prosocial attributes. People with this trait are easygoing, overly friendly and pleasant.
Conscientiousness traits are common with people whose characters include thoughtfulness, goal
directed behaviors and impressive impulse control. They are organized and very mindful of
details. They are motivational and exhibit higher levels of organizational skills. Most
entrepreneurs posses these trait. The five factors of personality represent diverse characteristics.
Average people mostly lie between the extremes in the real world. For instance, most people lie
between the extreme world of extraversion and introversion. (Block, 1995)
The big five theories are mostly related with the entrepreneurs with the exception of the
Neuroticism trait which is rarely applicable to an entrepreneurs life. The other traits like
agreeableness are applicable to the entrepreneur’s personality but it’s just about that. Most of the
entrepreneurs besides being agreeable to the terms of the employees revert back to openness
traits to exploit the many opportunities available selfishly without considering the employees.
(Calliendo and Kritikos, 2011)
Joseph Bata, the founder of Bata Shoe Company, is an example of a true entrepreneur who
during one of his expansion strategies looked into the African market and saw a positive market
despite the negative report that he received from his strategist. (Clark, Tozzi and Leiber, 2014)

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics 5
To conclude, the personality traits and characteristics applicable to entrepreneurs are developed
and determined by individuals who have sufficient desire to succeed. Some of the traits are
genetic but most are developed. However, to achieve success most of the entrepreneurs must
have a higher level self esteem and self confidence. Most of entrepreneurs work tirelessly
besides the high affinity that they have towards taking risks and the positiveness they see in most
opportunities. They persevere and persist until they succeed.

Block, J. (1995). A contrarian view of the five-factor approach to personality description.
Psychological Bulletin, 117, 187–215.
Cobb-Clark, D. A., Schurer, S. (2012). “The stability of big-five personality traits”. Economics
Letters 115 (2): 11–15.
Caliendo, M., Kritikos, A. (2011) Searching for Entrepreneurial Personality: New Evidence and
Avenues for Further Research. Institute for Study of Labour Discussion Papers, No 5790, p. 1-
Clark, P, Tozzi, J and Leiber, N (2014) The Entrepreneur, Bloomberg Business week, New York.
Draycott, S. G., & Kline, P. (1995). The Big Three or the Big Five – the EPQ-R vs. the NEO-PI:
a research note, replication and elaboration. Personality and Individual Differences, 18,
Eysenck, H.J. (1967). The biological basis of personality. Springfield, IL: Thomas.
Matthews, G., Deary, I.J., & Whiteman, M.C. (2003). Personality traits (2nd edition).
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Business – Personality, Traits and Characteristics 6

Allport, G.W. & Odbert, H.S. (1936). Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study. Psychological Monographs, 47(211).
Boeree, C.G. (2006). Gordon Allport. Personality Theories. Found online at

Cattell, R.B. (1965). The scientific analysis of personality. Baltimore: Penguin Books.

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