Individual Differences: Personality & Organizational Selection


International organizations are made up of individuals with varying differences. Understanding of individual differences, their personality and organizational selection will be of great help when working in an international environment. Companies that seek diversity of the workforce pay off; in improved performance, satisfied customers and employees. An example is Wal-Mart, a retailer that diversified its homogenous workforce. Toyota, on the other hand, locates competent minority candidates, who are energetic and shows promise in becoming an automobile dealer, thus being able to relate to their varied customers well. The paper will explore how having a greater understanding of individual differences and behavioral aspects of international business can be of great help especially when working in an international environment.

There are different ways of measuring individual differences. Individual differences are the perceptions, motivations, intelligence, personality and the ability to manage stress. Individual differences can be measured by the concept of job and organisational fit. This can, however, be well understood if we have a look of what personality and intelligence are (Balu, n.d.).


This refers to a set of distinctive personal characteristics like values, interests, competencies, attitudes, emotions, and motives. Thus personality is the unique and relatively stable patterns of thoughts, emotions and behavior shown by an individual. The personality of a top international executive can be used to explain either a functional or a dysfunctional organization. With respect to an organization, the behavior of an individual and whether it affects job performance generates a lot of interest. By virtue of the qualities they bring to the job they execute, a person’s personality will predispose in varying degrees toward success as a person-job fit (Basic human process, p.137-138).

Shoda et al. (674) explains that Allport introduced the idiographic concept in 1973 that urged personalities to understand each other deeply in how they function. They reckon that understanding individual functioning requires psychological situations that will engage a person’s character process and the cognitions that are experienced as a result. One needs to understand that in individual difference patterns of behavior across situations will reflect underlying variables as an individual’s construal of their expectations, values, and goals. According to idiographic, the personality of a person cannot be measured meaningfully but will affect the environmental and social critically. Another different assumption about personality is nomothetic. It gives an assumption that personality is measurable and predictable as well, it can be largely inherited and is resistant to change.

There are differing views on personality: psychoanalytical theories, trait theories and the types of personality. Psychologists working on the trait theory are concerned with finding ways to measure and determining the basic traits that can provide a description of the personality. Trait approach is done by five different ways; openness to experience, extraversion, natural reactions and agreeableness.



This involves the capability to perform different cognitive tasks and other physical capabilities. Intelligence is quite important, to succeed on a job, a person must have a mental capacity to carry out challenges that are associated with the job. Two types of intelligence are needed; cognitive intelligence and practical intelligence (the ability to solve everyday problem at the workplace). The concern of intelligence is how effective human beings can be at making judgments that will enable problems be solved.

Cognitive intelligence is the ability to understand complex ideas, learn from experience, adapt to the environment, overcome obstacles and be able to engage in various forms of reasoning. Different people posses different types of IQ depending on their verbal reasoning, verbal comprehension, word fluency, numerical reasoning, and space visualization. However, IQ tests do not provide a very good measure of what most people think as intelligence. Another type of intelligence is practical intelligence. This involves solving of problems that come in everyday life; the ability to devise effective ways of getting people do what they are meant to do. Hence by understanding the behavioral aspects of international business, one will have to make out the difference between tacit knowledge and practical intelligence and where it can be used; to simply make sense out of common sense (Basic human processes, p.155-156).

Psychometric tests are done to produce the quantitative assessment of some psychological attributes. There are two types of psychometric tests; personality and cognitive tests. Personality tests are usually done based on some character trait while cognitive tests include tests on general intelligence, numerical ability, and spatial ability. However, for psychometric tests have some limitations like they have to be intrusive, they are expensive and time-consuming, they are only seen as an additional source of information (Balu, n.d.).

Other forms of organisational selection include use of interviews, biodata, work samples, simulations, assessment centres and graphology (Balu, n.d.).


Two important areas of study in this paper have been dealt with: intelligence and personality. For personality, there are two main approaches; ideographic and nomothetic. However, differing views on personality include psychoanalytical theories, trait theories and the type of personality. Psychologists working on the trait theory are concerned with finding ways to measure and determining the basic traits that can provide a description of personality while examining the concept of intelligence. Equipped with all this information, an individual working on an international organization easily have a greater understanding of individual differences and behavioral aspects of international business that can be of great help. An employee working in the international environment ought to be dedicated, innovative, risk-taker and visionary. Such people should also be highly sensitive to people’s different cultures (customers and employees).