Monday, March 28, 2011



As I promised to myself, I will be writing something tonight that interests me. So, here I am. For a communication skills course I am supposed to make a presentation of a subject in my field of study. I study business economics (with probably marketing as my major) and psychology as my minor. I decided to form my presentation out of a subject from both of my fields and chose the usage of the five-factor model in military leadership. Military leadership isn't straightforward into business economics but there are quite a few bridges from military leadership to business world leadership, such as the transformational leadership theory. What I'm going to do now is summarize my presentation to get my thoughts together on the matter as well as revise the facts I've concluded in it.

The Five-Factor Model is an emerging consensus among trait theorists suggesting five basic factors to human personality. These factors are Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism, which form a clever mnemonic when you choose the first letter of each word and put them together to form the word: OCEAN. The Five-Factor Model, or abbr. FFM, was originally developed by McRae and Costa during the 1980s and 1990s but the model's basis in on far older theories and principles. The model pretty much relies on the fundamental lexical hypothesis (Sir Francis Galton, 1933), which basically means that even though there are individual differences in the personalities of people from different cultural backgrounds, these signs of personality can be encoded into a cross-cultural language.

There's a lot of evidence in support of the FFM nowadays. Cross-cultural agreement on the five factors as well asconnections to biology, such as in genetics, neuroscience and evolution. The model's results are the same when comparing self-ratings and observer ratings and diagnoses on personality disorders seem to support the model as well. The FFM also provides predictive utility, which means that the model can be used to predict things in real life, for example job performance.

Trait theories have been used by researchers throughout times to study the attributes an individual needs to have in order to be considered as a leader. The earliest method, for example, was the so-called great-man-theory where leaders are differentiated from non-leaders by certain attributes, which are given to them at birth, such as Alexander The Great or Napoleon.

One method of measuring leadership effectiveness is to consider the position that the leader occupies in the organization hierarchy relative to others with similar aspirations and opportunities, which should indicate how that individual is valued and regarded by the organization itself. You can ask yourself: what makes an individual 'more leader' than the others? If personality traits are related to leadership effectiveness, then it should follow that these traits differentiate leaders at various levels of an organization hierarchy.

So, what does this have to do with military leadership? I am using two studies as examples in my presentation: one with East Asian Military candidates and one with Australian army officers. The results of the studies proved that personality is an important factor to military effectiveness. The Five-Factor Model suggests that a leader needs to have high openness to experience, conscientiousness and agreeableness and low neuroticism and high/low extroversion - depending on the style of leadership. Personality factors tend to be stronger for maximum performance measures, indicating that personality is more predictive of leadership effectiveness under challenging situations.

I have no clue if this text ended up being coherent or not but I just had to get this out of my system - these words, other than just the few solid ones on my PowerPoint.

.have you found yourself where you once started from?.

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