Individual Differences – What make up a person’s behavior?

Each person is different from another person. What we can observe is a person’s behavior – how we behave, how we talk and do something. However, what actually make up a person’s behavior conststs of several factors which are not visible.

Much like the iceberg below:


Our knowledge and skills, attitude and values, beliefs and personality are the factors that make up our behavior. These are the reasons why we act the way we do, and why one person is different from another.

Let us go into detail on Personality factor that influences our behavior.

Personality is…

  • relatively stable across different situations;
  • enduring across time; and
  • expressed through patterns of behaviours that distinguish one person from another.

From our own observation, we can actually see / describe the personality of people close to us, as it actually relatively consistent across context.

We also normally observe that certain personality types gets along well with certain types of personality.

Personality differences, for example, can lead to interpersonal antagonism, which can stymie the formation of productive teams. However, the appropriate balance of personalities can lead to the formation of effective teams.

In the personality theories, there are 2 major approach:

  1. Nomothetic approach: This approach strongly supports the view that personalities are fixed and determined by heredity, and cannot be significantly influenced by environmental factors.
  2. Idiographic approach: This approach takes the opposite perspective – It recognizes that individuals do have unique innate charateristics, it also suggests that personality can be moulded and that both personality and behavior and influeced by specific environmental experiences.

(Organisational Behaviour, Individuals, Groups and Organisations by Ian Brooks)

There are various studies on personality, which I will share in my next post. By understanding this and how to apply this in your hiring and team development, it will greatly help you and your team to achieve better fit and becoming more productive team.

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