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A Sample Thesis Findings

 

 

 

Chapter 5: Findings

Overview

            This research was conducted in order to determine the reliability and role of personality questionnaire in various human resource activities such as in recruitment and employee appraisal. In addition, this study also aimed to identify the advantages and disadvantages of using personality questionnaires. In order to answer these research questions, the descriptive method of research was applied. Through quantitative and qualitative approaches, the researcher developed a questionnaire that would gather pertinent data. Literatures to support the findings were also integrated. The answers given by the 40 selected respondents were then analyzed by computing their weighted mean. Results were then presented in graphs and tables to facilitate the analysis.  

Demographic Profile

            For the profile of the respondents, the questionnaire asked for the participants’ age, gender, duration of service in the company and their current job position. Below are the graphs summarizing the gathered values for each profile category:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fig. 1: Age Distribution of the 60 Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Fig. 2: Gender Distribution of the 60 Respondents

 

 

 

 

 

 Fig. 3: Duration of Service of the 60 Respondents to their respective companies 

 

 

 

 

 

Fig. 4: HR Positions of the Selected Respondents

 Survey Results

Below is the table summarizing the results of the survey responses given by the selected participants:

Usability and Reliability of Personality Questionnaire

4

3

2

1

Weighted Mean

Interpretation

1. Based on existing workforce and human resource

5

12

19

4

2.45

Agree

developments in your company, personality questionnaire

 

 

 

 

 

 

has the ability to provide accurate results.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Personality questionnaire is able to give objective

13

16

9

2

2.60

Agree

findings that enable less personal recruitment decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. The results of the personality questionnaire are easy to

14

18

8

0

3.15

Strongly Agree

analyze and interpret.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Personality questionnaire supports fast hiring

17

23

0

0

3.43

Strongly Agree

procedures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Personality questionnaire contributes greatly to 

8

24

8

0

3.00

Agree

company performance and output

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pros and Cons of Personality Questionnaire

4

3

2

1

Weighted Mean

Interpretation

6. Personality questionnaire helps in determining whether

5

23

12

0

2.83

Agree

the applicant is fit for the job or not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7. The use of personality questionnaire is advantageous

13

16

9

2

2.60

Agree

as it can easily identify the individual's potentials, behaviour

 

 

 

 

 

 

and work attitudes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Personality questionnaires demand several

32

8

0

0

3.80

Strongly Agree

requirements such as trained staff and substantial

 

 

 

 

 

 

experience for effective utilization.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. The use of a personality questionnaire can help in

8

24

8

0

3.00

Agree

resolving or preventing personality-based conflicts in the

 

 

 

 

 

 

workplace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10.Personality questionnaire can be administered and

31

9

0

0

3.76

Strongly Agree

analyzed even by untrained staff, making test results

 

 

 

 

 

 

less accurate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

11. This human resource tool promotes team-building

13

16

9

2

2.60

Agree

among employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12. Personality questionnaire help employers in making

9

22

8

1

2.98

Agree

effective promotion decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. The possibility of misinterpretations despite the

38

2

0

0

3.95

Strongly Agree

training is ever-present.

 

 

 

 

 

 

14. The use of a personality questionnaire is useful as it

5

30

5

0

2.25

Agree

is easy to administer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

15. Personality questionnaire is unreliable as applicants

0

3

18

19

1.60

Disagree

may not give the score that truly represents their

 

 

 

 

 

 

personality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. Personality questionnaire is relatively cheap.

5

23

12

0

2.83

Agree

17. This human resource instrument resolves issues on

8

24

8

0

3.00

Agree

costs due to high turn over, misemployment and

 

 

 

 

 

 

underperformance of employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

18. Applicants can easily fake their scores on personality

14

18

8

0

3.15

Strongly Agree

questionnaires, affecting the results of the test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

19. Questions in the personality questionnaire imply

0

4

23

13

1.78

Disagree

discrimination and can subject the company to legal

 

 

 

 

 

 

issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20. Personality questionnaire is a highly flexible tool as it

21

19

0

0

3.53

Strongly Agree

can be customized according to the needs of the

 

 

 

 

 

 

company.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

            In this section, the results of the survey are discussed in relation to the objectives of the study. Specifically, the level of reliability/usability as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using personality questionnaires based on the perspective of human resource employees are determined. Some literatures were used to support points raised. 

Usability and Reliability of Personality Questionnaire

            Based on the results of the survey, the selected participants were able to identify the specific factors that contribute to the personality questionnaire’s usability and reliability. The findings indicated that among the given factors, the respondents believe that personality questionnaire is usable and reliable in terms of its ability to allow easy personality interpretation as well as fast hiring procedures. This identified feature of personality questionnaires is probably attributed to their developed standards that are used for interpreting the results of the test. By means of comparing the answers of the applicant with the developed standards, the human resource staff can easily analyze the personality of the individual and easily categorize him or her to a specific personality type. As these personality types correspond to the individual’s attitude and capability, the human resource staff can tell whether the applicant is suitable for the job or to the company’s values.  

            The availability of the standards in personality questionnaires as well as their ability to facilitate ease in recruitment has been demonstrated by a number of companies. A good example is Myers-Briggs indicator, a personality test that has been testing personalities since 1943. The tool has long been used for recruitment and appraisal as it enables fast hiring procedures with less hassle. Specifically, Myer-Briggs allows fast interpretation of results by having a set of standards, which categorize personality into different typologies. Once the applicant has completed the questionnaire, his or her answers are compared to broad personality categories. An example of which is determining whether the individual is an extrovert or an introvert. Other personality categories include thinking or feeling, judging or perceiving and sensing or intuitive (Shuit, 2003). By means of these standards personality categories, human resource personnel can decipher the applicant’s personal aspects, which could affect his or her performance at work. In addition, as personality questionnaire promote fast hiring procedures, cost on recruitment can be reduced as employees can start immediately, enhancing total company performance.  

            Personality questionnaire is not only useful and reliable in terms of its ability to promote fast and easy recruitment. The respondents of the study also agree that this human resource tool is reliable as it helps in providing accurate results. However, it should also be noted that a number of respondents disagree with this factor. Perhaps, this is significantly related to the different factors that could affect the accuracy of the results and interpretation of personality questionnaires. More details regarding this matter are to be discussed in the next section. Assessing the capability and potentials of an employee based on his or her personality can be subjective in nature; nonetheless, the respondents agree that using the personality questionnaire enable the generation of more objective recruitment decisions. As the interpretation of the results is compared to certain standards, the HR personnel do not really interpret the answers of the applicant based on intuition or personal judgments. Moreover, the standards used for interpreting the results were should have been developed with scientific and psychological knowledge. This then supports the questionnaire’s objectivity.  

            Finally, the research participants also agree that the personality questionnaire helps in improving the performance and output of their respective companies. Considering that the respondents agree to the ability of the questionnaire to provide accurate and objective hiring results, there is a greater opportunity for the department to employ the right people for the right job. Specifically, the questionnaire helps in discovering the dominant traits, strengths and weakness of an applicant; this ability is then used by the HR staff to align the person’s character with the job’ responsibilities and demand. If the employees are assigned to jobs that are suitable to their capabilities, better work outcomes can be produced. Furthermore, this could also facilitate employee motivation. With this feature, personality questionnaire enable the company to achieve a higher degree of productivity.

 

            Based on the overall results given by the respondents, personality questionnaire is a useful and reliable tool for recruitment and appraisal. Not only does this instrument support fast and easy hiring and appraisal procedures, but this also enables the human resource staff to make objective results interpretation. Aside from these, the ability of the personality questionnaire to distinguish a personality type and compare it with the requirements of the job, helps the human resource department in employing applicants that are truly fitted for the vacancy. This in turn makes the questionnaire an important contributor to the company’s performance level and quality of output. In is important to consider however that despite the known reliability features of the personality questionnaire, not all respondents are convinced that this can truly be depended on in terms of accuracy. The next section identifies the possible factors that appear to affect the reliability of personality questionnaires. 

Pros and Cons of Personality Questionnaire

            The results of the survey revealed that personality questionnaire is a two-sided human resource instrument as it has certain advantages and downsides. For easy comprehension, the pros of using personality questionnaire will be identified and analyzed first. From the given advantage factors, the respondents agree that personality questionnaire allows employers to make effective promotion decisions. This is very much related to another advantage indicated by the respondents, which is the reduction of human resource costs due to employee turnover. As employers are able to assess the employees’ attitudes and performance through personality questionnaire, deserving and appropriate people are granted with due promotions.  

Granting promotion to deserving employees is one of the important functions and advantages of using the personality questionnaire. Benham (1993) stated that promotion is also synonymous to career success where employees are given higher responsibilities or place on higher authority levels. Promotion is considered an important element of human resource management as it encourages employees to perform with quality. This also represents a significant aspect of the internal selection system. The organizational members’ affective reactions towards their job and to the company are also influenced significantly based on their promotional opportunities. Most importantly, the turnover process is reduced through promotion (Johnston et al., 1993).  

Aside from the fact that rapid employee turnover result to significant financial losses, this also works against employee efficiency and productivity. As the morale of the employees are reduced considerably due to turnover, profits and quality are eventually affected (Larkin, 1995). With effective promotion, employees are likely to be more loyal to the company, thus, preventing employee turnover. A previous study (Romzek, 1989) concluded that organizational commitment is positively correlated to internal promotions or career growth; this suggest that promoted employees are likely to have high commitment to the company. The sub-benefits of granting due promotions and preventing high employee turn over all contribute to better company outcomes and performance. 

The use of personality questionnaire also results to two other advantages. As indicated by the respondents, this human resource tool also allows the resolution or prevention of workplace conflicts as well as promote team-building among the employees. In the article written by Frieswick (2004), various firms had stressed the capability of personality tests to maintain the culture of an organization.  

With personality questionnaires, companies are able to select participants based on their behaviours, principles and attitudes. If firms will constantly hire employees with personalities that match their standards, an organizational culture is developed. By definition, organizational culture is a manner in which business members are unified by a common standard and goal. The principle of organizational culture states that a certain organization encounters various challenges which the members were able to overcome through established strategies and methods. Hence, organizational culture is commonly defined as the way things are conducted in the company (Schein, 1992).  

The features of a personality questionnaire appear to promote the foundations of organizational culture. For instance, values within the corporation serve as the main foundation of organizational culture. The value of the organization serves as its defining elements where symbols, practices, standards and other related matters are derived. Values can be defined as a consistent belief that a certain mode of personal or sociable conduct is preferable against a contradictory mode of conduct. In general, values are considered internalized beliefs which guide individual behaviour (Deal & Kennedy, 1982). Through this element of corporate culture, employees are able to establish a social identity which in turn generates meaning and connectedness. This foundation on the other hand, can be achieved through the employment of personality questionnaire.  

            According to Morgan (1997), the organizational culture has basically four essential strengths. The first strength emphasizes its attention on the human side of organizational life. Secondly, it stresses on the importance of harmonious internal relations among the members of the organization, which in turn results to the achievement of common objectives and goals. It also makes the members, especially the organization leaders to assess themselves in terms of the impact they have on the group. Finally, it develops the organization’s relationship not only internally but also externally through the impact of their behaviour on the outside environment. 

The organizational culture of the company influences overall behaviour within the workplace. As culture promotes the sharing of a common goal between the top management and the employees, the organization and its multidisciplinary teams naturally works in a more harmonious relationship. As the managers and employees work together, the focus of the workers is no longer concentrated on satisfying their immediate supervisors. Rather, they work to satisfy the needs of the other teams in the process. This dynamic motion within the organization gives a more defined role and purpose for each team. Since the teams are held together, their actions are more coordinated. With organizational culture, both the managers and the employees are extremely involved in a constant joint effort to enhance the quality of the firm’s products or services at every level. This then involves an impact similar to that of a chain reaction in which, the united goal of the organization to improve its services will eventually enhance their customers’ satisfaction and minimize the firm’s total costs. In addition, organizational culture increases the employees’ sense of pride and self-worth. Hence, organizational culture positively influences the organizational behavior, which makes work teams perform more efficiently (Ahls, 2001). 

The reliability of personality questionnaire in promoting high levels of company performance and output appear to be related to the creation of culture within the organization. A number of authors and theorists have identified the relation between organizational culture and corporate performance (Christensen & Gordon, 1999). Denison (1990) for example, has identified considerable correlations between culture and organizational performance, emphasizing on human resources and decision-making practices. Researchers Denison and Mishra (1995) also cited that organizational culture is related with involvement, adaptability, mission and adaptability, which in turn allow return on assets and sales growth.  

Another significant effect of organizational culture is its ability to enable the acquisition of new skills. It also promotes employee familiarization with the overall operation of the business. In other words, organizational culture facilitates the generation of well-rounded employees who are well-equipped and capable of providing newer or better business solutions. The involvement and participation of the employees help in creating team orientation and organizational efficacy. Organizational efficacy is defined as a generative capability found in an organization so as to effectively overcome various challenges, stressors, opportunities and demands most businesses encounter within its environment. Organizational efficacy exists as a combined judgment of the individual members of the organization regarding their sense of joint capacities, their sense of purpose, direction or mission as well as their sense of resilience (Bohn, 2001). Basically, organizational efficacy refers to the strong sense of self-belief that one can do something to stand out, excel and make a difference. Hence, oftentimes, organizational efficacy is used interchangeably with organizational confidence. This effect is also among the most important advantages brought about by the establishment of organizational culture.  

The respondents also agree on other advantages of using personality questionnaires. As mentioned in the reliability section, the respondents noted the ability of this human resource instrument to identify the potentials, attitudes and behavior of the applicant. This feature helps the HR staff to determine whether the individual is suitable for the job being offered. In addition to these advantages, the respondents also indicated that employing this type of test for HR processes is less costly. Most importantly, personality questionnaires are highly flexible, meaning companies can easily customize them in accordance to their employment needs.  

In line with the ability of personality tests to identify the applicants’ personal features, some literatures had recognized this important advantage. In one article from the Journal of Property Management (2001), personality questionnaires were described as tools that are initially used to identify applicants with potential psychological problems. However, currently, these instruments are used by employers not only to test the personalities of their applicants but also to align their individual personalities with the needs of the company and the job they are applying for. Rather than screen applicants based on their mental stability, personality questionnaires are now used to screen applicants for competence; hence, the respondents of the research agree with this capability of personality questionnaires.  

The article further explained that with personality questionnaires, companies can prevent employing applicants that could create conflicts in the workplace or bully other co-workers. This is an important issue as bullying in the workplace is among the common problems employees and employers encounter. Some of the usual bullying tactics include criticizing the performance of others, denying accomplishments, making unreasonable demands, blaming others for their own errors, yelling at co-workers, stealing the credit for other’s work as well and insulting colleagues. This concrete example of workplace conflict can be avoided by subjecting incoming employing to personality tests (Journal of Property Management, 2001). This situation clearly stress the significance of screening employees not only based on their technical skills but their interpersonal skills as well.  

According to Berta (2002), the employment of personality questionnaires used to be an expensive and tedious process. Traditionally, the questionnaire would have to be mailed to the applicant; this procedure apparently takes considerable time and energy. However, with the introduction of the Internet and other computer-based programs, companies are able to make the most of personality questionnaires. Not only does this make the entire process faster but companies are able to screen the applicants in a more effective way. As results can be obtained easily through the computer, employers could employ rightful applicants immediately. Considering the strong competition for talented and highly skilled workforce, firms are then able to gain an important advantage in hiring through the personality questionnaire.  

Finally, the flexibility of this HR instrument is attributed to its customizable nature. Companies can use personality test in order to assist them in linking personality types to certain job classifications or group of people. The assessment of the applicants personality can also be combined with other forms of tests such as leadership evaluation, skill test or performance assessment. In addition, personality questionnaires has a multi-purpose feature as it cannot only be used for hiring; this can also be utilized for promoting deserving employees, appraising their performance or training (Krell, 2005). This advantage allows firms to develop specific personality questionnaires that are accustomed to what they need from an applicant; this then helps in ensuring that the employees screened through personality questionnaires are suitable for the job vacancy. 

Although these findings clearly suggest that personality questionnaires are reliable and advantageous, the selected respondents also pointed out some downsides of this instrument. For instance, the participants strongly agree that the applicants can easily fake the answers they place on the questionnaires. Moreover, there are several personality questionnaires available at present that even untrained staff can easily administer this type of test. The respondents also strongly agree that in order to administer this test effectively, substantial training and experience are necessary. As the interpretation of the test is considerably dependent on the standards and the ability of the HR staff to interpret them, inaccuracy of the results is very possible no matter how much training the HR staff has gone through.

 

The tendency to obtain inaccurate personality test results due to the answers provided by the applicants themselves has been raised in the past (Furnham, 1994). In particular, a common practice among applicants is to overestimate, especially on positive attributes, their scores in the test. The tendency of applicants to overestimate or fake their scores in a personality test appear to increase when they have an idea on what type of employee the company is seeking. Naturally, if the applicants could easily present the profile they believe the employer requires, the reliability of this instrument is significantly affected. Moreover, despite the accuracy of the HR personnel’s interpretation, there is a great possibility that the wrong employees will be selected with the presence of this issue. 

Although the use of personality questionnaires is reliable, the company would have to ensure that its HR department has the people that can administer this effectively. Companies should then assure that their HR employees have undergone appropriate training and have sufficient experience; while the test itself is inexpensive and easy to use, obtaining the right people for its utilization can pose a challenge. Moreover, considering the fact that training and experience alone cannot significantly limit the misinterpretation of results, it is quite difficult to hire and pay for highly skilled HR personnel when positive outcomes are not guaranteed. Thus, rather than insisting on the use of personality questionnaires to various HR procedures, the company is likely to resort to other means of recruitment and employee evaluation. 

The validity of the results obtained from personality questionnaires is also doubted. Based from the obtained results, the respondents agree that it could determine the personal features of an applicant, which could help in the hiring process. However, considering the need for trained personnel, the tendency of the applicants to fake their test answers and the risk of misinterpreting the results, the respondents were not totally certain if the results of test are accurate enough. In one newspaper article by Osterman (2005), the validity and accuracy of the results obtained from personality tests had been questioned by several critics. The critics noted that one of the main problems with personality questionnaire is that most of these tests are not really meant for hiring purposes. Although the questionnaire can be used to help companies evaluate the employees and build teams among them, these tests cannot really be used to employ people. For instance, if an applicant was identified as shy based on the interpretation of his or her test results, this does not necessarily mean that the individual cannot handle jobs that require an outgoing personality. Thus, a shy individual can be an effective salesperson as the job encourages an outgoing character.  

Based from the results obtained from the survey, the use of personality questionnaires has its positive and negative sides. In terms of reliability, the instrument is relatively reliable in determining the personal attributes of an applicant. As the results of the test are easy to analyze and interpret, the speed of hiring and other HR activities is increased. In addition, since the attitudes and behavior of an individual can easily be compared to the developed standards of the test, employer could determine which applicant is most suitable for the job offer. Naturally, as personal features and job requirements are aligned, higher levels of company performance and output are achieved.  

These benefits of the personality questionnaire are further supported by its more specific advantages. One of which is the ability of this instrument to assist employers in giving due promotions to deserving employees. As the questionnaire provides the data regarding the employees’ performance, work attitude and behavior, employers can use these as basis for promoting workers. This is an advantage as promotions will not be based on the employers’ intuition only or from personal relations. In addition, giving promotions helps in promoting employee loyalty, which contributes to low turn over rates. This then help companies save on significant costs on hiring. Most importantly, the use of personality questionnaires in promoting employees helps the company identify individuals that have great potentials and can contribute significantly to the firm’s future development. Personality questionnaires are also beneficial to the company as it enables the employment of individuals that have more or less similar work principles and attitudes. This in turn helps in promoting teamwork among the employees. By means of having a common direction and value within the company, organizational structure is established. This human resource concept on the other hand, contributes to the development of effective relations between employers and employees as well as among colleagues. With coordination and teamwork, conflicts within the workplace are also prevented or easily settled.  

However, the use of personality questionnaires also has its disadvantages. For instance the respondents noted that while this instrument has the capability to identify the personal attributes of an applicant, the accuracy or validity of the results cannot be ascertained. This is mainly because of the tendency of the applicants to fake their test answers in accordance to the profile which they believe is what the employer is looking for. The effective administration of this HR instrument also needs certain requirements including considerable training and experience of the HR staff. As the employment of highly trained HR staff is an investment for the company, it will be difficult for other to have this type of personnel when the outcomes of personality questionnaires cannot be depended on fully. The cited literature also noted the statements of various critics, suggesting that personality questionnaires may be able to categorize people into personality types; however, this cannot be used for hiring procedures. Apparently, the personality implied in the test results does not necessarily connote the capability of an individual. With the individual’s perseverance and sufficient training, an unsuitable applicant may turn out to be a good and dependable employee.  

With these findings, one cannot really say that personality questionnaire is very effective; although it has beneficial features, certain negative factors affect the reliability and validity of this tool. There are several implications that can be derived from these findings. One is that the reliability and validity of personality questionnaires is dependent not only on the ability of the HR personnel to make accurate interpretations but also on the questions in the questionnaire. The findings and literatures used in this chapter imply that companies should used questionnaires that had been verified as reliable. Furthermore, while applicants have the tendency to fake their answers in their questionnaire, personality questionnaires can be developed in such a way that fake scores can be prevented. This can be achieved considering that personality questionnaires can be customized.  

 

 

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