Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere

Psychology in the Workplace

What are the personality traits of people who succeed in their professions?

Many factors contribute to one’s degree of success in a career. Some of these are external, such as opportunity, education, economic conditions, and professional connections. However, there is evidence that certain personality traits also contribute to success. In a 2001 study of 291 Romanian engineers by Marcela Rodika Luca, creativity and self-management were better predictors of success than intelligence. Moreover, intelligence was more closely related to academic than professional success. Of course, the sample was already self-selected for a high level of intelligence. Therefore, in jobs demanding high intellectual ability, after a certain level of intelligence is met, additional intelligence may not add much to the mix.

Several studies have addressed success orientation, suggesting that people who want success aim for it, plan how to achieve it, and are willing to work for it. Additionally, based on the many studies that highlight the importance of human relations, good interpersonal skills are clearly important in the workplace. Finally, internal locus of control, the tendency to believe one has the power to affect one’s situation, also contributes to success. Research has shown that when people believe they have control over their life circumstances, they are more likely to take action to reach their goals. In contrast, people with an external locus of control tend to be more passive.


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