Ability & Biographical Characteristics

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Transcript of Ability & Biographical Characteristics

Unit II Individual Behaviour Biographical characteristics; Ability

Basic OB levels: 3 levels of analysis in OB


Individual levelImportant topics to be studied: Biographical Characteristics; Ability; Values; Attitudes; Personality; Emotions; Learning; Perception.


Introduction "Intelligence is but one characteristic that people bring with them when they join an organization. In this chapter, we look at how basic individual differences like biographical characteristics (such as gender and age) and ability(which includes intelligence) affect employee performance and satisfaction.


INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIORIndividuals are different not only in the physical appearance such as sex, age, height, weight, complexion and so on but also different in their psychological traits such as intelligence, attitude, motivation and perception. Individual differences mean that the management has to treat them differently to get the best out of them. The following are the factors that have an impact upon individual behavior in organizations: Physical/Biological Differences Height Weight Body Shape Appearance Complexion Psychological Differences Personality & ability Values & Attitudes Perception Motivation Learning

Biographical characteristicsBiographical Characteristics Personal characteristicssuch as age, gender, marital status, length of tenure/service with an organizationdata that are objective and easily obtained from an employees personnel file. These individual variables surely have an impact on employee productivity, absence, turnover, job satisfaction, etc.


AGEThe most important conclusions regarding age are: Age seems to have no relationship to productivity i.e. age & job performance are unrelated. Thus, older workers are as productive as younger employees. Older workers and those with longer tenure are less likely to resign or quit their jobs; But what value can this information have for managers? The obvious answer is that it can help in making choices among job applicants.


GENDERGiven the significant changes that have taken place in the last 25 years in terms of increasing female participation rates in the workforce, it is concluded that there are no significant difference in job productivity between men and women. Also, there are no consistent male-female differences in problemsolving ability, analytical skills, competitive drive, motivation, sociability, learning ability, etc. The research on absence, however, is a different story. The evidence indicates that women have higher rates of absenteeism that men do as our culture has historically placed home and family responsibilities on the woman.

MARITAL STATUS Research indicates that married employees have fewer absences, less turnover, and are more satisfied with their jobs than are their unmarried co-workers. Marriage imposes increased responsibilities that may make a steady job more valuable and important.


TenureTenure can be defined as time/work experience on a particular job. Based on research, we can say that there is a positive relationship between seniority and job productivity.

Also, research studies demonstrate seniority to be negatively related to absenteeism & turnover.The research also indicates that tenure and satisfaction are positively related.

ABILITYAbility: An individual's capacity/skill to perform effectively the various tasks in a job such as physical, mental or interpersonal work. Ability is thus, a current assessment of what one can do. Everyone has strengths & weaknesses in terms of ability that make him relatively superior or inferior to other in performing the various tasks. "Regardless of how motivated you are, it is unlikely that you can act as well as Shahrukh Khan, run as fast as Usain Bolt, play cricket as well as Sachin Tendulkar or sing as well as Lata Mangeshkar i.e. we werent all created equal.

So, we arent all equal in abilities.

TWO TYPES OF ABILITY in an individual:



INTELLECTUAL ABILITY"Intellectual abilities are those needed to perform mental activities for thinking, reasoning & problem solving. Intelligent people have high intellectual abilities & are thus better job performers. IQ tests, admission tests like CAT(CAT has 3 components: logical reasoning, quantitative analysis & verbal ability), GMAT, Job hiring interviews, etc. are designed to ascertain ones general intellectual abilities/intelligence. "Of course, a high IQ is not a requirement for all jobs. In fact, for many jobs in which employee behavior is highly routine and there are no opportunities to exercise discretion a high IQ is not as important to performing well. Eg: the job of a sanitation worker. Thus, the more complex a job is in terms of information processing demands, the more IQ will be necessary to perform it successfully.

7 Dimensions of Intellectual Ability Number aptitude Verbal comprehension Perceptual speed Inductive reasoning Deductive reasoning Spatial visualization Memory



Job Example

Number aptitude

Ability to do speedy and accurate arithmeticAbility to understand what is read or heard and the relationship of words to each other Ability to identify visual similarities and differences quickly and accurately Ability to identify a logical sequence in a problem and then solve the problem i.e. from specific to general Ability to use logic and assess the implications of an argument i.e. from general to specific Ability to imagine how an object would look if its position in space were changed Ability to retain and recall past experiences

Accountant: Computing the sales tax on a set of itemsPlant manager: Following corporate policies on hiring

Verbal comprehension

Perceptual speed

Fire investigator: Identifying clues to support a charge of arson Market researcher: Forecasting demand for a product in the next time period Supervisor: Choosing between two different suggestions offered by employees Interior decorator: Redecorating an office Salesperson: Remembering the names of customers

Inductive reasoning

Deductive reasoning

Spatial visualization


Intelligence is of 4 types Intelligence is of 4 types (& not just limited to mental abilities) Cognitive Social Emotional Cultural Cognitive:- Refers to the traditional intelligence (i.e. mind/mental power) Social Intelligence: Persons ability to relate effectively to others. Emotional Intelligence: Ability to identify, understand & manage emotions i.e. be emotionally mature. Cultural Intelligence: Awareness of cross cultural differences & the ability to function successfully in cross cultural situations.

All the above four when taken together form Multiple Intelligence.

Physical Abilities Physical AbilitiesThe capacity to do tasks demanding stamina, manual dexterity, strength, and similar characteristics.

Just like intellectual abilities play a larger role in doing complex jobs, physical abilities gain importance for successfully doing less skilled & more standardized jobs.

Physical abilities such as strength, flexibility, endurance and stamina can be developed with exercise and training.

Mental abilities such as reasoning, memory visualization, comprehension, etc can also be developed through practice and education.

Nine Physical AbilitiesStrength Factors(fighters,gym persons)1. Dynamic strength 2. Trunk strength 3. Static strength 4. Explosive strength

Flexibility Factors(yoga persons, dancers)5. Extent flexibility 6. Dynamic flexibility

Other Factors7. Body coordination 8. Balance 9. Stamina

Physical AbilitiesStrength Factors Dynamic Strength Trunk Strength Static Strength Explosive Strength Ability to exert muscular force repeatedly or continuously over time Ability to exert muscular strength using the trunk (particularly abdominal) muscles Ability to exert force against external objects Ability to expend a maximum of energy in one or a series of explosive acts

Flexibility Factors Extent flexibility Ability to move the trunk and back muscles as far as possible

Dynamic flexibility

Ability to make rapid, repeated flexing movements

Other FactorsBody coordination Ability to coordinate the simultaneous actions of different parts of the body


Ability to maintain equilibrium despite forces pulling off balance


Ability to continue maximum effort requiring prolonged effort over time

The Ability-Job Fit: Employee performance depends on the interaction of the two

Employees Abilities

Ability-Job Fit

Jobs Ability Requirements

The Ability-Job FitEmployee performance increases when there is a high ability job fit. The specific ability requirements varies from one job to another. For eg Airline Pilots need strong spatial visualization abilities, beach lifeguards need both spatial visualization abilities & also body co-ordination, senior officers require verbal abilities, construction workers require balance, etc.

If employees lack the required abilities, they would fail. Eg: if youre hired as a computer operator & you cant meet the jobs basic keyboard typing requirements, your performance is going to be poor irrespective of your positive attitude or high motivational levels. At the same time if an employee has abilities that exceed the requirements of the job, although job performance might be achieved but there will be organizational inefficiencies & a decline in employee satisfaction.

Thus, Ability directly influences an employees level of performance and satisfaction through the ability-job fit. So to get a compatible fit, what can be done?

First, an effective selection process will improve the fit. A job analysis will provide information about jobs currently being done and the abilities that individuals need to perform the jobs adequately. Applicants can then be tested, interviewed, and evaluated on the degree to which they possess the necessary abilities. Second, promotion and transfer decisions affecting individuals already working in the organization should reflect the abilities of candidates222