Emotions and Personality


Maccoby (2005, p.58) and Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) demonstrate the different types of emotions and personality that can exist in the workplace and how such insubstantial factors can be empirically measured. Emotions and personality are both difficult to describe and measure as they are not concrete things: they are feeling and based upon behaviours. Many analysts have attempted to measure emotions and personalities in the workplace since these non-concrete things definitely do have an effect. These feelings, emotions, behaviours and personalities have been defined in terms such as emotional intelligence (Christie, et al., 2007, p.212) and emotional labour. Maccoby (2005, p.58) has identified a new personality guideline beyond the earlier Freudian personality types which is known as the interactive, gamer personality. This personality is an extension of Freud’s work and incorporates the work of Erich Fromm. Such a personality is found in the younger generation and is a result of the highly-interactive nature of society today. Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) describe three types of work: physical, mental and emotional. Here, emotional labour takes its toll on the personality and emotional endurance. Some jobs require a high degree of emotional labour (ie. psychiatrists, trauma surgeons, ambulance attendants, police) where personality often comes into play. Both sets of authors demonstrate that emotions and personality play key roles in the successful accomplishment of work in the job environment.

Maccoby (2005, p.58) has identified a new personality that is emerging in employee circles known as the interactive, gamer personality. The interactive, gamer personality is usually possessed by someone under 35 years of age. They believe that they are experts who have succeeded at getting very good at a particular skill but can recover from a failure. They believe that everything is possible and that there is always an answer which can often be found through trial and error. These type of people consider competition as the natural state – they expect nothing else. These sort of people see teamwork as fun but require each person to have a specifically structured role in the team’s proceedings. These sorts of people believe it is a global world in terms of design, consumption and characters. These sorts of people get along with other people all over the earth in a global community. These sorts of people are ambitious, competitive and want their rewards to be results-based. Leaders are often seen as out of touch or malevolent by these people. These sorts of young people often want to take control themselves or share leadership amongst themselves (Maccoby, 2005, p.58).

The interactive, gamer personality very much covers those people who have been classified as ‘Generation Xers’ and ‘Yers’ by analysts of generational groups. They have grown up with the interactive home computer that has done much to mould their personality type which is different to the past. Maccoby (2005, p.58) outlines the previous views on personality which were largely based in the psychology of Freud. This system was not an ideal model but was revolutionary at its birth in the 1920s and 30s and its influence upon personality indicators and lived on well past its height in the 1950s US consumer culture. Freudianism indicated that the personality was structured around three personality types based in childhood. These personality types were: erotic, obsessive (Schwartz, 1982, p. 29) and narcissistic. The erotic is the caring side of a person while the obsessive is the side of a person that is turned inwards and is conscientious. Meanwhile the narcissistic side of people refers to natural leaders – whether where they lead is good or bad. Maccoby (2005, p.58) claims that these three personality types are useful for indicative and descriptive comparisons with the addition of Erich Fromm’s fourth personality, the self-marketing and interactive personality. Freud’s erotic side of the personality (Maccoby, 2005, p.58) equates with the worker’s capacity to perform the act of emotional labour (Hayes & Kleiner, 2001, p.81) – or to care about another person (a customer or client).

Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) demonstrate the different types of labour. There is the physical labour that a worker performs, such as a nurse performing injections upon a patient. There is also mental labour a worker performs such as a nurse measuring out doses and deciding which patients need to be seen by a doctor. However, there is also emotional labour a worker expends in dealing with consumers and clients. An example of this emotional expenditure is the energy spent by a nurse emotionally caring for and supporting a sick patient [or Freud‘s erotic personality according to Maccoby’s model (2005, p.58)]. A teacher may perform physical work of setting up Audio-Visual equipment for a class and perform mental labour in working out academic solutions, but a teacher performs emotional labour when helping a student cope with learning [or Freud‘s erotic personality according to Maccoby’s model (2005, p.58)]. A student may perform physical work in performing a science experiment for credit in a class and use mental labour in working out the equations for such an experiment but a student also uses emotional labour when co-operating with fellow students [or Freud‘s erotic personality according to Maccoby’s model (2005, p.58)] which might be a requirement of passing the course.

Emotional labour (Miller, et al.,2007, p.231), according to Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81), requires the worker to express and hold onto certain emotions within the workplace. For example, it would be extremely detrimental to patient care if a nurse was cruel or angry with a sick patient. Nurses need to be caring and understanding which involves emotional labour [or Freud‘s erotic personality according to Maccoby’s model (2005, p.58) – the side of the personality that Freud believed allows us to care]. The nurse must suppress her own feelings of anger, fear, mistrust and disgust and replace them with positive feelings and emotions structured towards the caring of a patient. This may be especially difficult for high-stress professions such as nurses, doctors and emergency workers who need to deliver emotional labour successfully to clients under situations of high pressure or danger. This brings stressors on the personality of the emotional labourer. Other workers suffer similar effects. As the personality of the worker is brought under increasing stress, emotional labour becomes more exhausting and difficult to maintain. A student that is running out of time on a certain project will have less ability to deliver emotional labour to his work colleagues and perform in a co-operative manner without getting impatient or angry [ie. according to Maccoby (2005, p.58) he will be less likely to mobilize his erotic personality of Freud‘s].

Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) define three types of emotional labour: that which requires face to face or voice to voice contact, that which needs the employee to induce an emotional state in another person such as fear, gratitude or excitement and there is that which allows the employer, through training and oversight, to be able to control the emotional activities of workers somewhat.

In conclusion Maccoby (2005, p.58) and Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) demonstrate the different types of emotions and personality that can exist in the workplace and how such non-concrete characteristics can be empirically measured. Emotions and personality are insubstantial but critical to management success. Stress takes an emotional toll on a worker’s personality, affecting his/her ability to emotionally labour. Certain types of personality [such as extroverted ones or ‘erotic‘ personalities in Freudian terms according to Maccoby (2005, p.58)] can excel at emotionally labouring (Hayes & Kleiner, 2001, p.81) for longer periods under stress. Depending upon the worker’s personality type, certain facets of that personality type can be appealed to or especially suited to certain types of labour. Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) equate emotional exchange with actual work – beyond physical and mental activity. Maccoby (2005, p.58) and Hayes & Kleiner (2001, p.81) all agree that emotions and personality have great impact upon the working environment.


Christie, Anne ;Jordan, Peter; Troth, Ashlea; Lawrence, Sandra 2007 ‘Testing the links between emotional intelligence and motivation,’Journal of Management and Organization. Lyndfield: Sep. Vol. 13, Iss.3; p.212

Hayes, Sandra & Kleiner, Brain H. 2001 ‘The managed heart: The commercialisation of human feeling – and its dangers,’ Management Research News, P., Patrington, Vol. 24, Iss. 3/4; pg. 81

Michael Maccoby, 2005 ‘Understanding the People You Manage,’ Research Technology Management, Arlington, May/June, Vol.48, Iss. 3, pg. 58

Miller, Katherine I;  Considine, Jennifer;  Garner. Johny 2007 ‘“Let me tell you about my job”: Exploring the terrain of emotion in  the workplace,’ Management Communication Quarterly: McQ., Thousand Oaks: Feb., Vol.20, Iss.3; p.231

Schwartz, Howard S.. 1982 ‘Job Involvement as Obsession-Compulsion,’ Academy of Management. The Academy of Management Review. Briarcliff Manor: Jul. Vol.7, Iss.3; p. 29

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