The Impact of Behavioural Characteristics on Groups and Teams in Healthcare

1 11 2010

When persons are in a group setting, their sense of self diminishes and can bring about anxiety; how they deal with that anxiety can be directly traced back to their behavioral characteristics (Straker).     Every person is a unique individual and has their own ingrained manner of dealing with anxiety, complexities and tasks.  The way in which those reactions interact is the salient characteristic of the collection of individuals, whether in a group or team setting.  Simply put, the type of personality of an individual determines how that person interacts with other people, as well as how the approach their work (DeCenzo & Robbins 259).

In many businesses, employers look to personality assessments to determine which candidate they should hire, which employees should be promoted, and how to appropriately design teams (Profiles International).  The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the most prevalent of these tests, utilized by over 75% of Fortune 100 organizations (Knight 62).  Personality assessments each offer a series of excogitative questions to the subject, and based on the responses are able to typify the subject with significant accuracy, describing everything from how they approach conflict to how they handle stress to whether they work well with others or better independently (Carducci 146).  As an example, using the MBTI method, an individual that is an Extroverted Sensing Feeling Judging personality (ESFJ) shows a need to receive a pat on the back for a job well done and seeks that confirmation that their work is done well (DeCenzo & Robbins 259).  Placing them in an independent environment with limited interaction or opportunities for feedback could lead to them feeling unappreciated and ultimately increase their work anxiety.  This could result in turnover as it is believed that people who are in positions that do not bode well with their personality type are more likely to voluntarily resign (DeCenzo & Robbins 264).  In fact, the proper use of personality assessments in filling specific positions within an organization shows more than an 80% rate of “getting the right person for the job” (Knight 67).

Yet, with even the hiring of the “right person for the job”, issues can still arise if that employee is placed in a team environment with other team members whose personalities conflict with their own.  “When conflict occurs strong feelings are frequently aroused, objectivity flies out the window, egos are threatened, and personal relationships are placed in jeopardy” (Earnest, Garee W., McCaslin, N.L., & Jones, Jo M. 2).  To minimize the risk of conflict and anxiety, employers can utilize a personality assessment to assign members to teams.  As an example, if one utilized psychologist John Holland’s six personality type method, they would find that an employee who scores as the Realistic type prefers to work with equipment or other inanimate objects and would fare poorly in a team setting, based on their characteristic of avoiding working with other people (DeCenzo & Robbins 263).  By determining which employees are analytical thinkers and which are motivated by a sense of urgency, an employer can create a more successful team and assign the best roles for each member, bearing in mind that “groups often take on the characteristics of their [leaders]” (Cooper & Hogg 372).

Understanding the importance of the team’s characteristics is likely even more critical in a healthcare setting, where time is of the essence and lives may be at stake.  Assigning the appropriate employee to the most suited position can minimize errors and prove most beneficial to the patients.  In a healthcare setting, the customer is intimately involved in the dynamics of the staff than in many other fields, where the office environment is more removed from the interaction with the customer.  When a patient arrives at a medical facility, they bring their own anxiety and concerns about their well being and need not be distracted by conflicts between employees who have been poorly assigned to a team.  For example, assigning a John Holland Artistic type personality that is unorganized and a John Holland Conventional type personality that thrives on orderliness to handle patient check in could create unnecessary tensions when there is frustration between the two (DeCenzo & Robbins 263).  The Artistic type may be less likely to understand the need for conformity, while the lack of efficiency would aggravate the Conventional type.  The same is true when one organizes the less suitable MBTI personalities together.  An Extrovert Intuitive Thinking Perceiving (ENTP) personality needs change and the unexpected, assigning them to a routine task, such as transcribing, could lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately a lack of dedication to their duties (DeCenzo & Robbins 259).  If the ENTP was to work with an appropriately assigned personality of Introvert Sensing Thinking Judging (ISTJ) who appreciates the value of consistency and accuracy, the ISTJ would likely take on the burden, begrudgingly, of the ENTP’s assignments.  This could cause the ISTJ personality to unravel at the seams, criticizing even their own shortcomings and losing sight of rationality (

As detailed above, it is not only beneficial for employers to utilize personality assessment methods to gain a clearer idea of which candidate would be ideal for their organization while in the hiring process, it is also a tool that can help create a well structured and successful grouping of members of the business.  By having the advantage of knowing how an employee may react under pressure and which ideals are fundamental to their success, a manager can assign their workers in the environment that is best suited to the individual.  The success of the whole is dependent entirely on the success of the parts.  To enable the business to perform to its potential, employers should utilize the assessments of their employees to hone each team into a high functioning unit.

Works Cited

BSM Consulting, Inc.  “The Duty Fulfiller.”  November 2010.


Carducci, Bernardo.  “The Viewpoints of Jung and Adler.”  The Psychology of Personality: Viewpoints, Research, and Applications.  2009:145-167.


Cooper, Joel & Hogg, Michael.  “Group Composition.”  The Sage Handbook of Social Psychology. 2003:371-373.


DeCenzo, David & Robbins, Stephen. “Foundations of Individual and Group Behavior.” Fundamentals of Business Management.  2009:257-267.


Earnest, Garee W., McCaslin, N.L., & Jones, Jo M..  “Conflict Management Styles as Reflections of Jungian Personality Type Preferences of the Cooperative Extension’s North Central Region Directors and District Directors.”  1993.

Knight, Mike.  “Test-Case Scenario.”  Indianapolis Monthly. 2003: 62-67.


Profiles International.  “Online Workplace Personality Tests.”  June 2010.


Straker, David.  “Group Behavior and Psychoanalysis.”  November 2010.






3 responses

7 01 2011


16 02 2011

i love it

22 02 2011

as if!

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