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Individual Differences and Their Major Factors


It is evident that there are individual differences that affect people in the workplace and these differences affect organizational performance. For organizations to remain competitive in the modern business world, they must be attentive to these diversities. A perfect organization can capitalize on the differences and ensure that they are considered when tasks and duties are being given (DuBrin, 2004).

Describe major factors related to individual differences that affect job performance

There are various factors that are related to these differences. One of the factors is intelligence. People do not have the same level of intelligence. Employees working at the same level usually have different levels of intelligence and this has an impact on their performance. The more intelligent workers usually perform better than their counterparts who may not be as intelligent as they are and employees can capitalize on these differences to ensure that the more demanding and complex tasks are given to the more intelligent workers because they are highly likely to deliver better results. The other factor that affects performance is mental ability and talent. People in the same organization usually have different abilities and talents (Bowles, 2008, p. 89). Factors such as self-confidence, motivation, and a good working environment are cannot perform in the absence of talents and abilities because the performance is determined by the ability and the talents of the people. The difference in abilities and talents is mainly caused by genetic variations, exposure and the nature of their brain. The brain is especially influenced significantly by the society in which an individual is brought and the immediate cultural environment. This is why there are people who are good at the technical aspects of a particular job while others are good at the human aspect. For organizational performance to be enhanced, it is important to ensure that the diverse abilities and talents of the employees are identified so that they can allocate areas where they can use their abilities effectively. Another factor that accounts for individual differences in personality (DuBrin, 2004, p. 3). There are very many personality types and all these personalities can be found in an organization. The differences in personalities affect the way people interact with each other and their productivity in the organization. There are people who work better when they are alone while there are others who work better in a team. There are those who work better in the field than in the office, while there are others who excel more in leadership positions than others because of their personality types. Personality also affects the way people make decisions, their levels of motivation, their ambition, self-confidence and the personality differences affect the general productivity and performance of an organization (DuBrin, 2004, p. 3). The last factor that causes individual differences in an organization or in the workplace is culture. The people in an organization do not belong to the same culture meaning that cultural diversities are part of the human face of an organization. Cultural diversities affect the way people behave, dress and relate with others. This means that any organization must be ready to accommodate the cultural differences while at the same time ensuring that the cultures of the different people in the organization do not affect the organizational culture.

Examples illustrating how factors such as multiple intelligence, mental ability, skills, personality traits, and cultural behavior influence performance

Multiple intelligence, mental ability, skills, personality traits, and cultural behavior affect job performance. For example, the more intelligent people are usually the most productive in the workplace because they can accomplish a wide range of tasks effectively. They are also diligent and set very high standards. Mental ability determines how a person performs in a certain context and that is why organizations create segments so that people can be put in areas where their mental abilities can allow them to perform well. For example, people with temperament and attention problems cannot fit in customer service. Skills are also very important in performance. In the modern environment, people with technical and computing skills tend to perform better than their counterparts without these skills on technical assignments. Personality traits also affect performance. For example, people who cannot work in a team do not perform better than those who value teamwork. Finally, culture is another aspect that affects organizational performance. People from retrogressive and conservative cultures do not easily accommodate change and this tends to affect their performance.


In conclusion, individual differences are part of the human face of any organization and if they are well managed, they can boost the productivity and the performance of an organization. Failure to manage these differences can easily create conflict which may have a big impact on the quality of delivery.


  1. Bowles, S. (2009). “Organizational Theory-A Marxian Critique,” American Economic Review, 65 (2), pp. 74–82.
  2. DuBrin, A. (2004). Applying psychology: Individual and organizational effectiveness (6th Ed.). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.
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