The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of employees at four organizations, including corporate employees, law enforcement personnel, public school administrators, and university professors. Investigating participants’ personality traits—namely, introversion and extraversion—and the effect on flow experiences at work lends to fill a research gap in the human resource development (HRD) literature. In an effort to examine the effect that introversion and/or extraversion have on flow experiences of employees at the four organizations studied objectively, a quantitative methodology was used with a causal-comparative design. The sample for this study included voluntary employees from four different organizations; data was collected through two surveys, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the WOrk-reLated Flow (WOLF), and analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software.
Given the importance of investigating psychological aspects of employees in HRD, in this case personality, an opportunity surfaced to examine the effects of introversion and extraversion specifically on work flow experiences. Prior research emphasizes the intrinsic nature of flow, so this research investigated both introverts and extraverts’ flow experiences at work. Moreover, there was a gap in the literature in terms of identifying whether personality attributes affect work flow; this study aimed to address that void in the research. Personality traits of employees should be considered from a leadership perspective when encouraging flow at work.
In assessing the personality trait(s) of employees at the four organizations studied, the MBTI was used to measure introversion and/or extraversion; work flow experiences were measured using the WOLF inventory. The primary research question for this study was: “What is the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of employees at four organizations?” From this question, several others were investigated, as follows: (1) “What is the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of corporate employees?” (2) “What is the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of law enforcement personnel?” (3) “What is the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of public school administrators?” (4) “What is the effect of personality traits on work flow experiences of university professors?”
The independent variable in this study was personality traits, namely introversion and extraversion, and the dependent variable was work flow experiences.
The MBTI and WOLF instrument(s) were distributed to employees at the four organizations studied. The actual response rate was 23 corporate employees, 25 law enforcement personnel, 23 public school administrators, and 17 university professors, for a total of 87 employees from the four organizations. All the surveys returned, except one corporate employee packet, were completed properly and used in this study. The one incomplete survey packet was not used, bringing the corporate employee data to a total of 22 participants. The demographic information collected was limited to gender; the total included 22 male introverts, 29 male extraverts, 12 female introverts, and 21 female extraverts. One public school administrator and two corporate employees did not include their gender and were not used in the study, so the total number of overall participants included in the analysis of personality traits by gender was 84. Although gender was not part of this study, the findings further contribute to the literature.
This study was designed to investigate whether personality traits had an effect on work flow experiences of employees at four organizations—corporate employees, law enforcement personnel, public school administrators, and university professors. Based on the results of this study, no statistical significance was found in the voluntary employees that participated; HRD professionals may use the findings to create an environment conducive to work flow, provided that the extraverts in the study experienced flow in a similar manner as the introverts.