ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (10): 1866-1877.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01866

• Regular Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The big-five personality profiles: A person-centered approach

YIN Kui1, ZHAO Jing1, ZHOU Jing2(), NIE Qi3   

  1. 1School of Economics and Management, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
    2School of Public Administration, Guangdong University of Finance, Guangzhou 510521, China
    3College of Economics and Management, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 211106, China
  • Received:2020-09-14 Online:2021-10-15 Published:2021-08-23
  • Contact: ZHOU Jing


The big-five personality profile is the combination of the high and low level big-five personality traits in individuals, which fully considers the interaction between personality traits and reflects the differences in quantity and quality of the big-five personality traits among different subgroups. The big-five personality profile is significant to explain the variable-centered contradictory conclusions, which meets the needs of organizational management practice and has a stronger guiding significance for practice. To date, more and more research has applied person-centered approach to examine the role of personality profile in personnel evaluation, human resource development and decision-making. However, the existing relevant reviews of the big-five personality were variables-centered, and there is a lack of systematically reviewing the core issues of the big-five personality, such as the theoretical basis for dividing individuals into different subgroups based on the big-five personality, the number of profiles composed of the big-five personality traits and the characteristic similarity of the profiles obtained from different studies, etc. Moreover, the research on the big-five personality profiles has just started in the organizational behavior and human resource management field, so it is uncertain that how many big-five personality profiles can effectively explain the predictive role of personality.

The advantages of the big-five personality profiles research over the big-five personality traits research are reflected in: (1) The former considers personality as an integrated system, fully considering the interaction between the big-five personality traits. As an important supplement to the latter, it can expand the understanding of the relationship between personality traits and different outcomes. (2) The study of big-five personality profiles is convenient for variable combination, and the constructed profiles can be used as a variable, which is beneficial to explain the contradictory conclusions of past variable-centered research. (3) The research of big-five personality profiles, a typical application of person-centered approach, is more in line with the reality of sample heterogeneity. (4) The big-five personality profiles are more in line with reality of the individual's cognitive model and has a stronger guiding significance for practice.

Based on the person-centered approach, a systematic review of relevant research on the big-five personality profiles in the field of organizational behavior and human resource management. We found: (1) The number of big-five personality profiles is affected by measurement tools, research situation, sample characteristics, research methods and so on. Based on the ego control - ego resiliency model, four profiles can be identified, which include commonly known Resilient profile, Ordinary profile and Rigid profile. (2) The big-five personality profiles act more as independent variables to explore whether there are differences in key outcomes and as moderators regarded as important resources for individuals to cope with identity transformation and work pressures.

Four directions for future research were proposed: (1) Strengthen the theoretical foundation and explore the role of other theories in explaining the big-five personality profiles. (2) Strengthen repetitive research and identify the general big-five personality profiles, which is conducive to the comparison of subsequent research conclusions and also to provide guidance for practical managers. (3) Identify the antecedents of the big-five personality profiles to better understand why different research conclusions differ. (4) Include more personality traits to describe the personality profiles more thoroughly. Finally, in the field of organizational management and human resources management, future research can learn from the personality profiles in psychology to probe into the employee category with multiple personality traits to realize employee category management more comprehensively and accurately.

Key words: personality, big-five personality, person-centered, personality profile

CLC Number: