Dr Arthur Poropat conducts research on personality, the prediction of academic performance, organisational citizenship behaviour, and the management practices that improve staff performance. We spent five minutes with Arthur to learn a little more about his work…
In what area/s does your current research interests lie?
Recently, I have published several articles on the value of using personality ratings provided by someone other than the person themselves (e.g., their colleague, teacher, or peer): it can… hugely improve [the] prediction of performance. Another emerging area…[concerns] culturally-based personality measures, especially looking at how Aboriginal people describe themselves and others.
What are you working on at the moment?
…Together with colleagues at Sydney and Humboldt universities, I have been developing new projects aimed at changing personality and emotional intelligence in order to foster work or academic performance; and…drafting a summary of factors that improve work performance, which I hope to turn into a book…
Are there ongoing or emerging trends in your field/s of research?
Personality has long been assumed to be relatively stable—indeed, it is a common to hear people say things like “You can’t change my personality”. Yet there is increasing evidence that personality changes substantially, especially as a result of getting older or specific life experiences. Likewise, there is growing evidence that people ‘change’ their personality from one situation to another, so personality is best measured within context (e.g., at work or at school). For that reason, I have been developing…projects…on how to change personality to improve people’s life outcomes in health, education or work.
Have there been major developments or key findings that have directed the trajectory of the research?
Several major reviews have greatly changed views on personality in work and education….[such as] Barrick and Mount’s meta-analysis of personality in the workplace… My own reviews of personality and academic performance have had a growing influence because they showed that personality is at least as important as intelligence for education—and it can be far more important. Brian Connelly’s work on other-rated personality have helped to shake assumptions about the best way to assess personality, while Brent Roberts has progressively demonstrated the capacity for personality to affect life outcomes and to change for the better.
Finally, are there challenges in your field/s in trying to bridge the gap between research, practice and policy?
…There is nothing more basic than who you are and what you do, and personality and performance reflect those two aspects of modern life. The increasing evidence of clear links between the two creates substantial opportunities for improving organisational outcomes but also fostering welfare of individuals. For that reason, almost all of my research has had clear practical implications, whether it be for individual selection or development, personal or organisational or social outcomes. …My research shows that we can [improve]…both if we understand how personality and performance are related at a practical level.