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Nomothetic approach and the idiographic approach

Nomothetic approach and the idiographic approach

Answer Question 4 and 5

Question 4:
The way in which someone reacts to a situation can be summarized by two schools of thinking; the nomothetic approach and the idiographic approach. The nomothetic approach suggests that personalities cannot be significantly influenced by environmental factors. The ‘Big Five’ approach is widely associated to this approach as it encompasses personality as the determinant for behaviour without considering external factors. Eysenck’s theory, for example, suggests that an individual’s behaviour can be determined from his/her relevant personality traits (Eysenck, 1973 cited in Brooks, 2009, p.45). Conversely, the idiographic approach suggests that in addition to innate personality characteristics, environmental factors/experiences can also shape personality. An idiographic approach, as outlined in Jung’s personality theory, suggests that there are four dimensions to personality; (i) extrovert or introvert, (ii) sensing and intuiting, (iii) thinking and feeling, and (iv) judging or perceiving.

Discuss the distinction between the positivist (nomothetic) and constructivist (idiographic) approaches. It would be good to discuss this a bit further with regard to the differences in bias between the positivist and constructivist views.

Question 5:
In this times of changing environment and of flatter organizations, communications is the best way to keep members informed about what is happening, what is going to happen and what is expected from them in order to face it. So, different personalities would need different communication approach to get the message and minimize random response. But this different approach would not only depend on individual personality but also of group personality.

Many of you have emphasized on the importance of communication. Assume you are to develop an internal communication strategy. Do you think that the communication approach used should be different for the various personality types? If so, how and why?


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