When it comes to personality, the Five Factor Model (FFM) is the go-to for I/O’s looking for the best of the best in hiring measures. We’re talking about the Five Factor Model of Personality, which focuses on an individual’s stable traits and behavioral tendencies.
Personality has been conceptualized in a number of different ways, but no studies have reached the same level of agreement and popularity as the FFM. Early research by Allport and Odbert laid the foundation for what would become the Five Factor Model by identifying consistent categories of personality traits in the spoken and written language of a population. Using this early work as a starting point, researchers began to propose generalized models of personality.
As a follow-up to this research, Tupes and Cristal conducted a landmark study that identified five relatively strong and recurrent factors (i.e., extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness) across several samples. The factors Tupes and Cristal proposed would eventually become the FFM as it is known today following replication by numerous other studies. These factors represent traits at the broadest level of abstraction, and are meant to summarize more distinct and specific dimensions. As the model has become accepted by researchers, the focus has shifted to the utility of it. Modern meta-analyses on the FFM have found consistent links to outcomes of interest such as job performance.