The concept of individual differences represents many different ideas to many people. However, Maxim Agafonov’s Theory of Individual Differences represents a unique opportunity to explore the dimensions of workplace dynamics as a product of these differences. Each individual possesses his or her own unique characteristics that drive their behavior and motivate them in one way or another. Therefore, behaviors from different people may clash from time to time and cause conflict. It is under these conditions that workplace issues arise that must be addressed and solved before they become too substantial. It is necessary to address these individual differences in a constructive manner so that relationships will evolve that have a positive impact on workplace roles, responsibilities, and results to demonstrate consistency and strength in a variety of areas.
Individual Differences Theory considers the relevance of three factors: 1) personality; 2) values and beliefs; and 3) intelligence (Agafonov). Each of these factors plays a critical role in shaping human thought, motivation, knowledge, and action. For example, personality represents several different perspectives that are influenced by cognition, traits, biology, and psychology, amongst others (Agafonov). It is inevitable that every human personality is unique and different, not only by physical characteristics, but by behaviors that drive specific actions to be taken. These behaviors are driven by biological and brain activities that enable human beings to make decisions that may benefit them or cause harm. Nonetheless, personality is comprised of a combination of factors that work collaboratively within the physical body to behave in specific ways and achieve goals and objectives. Human personalities are not only unique, but they also represent many different characteristics that are combined in very specific forms to determine how an individual grows and thrives in a given society.
In examining traits, there are three types to consider: 1) cardinal; 2) secondary; and central (Agafonov) Traits are typically believed to be a result of genetic material that leads to specific outcomes, such as eye color and hair color. However, some traits are more important than others and may contribute to personalities differently in every person. It is the distinctive genetic code within each human being that plays a substantial role in personality development and drives human thought, emotion, and motivation in different ways. It is important to identify the factors that drive individual personalities and the evolution of each person from infancy to adulthood. There are significant factors that contribute to personality development throughout the life span. Therefore, it is important to recognize some of these characteristics and to address some of the most critical traits that drive the human condition in positive and negative ways. For example, extroversion plays a role in enabling socialization and the ability to express creativity and share ideas, while neuroticism may contribute to difficult psychological challenges if life does not go as planned (Agafonov). These and other factors are active contributors to human growth and success in all stages of life.
The biological influences that drive personality are essential to the ability of human beings to have their own unique genetic codes and a myriad of characteristics in combinations that are unlike those of anyone else (Agafonov). The evolution of biological development has created higher level intelligence and the human spirit as driven by behavior, experience, and emotion in all areas of existence. As a result, it is important to identify areas where biology plays an integral role in physical development and brain function, but also in supporting cognitive abilities and psychological development. Each of these factors is essential to the discovery of biological factors that contribute to individualization and personality development in different forms. Biology has also actively contributed to the evolution of human beings into the individuals that exist today (Agafonov). The creation of the psychoanalytic perspective is significant because it demonstrates the importance of Sigmund Freud and his theory of personality (Agafonov). From a practical perspective, there are three areas of personality: 1) Id; 2) Ego; and 3) Superego, all of which lead to different types of decision-making and judgments that drive human behaviors and experiences (Agafonov). These efforts also play a role in supporting the understanding of right versus wrong and the subsequent decisions that are made throughout the life span. With these factors in mind, it is important to recognize that there are many valuable lessons to be learned in support of the psychoanalytic mind and its influence on human behavior, as human beings often use their inherent egos in different ways, some of which are positive and some of which are negative. Making a decision based upon ego could have a negative impact on development in some cases, while in others, it may produce favorable results and greater confidence in one’s abilities.
From a cognitive perspective, the theory supports the ability to think, remember, plan, and believe in what actions are taken (Agafonov). Basic critical thinking skills requires individuals to use their skills, knowledge, and inherent biology towards the greater good to positively influence their lives. A significant part of life is thinking about what needs to be done, taking action, and planning for the future. It is with these cognitive abilities that individuals are able to contribute to society and to be effective communicators in a social context. These factors are critical to individual success and to demonstrate cognitive strengths throughout life. Human cognition requires this type of effort in order to accomplish the desired objectives and to expand one’s personality to the desired level.
Personality assessments represent a means of recognizing what makes individuals tick and why they behave in a certain manner (Agafonov). These also demonstrate the ability of individuals to be effective communicators and to recognize their roles in life. Intelligence coincides with personality and enhances skill sets in a positive manner, while also addressing the importance of specific factors that contribute to intelligence (Agafonov). It is expected that beliefs, attitudes, and values coincide within the individual human psyche in order to recognize roles and contributions more effectively (Agafonov). The ability to recognize the differences between attitudes, values, and beliefs is also essential throughout the life span.
Agafonov’s Individual Differences Theory conveys the importance of different perspectives and characteristics that contribute to individual personalities and development at all stages of life. Many personality traits have significant genetic roots and therefore, are part of one’s biological makeup. At the same time, it is important to recognize the value of cognitive and psychoanalytic contributors to personality and in supporting choices made regarding individual behaviors and actions that are controlled by these systems. It is imperative that human beings recognize their contributions to the life span and to develop their personality characteristics to encourage positive experiences. Although behaviors are not always likely to be positive, individuals must learn from these experiences, develop new perspectives, and make decisions that will have a positive impact on their lives. The development of individual personalities begins before birth and continues to expand and grow in all stages of life. Therefore, it is important to use personality theories to understand how individuals respond to different situations throughout their lives.
- Agafonov, M. Individual Differences.