The Bright & Dark Sides of Altruism

by Furnham, A., Hyde, G., Trickey, G., Treglown, L., Journal of Business Ethics (2014)

This study looked at personality trait and personality disorder correlates of self-rated altruism. In two studies over 4,000 adult British managers completed a battery of tests including a ‘bright side’ personality trait measure (HPI), a ‘dark side’/disorders measure (HDS), and a measure of their Motives and Values (MVPI) which included Altruism. The two studies showed similar results revealing that those who were low on Adjustment (Neuroticism) but high on Interpersonal Sensitivity (Agreeableness), Prudence (Conscientiousness) and Inquisitiveness (Openness) were more likely to value Altruism and be motivated to commit altruistic acts which concerns helping others and creating an environment that places emphasis on customer service. Those more interested in ‘‘Getting Along’’ with others were more Altruistic than those more interested in ‘‘Getting Ahead’’ of others.

Implications for the selection and management of altruistic people in a business are considered. Limitations and future directions of this research are also noted.

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