Effect of personality type on performance of an overhead task

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Title: Effect of personality type on performance of an overhead task
Author: Sudhakaran, Sunil
Advisors: Dr. Gary Mirka, Committee Chair
Dr. Nelson Couch, Committee Member
Dr. Hester Lipscomb, Committee Member
Abstract: Individual factors are becoming increasingly more prevalent in studies that explore occupational musculoskeletal injury/illness. Empirical and theoretical evidence supports further research into the role of individual differences in psychosocial attributes in the occupational exposure, especially the injury outcome process and potential mechanisms that may be at work. The goal of the current work was to understand whether certain individuals may place themselves at risk by taking infrequent breaks (i.e. working through pain or fatigue) if they are given the freedom to decide the work pace and work-rest schedule. The hypothesis is that individuals with certain personality characteristics like type A maybe at higher risk due to their choice of less frequent breaks and a fast paced approach to work just to get the job done as compared to type B personality. This hypothesis is based on the inherent time-urgency characteristic of type A individuals. Sixteen subjects (8 of each personality type) were asked to perform a 40 cycle overhead assembly work involving running nuts onto bolts located on an overhead board. The whole 40 cycle session was self paced and subjects had the freedom to take as many breaks as they wanted and these breaks could be as long as they wanted. The results showed that there was no significant effect of personality type on the task performance variables- total cycle time, total break time, average break time, average cycle time, # of breaks, average pain scale and average pain scale at breaks. These results were not consistent with the theory which supported the fast working of type As based on their time-urgency characteristic. Although no previous studies have looked at an overhead assembly task, the results of this study were consistent with other recent studies in our laboratory showing no performance effects of personality type on simple, unchallenging tasks.
Date: 2003-05-21
Degree: MS
Discipline: Industrial Engineering
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/1277

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