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Self-Concept & Self-Esteem in Organizational Behavior

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  • 0:05 Self-Concept & Self-Esteem
  • 1:26 Self-Concept at Work
  • 3:02 Self-Esteem at Work
  • 4:46 Uses at Work
  • 5:32 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jennifer Lombardo
Companies have to have a clear understanding of employee personality traits in under to motivate, challenge and train them to be productive. Two traits that affect an individual's view of themselves are self-concept and self-esteem.

Self-Concept and Self-Esteem

Susie Steel of Hearts Real Estate Development had a tremendous amount of self-esteem and a positive self-concept. She once told a client that she could build him his dream corporate office in under a year's time and also win architectural awards. Why are these traits so valuable to companies?

The positive side of these traits makes a wonderful, powerful, successful employee. Companies have to have a clear understanding of employee personality traits in order to motivate, challenge and train them to be productive. Personality traits affect individual employee behavior and overall success at work. Two traits that affect an individual's view of themselves are self-concept and self-esteem.

Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in definition. Self-concept is how an individual views who they are based on their habits, skills and temperament. In other words, it is the ability to reflect on one's own traits, skills and behavior. On the other hand, self-esteem is an attitude or view that an individual has about him or herself. It also refers to factors that we accept and value in ourselves and can be either negative or positive.

Self-Concept at Work

Self-concept is the ability to reflect on one's own traits, skills and behavior. Traits, competencies and values are the three factors that are part of the self-concept theory. Traits are specific patterns of behavior that exist within an individual. These traits lead to the idea that other people will view an individual based on these repetitive trait behaviors.

So for example, Susie's behavior as a child was viewed by her father as lazy, which impacted her self-concept of exactly who she was as a person. In reality, her patterns of behavior consisted of Susie not partaking in any activities because she was afraid of her father's criticism. As she got older, she realized that she wasn't lazy, just scared of her dad.

The second factor of self-concept is competencies. This is where an individual grows to understand what skills, abilities and knowledge they have in an organizational environment. Once these skills are identified, the individual will create a self-concept about where they excel at work. For example, Susie knows she excels in math and analytical abilities, so she feels she is an excellent problem solver.

The last part of self-concept deals with an individual's values, which are concepts and beliefs about their behavior. An individual's values can be determined by their actions and verbal expressions. For example, Susie spends enormous amounts of overtime at work, and she views herself as a hard worker.

Self-Esteem at Work

Self-esteem is affected by individuals' attitudes about themselves, which in turn can be molded via managerial or coworker feedback. For example, as an adult, Susie has very positive self-esteem. She believes that she is a valuable, intelligent, savvy businessperson who can handle any organizational situation. She developed this positive self-esteem through years of working hard, which resulted in success. She also has received awards in her trade and positive feedback from her superiors. An employee who has high self-esteem (positive) has the following organizational traits:

  • Confidence in work abilities
  • Self acceptance
  • Not affected by other individual's views
  • Optimistic

An employee who has low self-esteem (negative) tends to have the following organizational traits:

  • Does not have confidence in work abilities
  • Is not happy with who they are as a person physically, mentally or emotionally
  • Overly concerned about what other people think
  • Pessimistic

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