• Iyabo BASSIR
  • Adedoyin Oluwafunmilayo OYINLOLA
  • Miracle Kelechukwu AHIAKWO


Women, Personality traits, Career achievement


 Glass-ceiling phenomenon is the discrimination within companies against women, which prevents career advancement past middle-management level positions. The insufficiency of women at the executive position has necessitated the need for solid support to examine personality traits (openness, extroversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness) that could be related with career achievement among women who have been able to attain top leadership roles. The Big Five personality theory, Feminism and Learned Helplessness theory guided the study. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 111 women across 3 career levels (top executive, mid-level, and entry-level). They were recruited to participate in the survey through purposive sampling after completing an online screening questionnaire to determine their eligibility. The 4 personality traits were assessed using the Big 5 personality inventory. The data was analyzed using chi-square independent test, one-way ANOVA, and multiple regression, at p≤0.05.Extroversion, neuroticism, openness and conscientiousness jointly predicted career achievement (F(4, 106) = 6.30; Adj.R2 =0.19) accounting for 19% of the variance. Only openness independently predicted career achievement (β = 0.22), while extroversion, neuroticism, and conscientiousness did not. Women in top executive (x = 21.91±2.82) and midlevel (x = 20.38±3.13) respectively scored significantly higher on openness than their counterparts in entry level. Extroversion, neuroticism, openness and conscientiousness jointly influenced career achievement. Women in top executive and midlevel careers were more open to experience. To overcome the glass ceiling effect and attain top executive career level, women need to be open to experience.


Al-Mashaan, O. S. (2003). Associations among Job Satisfaction, Optimism, Pessimism, and Psychosomatic Symptoms for Employees in the Government Sector in Kuwait. Psychological Reports, 93(1), 17–25.

AWP Network. (2015). 14 Leading Organizations Changing the Lives of Nigerian Women and Girls. AWP Network. https://awpnetwork.com/2015/10/13/14-leading-organizations-changing-the-lives-of-nigerian-women-and-girls/

Barrick, m. r., and Mount, m. k. (1991). The big five personality dimensions and job performance: a meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 44(1), 1–26.

Catalyst. (2001) 2000 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earnershttps://www.catalyst.org/research/2000-catalyst-census-of-women-corporate-officers-and-top-earners/

Clarke, S., and Robertson, I. (2005). A meta-analytic review of the Big Five personality factors and accident involvement in occupational and non-occupational settings. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 78(3), 355–376.

Connolly, J. J., and Viswesvaran, C. (2000). The role of affectivity in job satisfaction: a meta-analysis. Personality and Individual Differences, 29(2), 265–281.

Costa, P. T., and McCrae, R. R. (1992). The Five-Factor Model of Personality and Its Relevance to Personality Disorders. Journal of Personality Disorders, 6(4), 343–359. https://doi.org/10.1521/pedi.1992.6.4.343

Cotter, D. A., Hermsen, J., Ovadia, S., and Vanneman, R. (2001, December). (PDF) The Glass Ceiling Effect. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236778636_The_Glass_Ceiling_Effect

Cherry, K. (2009). What Is Learned Helplessness and Why Does it Happen? Verywell Mind https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-learned-helplessness-2795326

Cherry, K. (2019, 29). Trait Theory of Personality and Leading Theorists. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/trait-theory-of-personality-2795955

De Jong, R. D., van der Velde, M. E. G., and Jansen, P. G. W. (2001). Openness to Experience and Growth Need Strength as Moderators between Job Characteristics and Satisfaction. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 9(4), 350–356.

Diekmann, K. (2015). Feminist Identities: Career Choices and Experiences of College-Educated Women. Cornerstone. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1408&context=etds

Erdheim, J., Wong, M. and Zicker (2006) Linking the big five Personality constructs to organizational commitment. Personality and individual Differences, 41- 959-970

Economic Intelligence unit. (2010). Women’s economic opportunity A new pilot index and global ranking from the Economist Intelligence Unit Findings and methodology.

Fattah, A. H. (2017). The Effect of Organizational Culture, Leader Behavior, Self-Efficacy, and Job Satisfaction on Job Performance of The Employees. JURNAL TERAPAN MANAJEMEN DAN BISNIS, 3(2), 102. 10.26737/jtmb.v3i2.212

Female Rep. Board Nigeria. (2019). Women on Boards in Nigeria. https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/7f01fe3c-21e2-4653-98f6-b82e0f8833cb/Women_on_Boards_in_Nigeria.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CVID=mLyez0p

George, J. M., and Jones, G. R. (2014). George & Jones, Understanding and Managing Organizational Behavior | Pearson. Pearson.com. https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/product/George-Understanding-and-Managing-Organizational-Behavior-5th-Edition/9780132394574.html

Johns, M. L. (2013). Breaking the glass ceiling: structural, cultural, and organizational barriers preventing women from achieving senior and executive positions. Perspectives in Health Information Management. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3544145/

Judge, T. A., Bono, J. E., Ilies, R., and Gerhardt, M. W. (2002). Personality and leadership: A qualitative and quantitative review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(4), 765–780. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.87.4.765

Judge, T., and Kammeyer-Mueller, J. (2007). 4 Personality and Career Success. https://us.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-assets/15766_book_item_15766.pdf

Judge, T. A., and Bono, J. E. (2000). Five-factor model of personality and transformational leadership. Journal of Applied Psychology, 85(5), 751–765. https://doi.org/10.1037//0021-9010.85.5.751

Judge, T. A., Heller, D., and Mount, M. K. (2002). Five-factor model of personality and job satisfaction: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(3), 530–541. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.87.3.530

Judge, T. A., Higgins, C. A., Thoresen, C. J., & Barrick, M. R. (1999). The big five personality traits, general mental ability, and career success across the life span. Personnel Psychology, 52(3), 621–652. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.1999.tb00174.x

Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., Durham, C. C., and Kluger, A. N. (1998). Dispositional effects on job and life satisfaction: The role of core evaluations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 83(1), 17–34. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.83.1.17

Katic, I., Ivanisevic, A., Grubic-Nesic, L., and Penezic, N. (2017). Effects of Sociodemographic Characteristics and Personality Traits on Career Development. The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, 87(2), 201–216. https://doi.org/10.1177/0091415017743008

Keltner, D., Ellsworth, P. C., and Edwards, K. (1993). Beyond simple pessimism: Effects of sadness and anger on social perception. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64(5), 740–752. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.64.5.740

Kluemper, D. H., Little, L. M., and DeGroot, T. (2009). State or trait: effects of state optimism on job-related outcomes. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30(2), 209–231. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.591

Luthans, F. (2002). The need for and meaning of positive organizational behavior. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(6), 695–706. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.165

Luthans, F. (2002). Positive organizational behavior: Developing and managing psychological strengths. Academy of Management Perspectives, 16(1), 57–72. https://doi.org/10.5465/ame.2002.6640181

Madichie, Nnamdi. O. (2009, March). Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Nigeria: A Review of Women’s Entrepreneurship. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/247496324_Breaking_the_Glass_Ceiling_in_Nigeria_A_Review_of_Women’s_Entrepreneurship

Niehoff, B. P. (2006). Personality predictors of participation as a mentor. Career Development International, 11(4), 321–333. https://doi.org/10.1108/13620430610672531

Nash J.C. (2019). Black Feminism Reimagined URL:https://ischool-fsu.libguides.com/blackfeminism

Okunola, A. (2021). Nigeria’s Feminist Coalition Wants Women in Positions of Power. But Why Is That Important? Global Citizen. https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/feminist-coalition-nigeria-women-power-equality/

Omotayo, O.A., Oladele, I.O., and Adenike, A. (2013). Glass-Ceiling and Female Career Advancement: A Study of the Nigeria. Convenant University. edu.ng Semantic Scholar.

Orubu F. and Oboreh E. (2016) Construct and Manifestations of glasss ceiling in Nigerian work places. E3 Journal of Business Management and Economics.

Phondej, W., and Yousapronpaiboon, K. (2015). Linking Female Leaders’ Personality Traits to Motives, Powers and Behaviour Competencies: Women in Executive Level Positions. Research Gate. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wanida-Phondej/publication/284003925_Linking_Female_Leaders’_Personality_Traits_to_Motives_Powers_and_Behaviour_Competencies_Women_in_Executive_Level_Positions/links/564aca5308ae295f644ffa8e/Linking-Female-Leaders-Personality-Traits-to-Motives-Powers-and-Behaviour-Competencies-Women-in-Executive-Level-Positions.pdf

Pietrangelo, A. (2020). How the Glass Ceiling Effect Impacts Mental Health. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/glass-ceiling-effect#What-is-the-glass-ceiling-theory-and-effect?

Penny, L., David, E., and Witt, L. A. (2011, May). A review of personality and performance: Identifying boundaries, contingencies, and future research directions. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/325193120_A_review_of_personality_and_performance_Identifying_boundaries_contingencies_and_future_research_directions

Resick, C. J., Whitman, D. S., Weingarden, S., and Hiller, N. J. (2009, November). The Bright-Side and the Dark-Side of CEO Personality: Examining Core Self-Evaluations, Narcissism, Transformational Leadership, and Strategic Influence. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/38092549_The_Bright-Side_and_the_Dark-Side_of_CEO_Personality_Examining_Core_Self-Evaluations_Narcissism_Transformational_Leadership_and_Strategic_Influence

Roman, M. (2017). Relationships between Women’s Glass Ceiling Beliefs, Career Advancement Satisfaction, and Quit Intention. ScholarWorks https://scholarworks.waldenu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=4933&context=dissertations&httpsredir=1&referer=

Rothmann, S., and Coetzer, E. (2003). (PDF) The Big Five Personality Dimensions and Job Performance. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/47739408_The_Big_Five_Personality_Dimensions_and_Job_Performance

Scheier, M. F., and Carver, C. S. (1985). Optimism, coping, and health: Assessment and implications of generalized outcome expectancies. Health Psychology, 4(3), 219–247.

Scheier, M. F., and Carver, C. S. (1992). Effects of optimism on psychological and physical well-being: Theoretical overview and empirical update. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 16(2), 201–228.

Seirbet, S., and Kraimer, M. l. (n.d.). The Five-Factor Model of Personality and Career Success. ResearchGate. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/222247632_The_Five Factor_Model_of_Personality_and_Career_Success

Semeijn, J. H., van der Heijden, B. I. J. M., and De Beuckelaer, A. (2018). Personality Traits and Types in Relation to Career Success: An Empirical Comparison Using the Big Five. Applied Psychology, 69(2). https://doi.org/10.1111/apps.12174

Setia, M. S. (2016). Methodology series module 3: Cross-sectional studies. Indian Journal of Dermatology, 61(3), 261. NCBI. https://doi.org/10.4103/0019-5154.182410

Sev, J. (2019). The Big Five Personality Traits as Factors Influencing Job Performance Behavior in Business Organizations: A Study of Breweries and Foods/Other Beverages Manufacturing Organizations in Nigeria. British Journal of Psychology Research, 7(1), z9–36. https://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Big-Five-Personality-Traits-As-Factors-Influencing-Job-Performance-Behavior-In-Business-Organizations.pdf

Simon and Holt, (2017). Social Psychological Approaches to Women and Leadership Theory. Jepson School of Leadership Studies Articles, Book Chapters and Other Publications. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/232785141.pdf

Smith, P., Crittenden, N., and Caputi, P. (2012). Measuring women’s beliefs about glass ceilings: development of the Career Pathways Survey. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 27(2), 68–80. https://doi.org/10.1108/17542411211214130

Smither, J. W., London, M., and Richmond, K. R. (2005). The Relationship between Leaders’ Personality and Their Reactions to and Use of Multisource Feedback. Group & Organization Management, 30(2), 181–210. https://doi.org/10.1177/1059601103254912

Smithikrai, C. (2007). Personality Traits and Job Success: An investigation in a Thai sample. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 15(1), 134–138. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2389.2007.00372.x

St J. Burch, G., and Anderson, N. (2004). Measuring person‐team fit: development and validation of the team

selection inventory. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 19(4), 406–426.


Teriyama, J. (2019). The big five personality traits as factors influencing job performance behavior in business organizations: a study of breweries and foods/other beverages manufacturing organizations in Nigeria. British Journal of Psychology Research. https://www.eajournals.org/wp-content/uploads/The-Big-Five-Personality-Traits-As-Factors-Influencing-Job-Performance-Behavior-In-Business-Organizations.pdf

Tekin, Ö.A and Keskin, E. (2017). (PDF) The Interaction between Five Factor Personality Traits and Glass Ceiling Perception. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318323791_The_Interaction_between_Five_Factor_Personality_Traits_and_Glass_Ceiling_Perception

The Pennsylvania State University. (2013). The Glass Ceiling. Sites.psu.edu. https://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2013/11/25/the-glass-ceiling/

Thomas International Ltd. (2021). What Are the Big 5 Personality Traits? Thomas International. https://www.thomas.co/resources/type/hr-guides/what-are-big-5-personality-traits

Thomas w. H. Ng, Lillian t. Eby, kelly l. Sorensen, & Daniel c. Feldman. (2005). Predictors of objective and subjective career success: a meta-analysis. Personnel Psychology, 58(2), 367–408. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1744-6570.2005.00515.x

United Nations - The World’s Women (2020): Trends and Statistics United Nations. United Nations. https://www.un.org/en/desa/world%E2%80%99s-women-2020

Wille, B., Wiernik, B. M., Vergauwe, J., Vrijdags, A., and Trbovic, N. (2018). Personality characteristics of male and female executives: Distinct pathways to success? Journal of Vocational Behavior, 106, 220–235. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2018.02.005

Willie, B., De Fruyt, F., and Feys, M. (2013). (PDF) Big Five Traits and Intrinsic Success in the New Career Era: A 15‐Year Longitudinal Study on Employability and Work–Family Conflict. ResearchGate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263140334_Big_Five_Traits_and_Intrinsic_Success_in_the_New_Career_Era_A_15-Year_Longitudinal_Study_on_Employability_and_Work-Family_Conflict

Wimbiz (n.d.). NIGERIAN FEMALES ON CORPORATE BOARDS. http://wimbiz.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Nigerian-Females-on-Corporate-Board-2012-Survey.pdf

Yemisi Afolabi, C. (2019). The Invisibility of Women’s Organizations in Decision Making Process and Governance in Nigeria. Frontiers in Sociology. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fsoc.2018.00040/full#B1

Zopiatis, A., and Constanti, P. (2012). Extraversion, openness and conscientiousness. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 33(1), 86–104.