Big 5 personality traits at HRW


The start of a new year is often a time for reflection and setting intentions for development and self-growth. As such, in Jan 2021 the HRW team set their sights on learning more about personality. Personality can be a very hot topic, it’s the stuff that makes you, you: it’s the mix of individual characteristics that are unique to you and it colours how you interact and respond to the world around you. Now, there’s a lot of misinformation about personality that abounds in pop psychology: lots of popular scales such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the Colour Personality test don’t have a grounding in sufficient evidence from human psychology (read about this here and here). In contrast, over decades of research and validation in academia, one personality scale has consistently stood up to scrutiny: the Big 5.

The big five encompasses five traits: openness, contentiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. These can be remembered using the acronym OCEAN or CANOE. The big 5 traits work as a series of spectrums, with each person’s personality being either high on that attribute or low on that attribute.

We did a quick survey amongst the HRW teams in London, Oxford, and New York to see how the HRW team were distributed across these characteristics. Read on to see the traits we share, and to read a bit more about each characteristic.

For more information, we talked about this scale in our first podcast episode back in 2018, and you can take an online quiz yourself here. For more information about how we use this in a research context, get in touch to hear about our behavioural science team.