Network models of personality

According to a number of models (e.g., Hannah et al., 2009; Read et al., 2010; Shoda et al., 2002), the structure of personality can be envisioned as a network of interconnected mental representations or “person-variables” that consist of our enduring be- liefs, goals, identities, values, knowledge, and experiences. Together, these comprise what is referred to as cognitive–affective

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processing systems (or CAPS) that in aggregate, represent the core structure of the self that manifests as one’s personality (Shoda et al., 2002). From a CAPS perspective, the structure of personality is thought of as being stable and enduring, but can exhibit var- iability very similar to the network models of prototype activation that explain how perceptual prototypes can be “tuned” to spe- cific contexts (Hanges et al., 2000; Lord et al., 2001).

The unique element of a CAPS perspective is that it explains how the self-structure is capable of adapting and generating new behavioral responses since not all of the components within CAPS are active at the same time. In fact, as different patterns and configurations of CAPS units are selectively activated in response to different situations and contexts, individuals can express a variable array of behaviors (Fleeson, 2001; Hannah et al., 2009; Tett & Burnett, 2003). In a notable study, Fleeson (2001) found that individuals manifest a wide range of behaviors over the course of a normal work day beyond the mean of their Big Five trait. Importantly, his finding that the degree of within-person variability on each of the Big Five dimensions was greater than between-person variability in behavior implies that individuals are indeed flexible and responsive to their situational environ- ments. Evidence of such behavioral variability has also been demonstrated in other empirical works (e.g., Fleeson, 2007; Read et al., 2010; Reis et al., 2000).

To illustrate this process, research has demonstrated that personal values, which can be represented as components of CAPS, are influential in shaping behavior (Bardi, Calogero, & Mullen, 2008; Bardi & Schwartz, 2003; Verplanken & Holland, 2002) and have been shown to predict the likelihood of behaving morally in tasks that present individuals with the opportunity to cheat for self-gain (Dinh et al., in press). However, when values become important for predicting behavior may depend on whether other critical components of CAPS, such as a particular identity, is also currently active (Verplanken & Holland, 2002). Hence, in- dividuals can express behavioral variability based on the configuration of active identity and values. Because leaders can readily influence the saliency (or activation) of different follower identities (Lord & Brown, 2004; van Knippenberg et al., 2004), these findings imply that leaders also can influence the underlying process that determines whether values become manifested as be- havioral responses to specific events.

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