How the Big-5 Personality Test Identifies Entrepreneurs

Published on December 26, 2019

The Big 5 Personality Profile (Big-5) is the latest fad in personality tests created by Dr. Jordan Peterson and his colleagues Dr. Daniel M. Higgins and Dr. Robert O. Pihl. What’s the psychological basis behind the fad?

Dr. Peterson describes the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) as an outdated 20th-century test and the Big-5 as the modern 21st-century personality test. Is there something to that claim?


Now many personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality. These are often referred to as the “Big 5personality traits.

  1. Extraversion
  2. Agreeableness
  3. Openness
  4. Conscientiousness
  5. Neuroticism

The Big-5 can be quite useful in predicting someone’s workplace preferences. Here we will explore how the Big-5 can identify entrepreneurs.

The Big-5 identifies entrepreneurs by categorizing personality traits. Additionally, it also shows why their work preference is unique and reveals the major stereotypical weakness in entrepreneurial types.

Verywell / Joshua Seong
The Big-5 Categorizes Personality Traits

What makes an entrepreneur, according to the Big-5?

First, entrepreneurs have very high openness. Openness is an interest in ideas and aesthetics. Meaning, it is the culmination of I.Q. and creativity. Intuitively, it makes sense that trailblazers are smart and creative.

But the Big-5 can calculate when someone has very high openness. This tendency shows people who value tradition and structure are not likely to be trailblazers.

Second, entrepreneurs have lower conscientiousness. Conscientiousness is associated with duty, precision, and responsibility. That means orderly people who like procedures and rules don’t generally start companies because it’s a creative process.

It’s messy, and mistakes will happen along the way. In this way, entrepreneurs are akin to artists in their willingness to break rules and “make it up as they go along.”

Third, entrepreneurs have lower agreeableness. Agreeableness is primarily about care for others.

It is comprised of compassion (the tendency to empathically experience the emotion of others) and politeness (the proclivity to abide by interpersonal norms).

The advantages of being disagreeable are being tough-minded, blunt, skeptical, and competitive. They are also willing to ask for a raise, know what they want, and won’t do what they don’t want to do.

People with low agreeableness take credit for their own work and will not be taken advantage of professionally.

These are very useful personality traits in the business world. This tendency towards disagreeableness is also a reason entrepreneurs don’t just rise up the corporate ladder, though they have the intelligence to do so.

Entrepreneurs are highly intelligent and creative, and they want to do things their way. Thus, starting their own business is ideal.

However, the traits of extraversion and neuroticism are not strongly correlated with entrepreneurial tendencies.

The Big-5 Shows Why Their Work Preference is Unique

Entrepreneurs’ work ethic is unique because they like to shake up current systems to see how they can operate better. That tendency exists due to high creativity.

However, this question everything and shake things up attitude is not often welcome in entry-level positions.

This is a problem because creative innovative people are incapable of simply not creating and shaking things up. It’s like banishing an extroverted person to a hermit’s life – a bit like torture.

This characteristic makes the creation of the high stakes of starting businesses less stressful to those with entrepreneurial traits than entry-level jobs at inefficient bureaucracies.

This do-or-die attitude makes their work preference unique.

The Big-5 Reveals Stereotypical Weaknesses

People who type as having entrepreneurial traits in the Big-5 have low agreeableness.

The primary disadvantage of being low in agreeableness is that one does not adequately take into consideration other people’s feelings. Relationships can suffer under these circumstances.

But, that is a reason to expand your personality, not change it. The benefits of low agreeableness are clear in the business world because that world is impersonal and difficult. But, those with entrepreneurial traits do not have to choose between being successful professionally and personally.

Once you are aware you have low agreeableness, you can expand your personality. Working on taking other people’s perspectives into consideration and working acts of kindness into your routine helps. Like once a week or day, do someone a favor or give a gift.

Basically, practice being compassionate and polite, not to change your personality but to be a more complex stable person.

After all, what’s the point of shooting for the stars if you make it there alone?

This personal development work will help you be more stable because it will improve your relationships which improves mood and stability.

Additionally, the opposite is true as well. Upsetting people will cause them to upset you; it turns into a pretty vicious cycle.

It’s not bad to be disagreeable. However, it does put more social skills in your tool kit to become a more well-rounded person.

Therefore, the Big-5 identifies entrepreneurs by categorizing personality traits, showing why their work preference is unique, and revealing the major stereotypical weakness in entrepreneurial types.

Nova Levante is a Legal News Columnist at Grit Daily. Nova is a licensed and practicing attorney focusing on debt negotiation, the Fair Debt Collection Defense, expungement, and bankruptcy. Nova attended Rutgers University, where Nova concentrated in global cyber-security law and policy. As a computer programmer and lawyer, Nova provides a unique perspective on technology law.

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