In today’s globalized world, people from different backgrounds are more than likely to find themselves working together toward a common goal or, at the very least, interacting. As a result, openness to diversity becomes a crucial aspect of any given group’s internal dynamics strongly related to its efficiency and success or lack thereof. However, not every personality type is equally ready and3 well-suite to accept diversity as a given. This is why identifying personality traits that promote openness to diversity is an important consideration. Research suggests that agreeableness, one of McCrae’s Five Factors of personality, correlates positively to openness to diversity and, as such, is a trait to look for.
Agreeableness is the factor of personality that, as the name suggests, identifies the person’s likelihood of demonstrating positive and helpful attitudes to those around him or her. A person with high agreeableness will generally tend to demonstrate trust and compliance when dealing with others (Han & Pistole, 2017). Apart from that, agreeableness is also associated with modesty and lack of pretentiousness (Han & Pistole, 2017). Another quality that falls under this trait is altruism, and agreeable people usually demonstrate selfless motivation more often than others (Han & Pistole, 2017). Finally, agreeableness is also associated with straightforwardness in communication as well as empathy and tender-mindedness in interpersonal relationships (Han & Pistole, 2017). A Biblical quote summarizes the essence of agreeableness pretty well: “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:16). With this in mind, one can reasonably assume that agreeableness would be a positive personality trait for working in a collective in general. However, there is still a question of how agreeableness relates to openness to diversity specifically.
Scholarly finds suggest that these two demonstrate a positive correlation with each other. In their article, Han and Pistole (2017) measured the Five Personality traits in a sample of 176 respondents and then compared it to the scores of universal-diverse orientation demonstrated by the same study participants. According to their results, agreeableness, as well as several other of the Five Factors, showed a notable positive correlation to openness to diversity. A later study by Lara et al. (2021) also suggests that empathy may serve as a strong predictor of openness to diversity. As mentioned above, empathy and tender-mindedness are qualities that fall under agreeableness according to the Five Factors scheme. Hence, one can reasonably conclude that there is a consistent, re-emerging statistical connection between agreeableness and openness to diversity. Admittedly, correlation and causation are not the same thing, and the fact that two coincide statistically is not yet a certain indication of one producing another. Be that as it may, the practical meaning of these research results is that a person with greater levels of agreeableness will be more likely to accept and endorse diversity.
To summarize, agreeableness as one of the Five Factors of personality correlates with openness to diversity positively. Numerous studies have confirmed that higher levels in one will likely coincide with higher levels in another, and an altruistic, modest, and empathic person will be more accepting. While it does not necessarily mean that agreeableness is the primary reason behind openness to diversity, it can still serve as a reasonably reliable predictor, which can be enough from a practical standpoint.
Han, S., & Pistole, M. C. (2017). Big five personality factors and facets as predictors of openness to diversity. The Journal of Psychology, 151(8), 752–766.
Lara, R. A. P., Maglente, C. C. M., Bolambot, K. R., & Dagohoy, R. (2021). Interpersonal and social empathy toward openness to diversity of humanities and social sciences students. International Journal of Research and Innovation in Social Science (IJRISS), 5(4).
New International Version Bible. (2011). Bible Gateway.