Humans generally have two important social identities: Personality and behavior.
Personality is defined as the stable character of a person. It is affected by genetic predispositions and environment. A person’s values, beliefs and thinking patterns affect his behavior. Behavior, then, is defined as the social conduct of a person.
Personality is often unique to each person and largely characterizes him/her in a social setting. There are five primary components of personality namely: conscientiousness, agreeableness, neuroticism, openness to experience and extraversion. Each person is unique and different in nature and behavior primarily due to personality traits that are defined by the environment that they belong in.
Behavior, on the contrary is learned and acquired over the years. People react to situations and develop a particular behavioral pattern in the society. Such behaviors are learned with respect to the individual’s personality. Behavior, unlike personality is transient and does not completely define a person. The behavior of a person is largely affected by the circumstances in a particular situation. A person reacts to situations accordingly. However, these reactions are temporary and influenced by the dynamics of the crowd. Societal implications on behavior are very significant in that they influence a person’s behavior in certain situations. With different people, comfort zones, and pressure gradient, behaviors of a person change noticeably.
The difference: behavior and personality are intertwined and hard to differentiate. Notwithstanding their similarity, these terms cannot be confused. The primary difference as mentioned above is that personality defines a person for who he/she is, while behavior is largely a reaction to a particular situation. In businesses, both these aspects matter significantly. Personality does not completely define a person’s behavior. Most employers tend to consider that the personality of an individual fully determines their behavior.
However, when situations are more complex and the pressure is more, individuals tend to behave differently that they would under amicable circumstances. Thus, personality is not the only determiner for behavior. The personality of an individual develops at an early age, while behaviors are learnt over the years. Personality is determined by various factors such as a person’s moral values, environment, upbringing, societal norms, etc. Behavior, on the other hand is determined by a person’s mood in a particular situation, the situational constraints, and people involved. Behavior, as evident, is influenced by the emotions of a person.
Humans tend to have an innate comfort zone and a natural like or dislike to certain situations and people. Thus, their behavior could be determined by these factors as well. Since the behavior of a person is largely influenced by several unpredictable factors, it is most important to understand that these do not fully determine a person. Personality on the other hand is permanent and builds an identity of the person.
Some of the key differences between personality and behavior include:
- The personality of an individual is composed of the essential characteristics of the person, while the organization of actions and thought processes decide the behavior.
- Personality is stable in an individual, while behavior changes with age, intelligence, adaptation, and situations.
- Personality is permanent, while behavior is temporary and based on situation.
- Personality is reflected by behavior and one’s personality can be evaluated by the person’s conduct. However, one’s personality does not determine or predict a person’s behavior.
- Personality is the identity of an individual, while behavior is how one expresses himself/herself.
We can therefore understand that behavior is a subset of personality traits. Personality traits may help in building behavioral patterns. Peers and society help in building one’s personality. Behavior patterns comprise of various mannerisms, etiquette, learned attitudes etc. The behavior of a person may be influenced by ideal behavior expectations, beliefs, values, and people. Behavior is a reflection of personality and a way of expression.