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Ghosn - the Big 5

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Question 1: Describe Carlos Ghosn using the “Big Five” dimensions of personality 


Ghosn is a very outgoing and energetic person. His behavior makes people around him feel comfortable and good about themselves. He knows how to communicate efficiently with every level of the company. “ Ghosn was noted for the clarity of his vision and ability to communicate throughout the organization.” Moreover, Ghosn has no problem addressing everyone in the company in a regular basis unlike the Japanese traditional management where worker had limited communication with management. “This was the first time in the company’s history that the president spoke directly to everyone in the organization. He addresses the entire company in a regular basis. Everywhere he goes he makes a point to talk to employees at all levels.” We can also see that he is a very energetic person going everywhere he can to get information from everyone. It is obvious that Ghosn seek simulation throughout the employees. “ He first goes to the people who come in contact with the customers everyday…He listens to them intently. He asks a lot of questions.” From this we can conclude that Ghosn is an extraverted person.


One of Ghosn’s apparent traits of personality is agreeableness. Wherever he goes, he has this ability to relate to people and somehow connect to them. “They can tell he is dead serious and sincere about soliciting their views. Even though he has to speak through an interpreter, he has a great knack for being able to relate to them”. As a manager, not only he has the conceptual and technical skills, but he also has human skills that are very important to improve the motivation of the employees within an organization.“Motivation is the ultimate weapon, my management style is inspired by this.”Ghosn is very compassionate and appreciate all efforts done at all levels “Whenever you understand how much difficulty is behind the situation, then you appreciate people and what they do independently of who they are”.  Conscientiousness
It is obvious to say that Ghosn has a high degree of conscientiousness. His efficiency and organization as well as his persistence made of him the hero of Nissan who made them profitable when they were in big debts. Ghosn is also a very goal oriented person and he never misses a chance to share his clear priorities in a very direct and simple way with the rest of the people in the company. “The most important lesson is that as long as we show clear goals and strategy, empower people, watch the result carefully and keep an eye on the reality, we can produce amazing results”. One of the responsibilities of a manager is to constantly follow up on all the planning and adjust. Carlos is very cautious and meticulous in following up on everything and making the requiredcorrections.” when Ghosn came he stresses action, speed and results. He followed up closely. If they are any deviations he goes after them immediately”. Ghosn is also very aware about the reality and is cautious about it “ I don’t know if one will go down, I think the whole industry crossing 2009 has to be very cautious. The likelihood of some company going bankrupt under these condition is very high” 

Emotional Stability

Carlos is a secure and confident person with a high emotional stability. He has absolutely no problem in asking employees to debate major issues during the meetings and disagree with one another, something that never occurred in old
Nissan where they were hardly any discussions. This fact reflects how much Carlos is confident and doesn’t feel any insecurity towards any person who disagrees with him or with his ideas. Also, a person who is able to restructures companies and creates more values especially when dealing with larger work force and foreign nations and cultures, is more likely to be an extremely emotional stable person.

Openness to Experience

Ghosn is a very incentive and curious person and very open; new things, new cultures and new challenges motivate him. He has absolutely no fear in going out of his comfort zone. For him “difference” is a way to grow and surpass us. : It is a way to make people stronger. He is aware that it is uncomfortable and unpleasant at the beginning but is also very enriching at the end.
“But I recognize that even if someone is different, I am going to learn a lot, we have a tendency to reject what is different. And at the same time we need what is different.
Because what is different is the only way we can grow by confronting ourselves”
Ghosn is not only open to other cultures, he is also open to different people from all ages, ranking or IQ. “For me, in management you learn independently of ranking, independently of IQ and independently of age”.
Not to forget that he doesn’t feel superior to anyone else because it was the first time in the company’s history that the president spoke directly to everyone in the organization. And it was also the first time to let people express their disagreements during a meeting.
2. How does Ghosn’s personality affect his performance?

Performance Due to Extraversion

Extravert people are typically good salesmen and (sometimes) managers. How does this show in Ghosn’s actions?
To be able to convince others with his ideas and beliefs, it requires sales skills. First of all, Ghosn is able to gain the trust of two large global player companies to lead the at the same time. Moreover, he is able to convince his environment of much change, such as Nissan’s brand strategy by “building character”, which in this case both, the idea of how to sell cars better and the power to impress the affected decision makers, underpin his sales abilities.
Particularly he performs through his extroversion in public by becoming “a national celebrity in Japan”. A book about him sold more than 200,000 copies in the land of the rising sun.

Performance Due to Agreeableness

Agreeableness, a strong team orientated skill, enables Ghosn to change the paradigm of meetings at Nissan. Introducing the culture of debating and open disagreement towards each other finally led to a higher performance in productivity, as all opinions and doubts can be considered in decisions, leaving less space for wrong actions.
His ability to talk to employees at all levels implies a feeling of integration and meaningfulness among his employees, which leads to high motivation through team spirit, and thus, better outcome in collective performance. Also, the willingness to be creative with improvement suggestions is likely to rise, as the employee’s voice is heard. Furthermore, he pushes performance through idea cross‐exchange by making people of different cultures work together. He basically introduces his own agreeableness among the employees.

Performance Due to Conscientiousness

The trait of conscientiousness, the major ingredient to performance, comes along with reliability, persistence and orientation to results.
One statement in the text reflects his drive for performance very well: “When Ghosn came he stressed action, speed, and results. He followed up closely. If there are any deviations, he goes after them immediately. He is relentless at following up.”
It is his persistence on change, which makes him go for goals, knowing there might be some sacrifice, such as shedding 20,000 jobs and closing five factories in conservative Japan. At the same time, he is very goal oriented. Few manage to quantify such precisely, where they will be in the upcoming few months, “40% in
Paris, 35% in Tokyo, 15% in America and 10% in other places”. Another proof of his clear orientation is his statement, that his mission is to revive Nissan, and not to be popular (which he still manages). The reliability basically shows in his success.
Shifting Nissan from an almost hopeless state to the most profitable company in the world is the evidence.
Being very demanding to himself also causes the effect, that his employees gain

motivation and efficiency from this behavior, which implies higher performance of
Nissan’s entire work force.

Performance Due to Emotional Stability

Being a car lover, not a blind fanatic, gives a lot of rationality and to Ghosn’s decisions. This leaves out too strong emotional perceptions, which again prevent performance to be endangered by personal preferences.

Performance Due to Openness to Experience

His openness to experience is a strong performance driver. I takes to be a daredevil to reach out for managing two world‐wide renowned car firms. He is open for any new experience, which promises to be successful. Thus, he performs in going new paths, as he “has overcome anxiety”, such as fearlessly introducing new meeting culture in Japan, radically cutting costs or being brave enough to completely redefine Nissan’s brand strategy.
Questions 3: Does Ghosn have a Type A or Type B personality? Carlos Ghosn has type A personality. He is more likely to have an intense desire to achieve, extremely competitive and with a strong sense of urgency in contrast with type B personality who tend to be easy going and relaxed.“When Ghosn came he stressed action, speed, and results. He followed up closely. If there are any deviations he goes after them immediately. He is relentless in following up.” Furthermore, if we look at the definition below, we can perfectly see the reflection of Carlos Ghosn’s personality: “People with type a personality are known to be ambitious, organized and highly status conscious. They are also sensitive and caring for other people, truthful, impatient and always try to help others. They take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive and obsessed with time management”…...

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