Octogram vs Big 5

Correlations and Differences

The Octogram Model is a description of behavior in the work place. The Big 5 model is a more generalized description of personality with a rich and well validated body of research. The Big 5 measures the following personality “dimensions”: Openness to Experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism. Each of these dimensions are pretty broad, so later versions of the Big 5 divided these dimensions up into more specific sub-traits. If you are already familiar with the Big 5 model, you will be able to use that experience to help you understand what the Octogram results are telling you.

newiceThe iceberg model is a way of describing a person’s personality and behavior. In this model, the tiny visible part of a person (their actions) is underpinned by a much larger body of personality, motivations and values. The Octogram is looking at a person on the border between these areas, which means that you can apply the results directly to work place behaviors. The Big 5 is looking at a person below the waterline. These personality traits are stable, but they require some experience and training to translate them into describing how a person will operate in the work place.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of the Big 5 model, we recommend this excellent Wikipedia article on the topic.

Let’s take a look at the 30 sub-scales for the Big 5 test. These sub-scales are part of an extensive personality inventory test called the ‘OP5’. For this model, instead of just giving you a trait name and a description, it is easier to describe what a low score means versus what a high score means.

Dimension of Extraversion

Low: Detached in contacts with others. Preferring to stay out of the limelight. Enjoying being on your own. Reserved in dealings with other people. Avoiding risks.
High: Someone with a high Extraversion dimension: “Spontaneous. Liking being in the limelight. Needing company. Easy-going in dealings with other people. Tending t take risks.

Low: Not taking unnecessary risks. Would rather be safe than sorry. Erring on the side of caution.
High: Daring to take risks. Looking for and taking chances. Need for excitement and adventure.

Low: Limited interactions, possibly has a small, close circle of friends. Selective in friendships. Enjoying peace and quite.
High: Enjoying having lots of people around you. Enjoying conviviality. Having a large circle of friends.

Social skills
Low: Hesitant with strangers. Relaxing only with close acquaintances or once the ice has been broken.
High: Able to easily establish contacts with strangers. At ease and self-assured in social situations.

Low: No tendency to overcompensate for insecurity. Process-based rather than directive style of management or persuasion.
High: Likes to have the last word. Takes charge. Making your presence felt.

Low: Satisfied with current social status. Not comparing your status with that of other people. Playing for the enjoyment of the game rather than for the prize.
High: Striving for social status. Wanting to climb the social ladder. Making efforts to build a career.

Low: Listening rather than talking. Preferring to stay in the background rather than be in the limelight.
High: Expressing your feelings. Entertaining others with your stories. Talking loudly and enthusiastically.

Dimension of Emotional Stability

Low: Sensitivity. Sensitive, easily upset, insecure. Emotional. Changing moods. Finding it difficult to take decisions. Performing less well under pressure.
High: Emotional stability. Rational, calm, self-assured. Down-to-earth. Steady and balanced. Decisive. Energetic. Able to cope with tensions and criticism.

Emotional stability
Low: Having strong emotions. Many mood swings. Responding emotionally.
High: Responding calmly. Being composed. Having your emotions under control.

Low: Operating at a calm pace. Not having a high energy level. Quick to tire.
High: Has a high energy level. Has stamina. Operates at a fast pace.

Low: Being more sensitive than you would like. Sometimes feeling miserable without any obvious reason. Self-deprecating.
High: Having a strong belief in your own ability. Feeling you can cope with life well. Having a positive view of yourself.

Stress resistance
Low: Needing substantial time to recover from stress. Susceptible to outside pressure. Usually performs less well than normal when under pressure.
High: Performing the same or even better than normal when under pressure. Needing little time to recover from stress. Easily copes with tension.

Social adequacy
Low: Sometimes reacting excessively sensitively. Not feeling at ease in relationships with others. Quick to feel inferior. Feeling you are a burden to others.
High: Confident and spontaneous in social situations. Feeling you are equally valuable as other people. Not afraid to look foolish.

Low: Needing emotional warmth and security. Liking to be encouraged in times of difficulty. Liking to be cherished.
High: Little need for emotional support. Well able to put and keep yourself under pressure. Firm with yourself.

Dimension of Conscientiousness

Low: Playful attitude. Light-hearted, untidy. Imprecise. Jocular. Regularly late. Flexible attitude to work. Undisciplined. Easy-going. Not finishing things off.
High: Conscientiousness. Planned and ordered. Meticulous. Methodical. Very punctual. Working to a schedule. Disciplined. Thorough. Persevering.

Motivation to perform
Low: Satisfied with current level of performance. Does not demand a lot from themselves. Does not feel need to improve own performance.
High: Wanting to perform well. Continually seeking to improve your performance. Setting high standards for yourself.

Low:Relatively quick to give up. Not persisting for the sake of persistence itself. Tendency to switch goals in response to setbacks or opposition.
High: Finishing jobs off properly. Persistent in the face of difficulties. Stubborn refusal to give up.

Low:Operating in a light-hearted rather than goal-oriented way. Guided or distracted by impulses or unexpected events. Less focused on specific results.
High: Setting achievable goals. Focusing on and working towards a goal. Achieving concrete results.

Low:Enjoying improvisation. Tailoring your work style and methods to the specific situation. Being flexible.
High: Working in a planned way. Preparing yourself well. Thinking ahead and anticipating possible problems.

Low:Not attaching much importance to order and neatness. Not needing a tangible system for structuring information as able to maintain a clear overview in your mind. Quickly able to switch attention from one subject to another.
High: Liking order. Tidying things up neatly. Looking after your own things carefully.

Low:Following the spirit rather than the letter of the law. Willing to deviate from regulations and act as you believe best. Not always behaving as expected.
High: Sticking to the rules. Demonstrating self-discipline and the ability to concentrate. Always behaving as expected.

Dimension of Agreeableness

Low: Tough-mindedness. More focused on your own interests. Less concerned about other people. Mistrustful. Straightforward. Objective and matter-of-fact. Impassive.
High: Agreeableness. Helpful attitude. Sympathetic to other people. Trustful of other people. Tactful. Focusing on cooperation. Empathetic.

Low: Being wary. Only trusting others once you know them well. Not automatically assuming other people’s intentions are good.
High: Trusting other people. Giving others the benefit of the doubt. Assuming other people’s intentions are good.

Low: More focused on your own results than those of the team. Primarily focusing on your own interests.
High: Working with other people effectively, either bilaterally or in a group. Taking others into account.

Team focus
Low: Enjoys working alone. Being more productive and feeling happier working on your own than when having to work in a group.
High: Enjoying working in a group. Believing team spirit to be important. Behaving sociably in a group.

Low: Having a detached view of people. Taking other people’s actual behavior as a measure of them and not looking for ulterior motives or deeper feelings.
High: Being able to understand someone else’s feelings. Being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. Listening attentively.

Low: Responding to others without frills or any sense of duty. Direct and straightforward. Blunt.
High: Responding to others in a friendly way. Being patient. Choosing the right words so as not to hurt other people unnecessarily.

Low: Looking at things in a detached manner and focusing primarily on the facts. Able to keep an emotional distance when helping other people. Able to display a degree of toughness if necessary.
High: Sympathetic to other people’s problems. Wanting to help people with their problems. Sympathizing with people experiencing difficulties.

Dimension of Openness

Low: Conservatism. Traditional. Attached to existing customs and practices. Sticking to tried and tested methods. Conventional. Middle of the road. Not thinking much about the essence of things.
High: Openness to experience. Original. Open to new experiences. Unconventional. Imaginative. Creative. Wide-ranging interests. Having ideas of your own. Open-minded. Reflective.

Low: Preferring to stick to tried and tested ways of working. Following the beaten track. Attaching little importance to original ideas.
High: Thinking up new ways of working. Not restraining your imagination. Enjoying thinking up original ideas.

Low: Primarily focusing on the here and now. Absorbed by day-to-day problems. Preferring to leave speculation about the future to others.
High: Having ideas of your own on likely or desirable developments. Thinking in policy terms. Extrapolating to the future.

Breadth of interests
Low: Having interests that are selective rather than broad. Only reading things of direct practical benefit. Having a low level of general knowledge.
High: Being interested in a very wide range of subjects. Reading a lot. Having a high level of general knowledge.

Awareness of surroundings
Low: Unaware of factors in the surroundings that are important for your own performance. Following economic and political developments casually rather than actively and systematically.
High: Very aware of factors in the surroundings that are important for your own performance. Following economic and political developments closely. Sensing trends.

Philosophical thinker
Low: Seeing little benefit in thinking about the essence of things. Avoiding philosophical discussions. Disliking theoretical reflections.
High: Thinking about the essence of things. Entering into philosophical discussions. Enjoying theoretical reflections.

Low: Not paying much attention or giving much thought to your own ideas and feelings. Not being very aware of your own moods. Making little effort to express your feelings.
High: Aware of your own ideas and feelings. Taking account of your own moods. Understanding and being able to express your feelings.

Now that you know what the OP5 test is specifically measuring, we can see how those traits relate to the Octogram test. For each entry, you can see the degree of correlation between the two traits.

CORRELATION: A positive correlation (between .08 and 1.00) means that the scores on these traits tend to go up and down together. As the scores get closer to 1.00, this effect becomes stronger and stronger. The opposite is happening with negative correlations (between -1.00 and -.08). As we approach -1.00, we see the scores on these two traits doing the opposite of each other (one goes up, the other goes down and vice-versa).

This data is based on 1792 candidates who completed both the Octogram and the OP5 test.


Pioneer Networker Achiever Strategist Anchor Analyst Team Player Helper
Risk-taking 0.51 0.26 0.25 0.18 -0.39 -0.29 -0.14 -0.35
Sociability 0.17 0.40 -0.00 -0.19 -0.24 -0.36 0.26 -0.04
Social skills 0.26 0.47 0.03 -0.07 -0.35 -0.41 0.21 -0.14
Dominance 0.18 0.23 0.34 0.24 -0.23 -0.25 -0.08 -0.41
Ambition 0.12 0.15 0.20 0.06 -0.06 -0.15 -0.11 -0.19
Expressivity 0.38 0.62 0.21 -0.20 -0.36 -0.49 0.05 -0.20
Emotional stability -0.13 -0.17 -0.20 0.21 0.02 0.12 0.09 0.04
Energy 0.07 0.02 0.20 0.19 -0.03 -0.14 -0.03 -0.28
Self-confidence -0.04 -0.02 0.01 0.24 -0.04 -0.05 0.07 -0.17
Stress resistance 0.05 0.02 0.06 0.23 -0.11 -0.06 0.02 -0.22
Social adequacy 0.16 0.15 0.17 0.22 -0.19 -0.16 -0.03 -0.32
Self-reliance 0.03 -0.20 0.17 0.29 0.04 0.14 -0.21 -0.25
Motivation to perform -0.04 -0.08 0.14 0.06 0.21 -0.02 -0.13 -0.15
Tenacity -0.03 -0.12 0.24 0.26 0.12 -0.04 -0.12 -0.31
Goal-oriented -0.14 -0.16 0.23 0.29 0.22 -0.00 -0.12 -0.32
Planning -0.36 -0.28 0.05 0.04 0.52 0.13 -0.07 -0.07
Order -0.27 -0.20 0.06 0.04 0.40 0.06 -0.05 -0.06
Discipline -0.43 -0.29 -0.16 -0.05 0.44 0.15 0.16 0.14
Trust -0.04 0.01 -0.14 0.05 -0.13 -0.11 0.28 0.05
Collaboration 0.03 0.07 -0.12 0.16 -0.16 -0.17 0.22 -0.05
Team focus 0.02 0.19 -0.17 -0.03 -0.25 -0.27 0.48 0.02
Empathy 0.10 0.24 -0.20 -0.02 -0.29 -0.31 0.28 0.17
Friendliness -0.17 -0.08 -0.39 0.08 -0.01 -0.00 0.30 0.24
Altruism 0.01 0.10 -0.22 -0.05 -0.15 -0.21 0.29 0.20
Self-perceptiveness 0.05 0.13 -0.06 0.15 -0.17 -0.16 0.08 -0.04
Creativity 0.49 0.15 0.07 0.35 -0.38 -0.21 -0.13 -0.33
Vision 0.03 -0.14 0.09 0.52 -0.04 0.02 -0.14 -0.35
Breadth of interests 0.14 0.10 -0.05 0.26 -0.21 -0.00 -0.10 -0.15
Awareness of surroundings 0.08 0.04 0.07 0.31 -0.15 -0.01 -0.07 -0.26
Philosophical thinker 0.18 0.06 -0.07 0.26 -0.21 -0.03 -0.10 -0.10

If you ever start wondering what a specific Octogram work style means, just look at the table to see what kinds of personality traits agree (or disagree) with it!