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A Decade of the Dark Side

3 November 2009

± minute read

    A Decade of the Dark Side
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Fighting our Demons at work

The past ten years people have gradually shown an increased interest in personality characteristics that are destructive and anti-social. R. Hogan and J. Hogan developed an inventory known as the Hogan Development Survey (HDS) in 1997 and there have been well over 500,000 administrations up to date. Psychological Consultancy Limited (PCL) is a consulting firm in the UK and very well known for the work they do with the Hogan suite and the PROFILE:MATCH®. Their focus is on evidence based research and effective assessment solutions to business. In October Geoff Trickey, Managing Director of PCL, visited South Africa with his family for the first time to enjoy our beautiful Mother City. We we’re very happy when he agreed to fly up to Johannesburg to share some of his insights on the ground braking research they have done with the HDS the past decade. The HDS is known to measure the dark side of personality, the personality traits that will derail a person when they are not actively managing their public image. The HDS consists of 11 different dark side tendencies. These are: Excitable, Skeptical, Cautious, Reserved, Leisurely, Bold, Mischievous, Colorful, Imaginative, Diligent and Dutiful. Geoff Trickey and Gillian Hyde compiled a very comprehensive report based on the HDS data gathered between 1999 and 2009. The report consists of more than 18,000 UK online completions and how the different dark side tendencies play out within the UK population. The report, known as A Decade of the Dark Side, provides one with valuable information regarding specific dark side tendencies within different sectors, industries and generations. In understanding these trends organizations can better manage their dark side tendencies and potentially destructive personality traits. Their analysis provided an overview of the dark side characteristics in relation to the:

  • UK Workforce
  • Different Generations
  • Public compared with the Private sector and
  • Different Industry sectors

The charts below are taken from the report, A Decade of the Dark side, to illustrate some of their interesting findings:


Chart 1: Frequency distribution of high HDS scores in the total sample (n=18464) The majority of people (85%) have at least one dark side characteristic, and only 15% of their workforce population exhibits none.


Chart 2: The dark side across the generations As seen in the chart, the ‘generation Y’ seems to have a stronger tendency towards dark side characteristics than the other generations defined by Geoff as (Baby Boomers: 1943 – 1960, Generation X: 1961 – 1981, and Generation Y: 1982 – 2001) The report also focuses on their qualitative findings over the 10 years. They found the dark side of personality to not only be explained by statistics and quantitative measures but found that there are incredible value in understanding self- awareness and self- management of people regarding their dark side. The PCL team found it important to look at personality, and its dark side as a whole to ensure they complete the story. They came up with a relatively simple diagram known as The Triarchic Model.  The Triarchic Model incorporates all aspects of what we refer to as ‘our personality’, ranging from what we are born with (nature) how we are influenced (nurture) who we are, and what both nature and nurture created (FFM) as well as that little short-circuit to the dark side that may at times of stress and upset show its face.


These are just some of the aspects that were discussed with Geoff Trickey. It was such an honor to have had the opportunity to listen to him for a day, and would just like to thank him again for his time and effort. On our blog site we have a link to the full report (A Decade of the Dark Side) and all their interesting findings using the HDS.

For more information, please contact us on +27(0) 11 781 3705/6/7 or send an email to

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