Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Michael K. Mount
The Five-Factor (FFM) and job characteristics models provide parsimonious frameworks to explain personal and situational influences on work behavior. However, the two are seldom studied in concert, despite theory and empirical evidence indicating that personality traits are more valid under some job conditions than others. The purpose of my dissertation is to address the lack of systematic knowledge regarding the joint influences of personality and job characteristics by testing and extending the major propositions of the theory of purposeful work behavior (TPWB; Barrick, Mount &Li, 2013). Because the TPWB focuses only on task and social characteristics of jobs, I propose a theoretical extension to the theory whereby I examine the way traits interact with contextual characteristics (e.g., physical demands, working conditions) of jobs to influence work outcomes. Further, I extend the TPWB by examining the occupational values from the theory of work adjustment (Dawis &Lofquist, 1975), which are broader and situated at a higher taxonomic level than jobs, moderate the FFM-criterion correlations. Using a meta-analytic design, I tested the extent to which job characteristics and occupational values moderate the relationships between the FFM and job performance, contextual performance, and job satisfaction. The overall results were mixed, with some findings indicating that personality trait validities are substantially higher under conditions of congruent job characteristics, and others indicating no such moderating effects, or moderating effects in contrast to what I proposed in my hypotheses. The mixed results may be due to gravitational processes that take place when individuals select jobs. I also examined the relative importance of the job characteristics and occupational values frameworks, and found that job characteristics were more important moderators of the FFM traits than occupational values across almost all trait-criterion combinations. I discuss significant implications and limitations, along with directions for future research along the lines of furthering the study of the joint influences of person and situation on work outcomes.
It is largely accepted that behavior is a function of individual characteristics (e.g., personality) and situational characteristics (e.g., job characteristics). However, little research in the management field specifically seeks to study the joint relationships the person and situation have on behavior. This study examines how congruence between various personality, job, and occupational characteristics lead to beneficial work outcomes, such as greater job performance, citizenship behavior, and job satisfaction. Specifically, I argue that personality will be more strongly related to work outcomes when corresponding job and occupational characteristics are present. The results of the study indicate that for some personality characteristics, a greater level of the hypothesized corresponding situational factors leads to personality being more strongly related to certain work outcomes. For example, individuals that enjoy thinking creatively and working independently perform better in occupations that provide them with autonomy. These findings have significant implications for organizations, as they underscore the importance of choosing employees whose personality provides a match for a given job, as opposed to a “one-size-fits-all” approach whereby personality traits are seen as universally desirable.
publicabstract, citizenship, job design, job performance, job satisfaction, personality
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