Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2010

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Business Administration

First Advisor

Schmidt, Frank L.


Research has determined that measures of general mental ability (GMA) and personality are valid predictors of a wide range of work outcomes. Two of the most well established findings in the field of organizational psychology are that GMA and two of the Big Five personality traits, conscientiousness and emotional stability, predict overall job performance and training performance across all jobs. Though both GMA and personality are valid predictors of job performance, the validities of personality measures are much weaker than those observed for measures of GMA.

Some argue that personality may play a larger role in predicting work outcomes than currently believed, but that current measures of personality do not capture the construct fully. Several researchers have attempted to increase the validity of personality measures by altering the items in the measures so that they refer specifically to work contexts, and others have examined the validity of observer ratings of personality. This study draws on the theory of cognitive buffering to test the possibility is that GMA itself that causes the impact of personality traits on real life performances to be limited. That is, that people may use their GMA to control the expression of their personality tendencies in their behavior.

The results showed that GMA and personality interacted to predict peer ratings of personality, but not as initially hypothesized. Self-monitoring and personality also interacted to predict peer ratings of personality, but, again, not as hypothesized.

Several possible explanations for the results of this study are discussed, including the notion that that individuals may make efforts to manage only those personality traits that are most relevant in given situations. Moreover, it may be the case that dispositions are less subject to the process of cognitive buffering than are emotions and affect. Limitations of this study and opportunities for future research are also discussed.


2, viii, 118 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-118).


Copyright 2010 Jonathan Andrew Shaffer