Personality traits and job characteristics as predictors of job experiences

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Abstract

This study investigates the relationships of personality traits and job characteristics (predictors) with job experiences (criteria) in a sample of job incumbents working in a broad variety of occupations. Subjects were 181 job applicants, who participated in a personnel selection procedure carried out by a Dutch staffing organization. As a part of this procedure, subjects completed a number of personality questionnaires. Personality scale scores were factor-analysed, and four orthogonal trait dimensions were identified: Emotional Stability, Extraversion, Sensation Seeking, and Achievement Motivation. Between l½ and 2 years after the selection, subjects rated their current jobs on four job characteristics dimensions, namely dynamicity, autonomy, external–internal, and structure. At the same time, they completed a questionnaire measuring job experiences, namely job satisfaction, job-induced tension, propensity to leave the job, and self-appraised performance. The results indicated that personality traits had several significant and hypothesized longitudinal effects on the job experience criteria. Personality contributed to the prediction of the criteria even when the effects of job characteristics were taken into account. No significant Personality X Job Characteristics interactions were found, although subgroup analysis revealed a number of interesting differences among the various categories of occupations. For example, Sensation Seeking predicted job strain and propensity to leave, especially in highly structured and not very autonomous jobs. It is concluded that work experiences are clearly determined by person and job characteristics, although in an additive rather than in an interactional way.

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