When openness to experience and conscientiousness affect continuous learning: A mediating role of intrinsic motivation and a moderating role of occupation


  • A previous version of this study was presented at the 2010 Annual Conference of the Association for Psychological Science. The research project was supported in part by the Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B) 19330081 from Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.

Shinichiro Watanabe, Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering, University of Tsukuba, Tennodai, Tsukuba 305-8573, Japan. (E-mail: watanabe@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp)


Research on the effects of personality on work behaviors has adopted either the motivational meditation perspective or the person-situation interaction perspective. This study attempted to integrate both of the perspectives in a single causal model. Specifically, using data collected from systems engineers and car salespeople in Japan, we investigated the mediating role of intrinsic motivation in the links from openness and conscientiousness to continuous learning, and the moderating role of occupation on the mediation mechanism. The results indicated that, for systems engineers, the effects of those personality traits on continuous learning were completely mediated via intrinsic motivation. For car salespeople, however, the trait effects on the outcome variable are direct, rather than transmitted through intrinsic motivation. The meanings of the findings and directions for future research are discussed.