THE BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS, GENERAL MENTAL ABILITY, AND CAREER SUCCESS ACROSS THE LIFE SPAN

Authors


  • The Institute of Human Development, University of California at Berkeley provided the data for this study. The authors thank Barbara Burek for her assistance with data preparation. The authors also thank Frank Schmidt for comments on an earlier version of this paper.

and requests for repxints should be addressed to Thothy A. Judge, Department of Management and Organizations, College of Business Administration, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242; tim-judge@uiowa.edu.

Abstract

The present study investigated the relationship of traits from the 5-factor model of personality (often termed the “Big Five”) and general mental ability with career success. Career success was argued to be comprised of intrinsic success (job satisfaction) and extrinsic success (income and occupational status) dimensions. Data were obtained from the Intergenerational Studies, a set of 3 studies that followed participants from early childhood to retirement. The most general findings were that conscientiousness positively predicted intrinsic and extrinsic career success, neuroticism negatively predicted extrinsic success, and general mental ability positively predicted extrinsic career success. Personality was related to career success controlling for general mental ability and, though adulthood measures of the Big Five traits were more strongly related to career success than were childhood measures, both contributed unique variance in explaining career success.

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