When is it better to not be more conscientious? When you are not conscientious to begin with

Jennifer Pickett, Jonas Debusscher, Joeri Hofmans

Onderzoeksoutput: Unpublished paper

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Subject area: Organizations and/or leadership Keywords: conscientiousness, behavioral concordance model, authenticity, workplace well-being AIM: Previous research shows that conscientiousness relates positively to positive (PA) and negatively to negative affect (NA), both at the between- and within-person level (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Smith, Ryan, & Röcke, 2013). However, because these studies focused on either between- or within-person differences without integrating the two, their findings might conceal the true conscientiousness-affect relationship. Drawing on the Behavioral Concordance Model (Moskowitz & Côté, 1995) (trait-concordant behavior lead to increases in PA and decreases in NA) and research on authenticity (Ménard & Brunet, 2011) (acting in congruence with one’s traits is beneficial), we hypothesize that PA is high and NA is low when people behave according to their trait level; however, when people deviate from this trait level PA decreases and NA increases. METHODS: We tested our hypothesis using an experience sampling study. Data were collected from 82 full-time Belgian employees who reported on their daily levels of conscientiousness, PA and NA for 10 consecutive working days (N = 734). Trait conscientiousness was measured by computing the average of the daily conscientiousness ratings, while within-person fluctuations were obtained by person-centering the daily conscientiousness ratings. RESULTS & CONCLUSIONS: Multilevel polynomial regression analyses revealed that, for people high on trait conscientiousness, within-person fluctuations in conscientiousness were positively related to PA and negatively to NA. For people who are low in trait conscientiousness, however, conscientiousness related in a positive way to both PA and NA. In other words, behaving more conscientious only tends to create less NA when one is high in conscientiousness to begin with, whereas behaving more conscientious leads to more PA for everyone. These results challenge the idea that more conscientiousness is always better. Rather, and in line with the Behavioral Concordance Model (Moskowitz & Côté, 1995) and research on authenticity (Ménard & Brunet, 2011), they suggest that engaging in behaviors that are not congruent with one’s personality preferences brings about more NA, even if those behaviors are considered to be “good”, such as behaving more conscientious. From a practical point of view, our results suggest that by fostering authenticity and trait congruence in the work place, increased psychological functioning and employee well-being is also cultivated (Ménard & Brunet, 2011).
Originele taal-2English
StatusUnpublished - 28 jun 2016
Evenement8th European Conference on Positive Psychology - Centre de Congrés, Angers, France
Duur: 28 jun 20161 jul 2016
Congresnummer: 8th


Conference8th European Conference on Positive Psychology
Verkorte titelECPP2016
Internet adres


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