I Won't Let You Down ... or Will I? Core Self-Evaluations, Other-Orientation, Anticipated Guilt and Gratitude, and Job Performance

Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 3620 Locust Walk, Suite 2000 SH/DH, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6370, USA.
Journal of Applied Psychology (Impact Factor: 4.31). 01/2010; 95(1):108-21. DOI: 10.1037/a0017974
Source: PubMed


Although core self-evaluations have been linked to higher job performance, research has shown variability in the strength of this relationship. We propose that high core self-evaluations are more likely to increase job performance for other-oriented employees, who tend to anticipate feelings of guilt and gratitude. We tested these hypotheses across 3 field studies using different operationalizations of both performance and other-orientation (prosocial motivation, agreeableness, and duty). In Study 1, prosocial motivation strengthened the association between core self-evaluations and the performance of professional university fundraisers. In Study 2, agreeableness strengthened the association between core self-evaluations and supervisor ratings of initiative among public service employees. In Study 3, duty strengthened the association between core self-evaluations and the objective productivity of call center employees, and this moderating relationship was mediated by feelings of anticipated guilt and gratitude. We discuss implications for theory and research on personality and job performance.

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Available from: Amy Wrzesniewski,
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    • "Lazarus and Lazarus (1994) state that gratitude is an emphatic (other oriented) emotion. In a similar vein, Grant and Wrzesniewski (2010) argue anticipated gratitude with regard to other-oriented emotion. Other-oriented indicates concern for the thoughts of other people. "

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    • "In the last decade, scholars have called for more attention to understanding work meanings through relational mechanisms (Wrzesniewski et al., 2003). Grant and his colleagues were among those who answered this call, providing theoretical (Grant and Parker, 2009) and empirical support (Grant, 2008; Grant and Wrzesniewski, 2010) for a relational perspective to work design and job performance. Those authors, rather than considering the traditional characteristics of work tasks, have focused on the social characteristics of the job; that is, the interpersonal interactions and relationships in which work is embedded. "
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    • "An individual who empathizes with others may view helping behavior as part of her or his work role regardless of whether or not it is actually expected or rewarded. Consistent with the role perceptions literature and with the other-oriented tendencies of dutiful employees (Grant and Wrzesniewksi 2010), we expect that their sense of responsibility to others leads dutiful individuals to internalize helping behavior as part of their role perceptions at work, which in turn positively influences their helping behavior. Furthermore, as hypothesized earlier , helping behavior is an important indicator of one's ability to get along and provides another mechanism by which duty can influence leadership emergence. "
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