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Beyond the Big Five: How narcissism, perfectionism, and dispositional affect relate to workaholism

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Researchers have suggested that it is important for the field to go beyond just looking at personality using the Big Five in relation to organizational behavior. Heeding this call, the present study investigated how narcissism, three dimensions of perfectionism (high standards, discrepancy, and order), and dispositional positive and negative affect relate to overall workaholism as well as three identified workaholism dimensions (impatience, compulsion to work, and polychronic control) above and beyond the Big Five personality factors. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that the perfectionism dimensions of high standards and discrepancy, negative affect, and positive affect are significantly related to workaholism above and beyond the Big Five personality factors. Implications and suggestions for future research are discussed.
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Beyond the Big Five: How narcissism, perfectionism, and dispositional affect
relate to workaholism
Malissa A. Clark
*
, Ariel M. Lelchook
1
, Marcie L. Taylor
1
Wayne State University, Department of Psychology, 5057 Woodward Avenue, 7704, Detroit, MI 48202, United States
article info
Article history:
Received 28 April 2009
Received in revised form 22 December 2009
Accepted 12 January 2010
Available online 7 March 2010
Keywords:
Workaholism
Personality
Narcissism
Perfectionism
Affect
Big Five
abstract
Researchers have suggested that it is important for the field to go beyond just looking at personality using
the Big Five in relation to organizational behavior. Heeding this call, the present study investigated how
narcissism, three dimensions of perfectionism (high standards, discrepancy, and order), and dispositional
positive and negative affect relate to overall workaholism as well as three identified workaholism dimen-
sions (impatience, compulsion to work, and polychronic control) above and beyond the Big Five person-
ality factors. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that the perfectionism dimensions of high
standards and discrepancy, negative affect, and positive affect are significantly related to workaholism
above and beyond the Big Five personality factors. Implications and suggestions for future research are
discussed.
Ó2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
In today’s fast-paced society, it is not uncommon for someone
to be described by the popular media as a ‘‘workaholic.” In recent
years there has been a notable surge of interest in workaholism by
the research community, perhaps because workaholism has been
linked with negative individual and organizational outcomes such
as work-family conflict (Bakker, Demerouti, & Burke, 2009) and a
decrease in overall job and/or life satisfaction (Aziz & Zickar,
2006). While much research has focused on the outcomes of work-
aholism, much less is known about the personality variables that
are related to workaholism. With the increase in weekly work
hours over the past two decades, along with recent theoretical
developments on this topic (Ng, Sorensen, & Feldman, 2007), it
seems appropriate and timely to explore how related personality
traits may be mapped into the nomological network of
workaholism.
1. Background and definition
There is some disagreement amongst researchers regarding the
conceptualization and measurement of workaholism (McMillan &
O’Driscoll, 2006). For example, workaholism has been discussed
as an addiction (Ng et al., 2007; Porter, 1996), behavior pattern
(Scott, Moore, & Miceli, 1997), set of attitudes about work (Spence
& Robbins, 1992), and a syndrome (Aziz & Zickar, 2006). Part of the
disagreement regarding the conceptualization of workaholism is
because workaholism is a multidimensional construct and
researchers tend to disagree on the main dimensions of workahol-
ism. Although not all definitions would fall cleanly into these cat-
egories, many definitions of workaholism include the following
themes: working to the exclusion of other life activities (e.g., Ng
et al., 2007; Porter, 1996; Scott et al., 1997), being consumed with
thoughts and feelings about working (e.g., Ng et al., 2007; Porter,
1996; Scott et al., 1997; Spence & Robbins, 1992), and going above
one’s assigned roles/duties at work because of internal, rather than
external (e.g., financial situation) factors (e.g., Mudrack, 2004;
Schaufeli, Taris, & van Rhenen, 2008).
2. Personality and workaholism
Ng and colleagues (2007) present a theoretical model suggest-
ing that people can become workaholics because their workaholic
behaviors are repeatedly reinforced, their social or cultural experi-
ences facilitate workaholism, or they possess certain personality
traits. With the exception of a few studies there has been little re-
search on the personality traits associated with being a workaholic.
Researchers have suggested that depending on the specific pattern
of workaholic behaviors, some workaholic individuals may be an
asset to organizations, while others may be a dysfunctional organi-
zational member (Scott et al., 1997). While Scott and colleagues
present a compelling model which discusses certain organizational
conditions and situational variables that may influence the
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.paid.2010.01.013
*Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 313 577 2800.
E-mail addresses: malissa@wayne.edu (M.A. Clark), alelchook@wayne.edu (A.M.
Lelchook), marcie_tylr@yahoo.com (M.L. Taylor).
1
Tel.: +1 313 577 2800.
Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 786–791
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/paid
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manifestation of workaholic behaviors (e.g., opportunities for con-
trol), they do not discuss personality in their model, and how dif-
ferent personality traits may relate to different patterns of
workaholic behaviors. It is possible that certain personality traits
(e.g., positive affect) may relate to what some consider ‘‘healthy”
workaholic behaviors (e.g., going above and beyond one’s assigned
work duties), while other personality traits (e.g., negative affect)
may relate to dysfunctional workaholic behaviors (e.g., being con-
sumed with thoughts about working). Thus, in the present study,
we examine how several personality traits relate to different
dimensions of workaholism.
In one of the few studies to examine the link between person-
ality and workaholism dimensions, Burke, Matthiesen, and Palle-
sen (2006) looked at the relationship between generalized self
efficacy, the Big Five personality traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion,
Conscientiousness, Openness to Experience, and Agreeableness)
and three workaholism dimensions (drive to work, joy in work,
and work involvement). Neuroticism was related to feeling driven
to work, Extraversion was related to work involvement and joy in
work, and generalized self-efficacy was related to all three dimen-
sions. While demographic variables and situational characteristics
accounted for no more than 3% of the variance in any of the dimen-
sions, personality accounted for 10% of the variance in work
involvement, 22% of the variance in drive to work, and 11% of the
variance in joy in work. In another study, which investigated the
relationship between obsessive–compulsive personality and work-
aholism, individuals scoring higher on measures of obstinacy and
superego were more likely to engage in non-required work activi-
ties (Mudrack, 2004). While these studies provide some initial per-
spective on the nomological network of workaholism, unanswered
questions remain regarding how personality characteristics be-
yond the Big Five relate to workaholism. Recently several research-
ers have stated that it is important for the field to go beyond just
looking at the Big Five (e.g., Hough & Oswald, 2008). Heeding this
call, we examine the relationship between several personality vari-
ables that, for the most part, have been examined very little (or not
at all, in the case of narcissism), in relation to workaholism. Thus,
our study goal was to examine how narcissism, perfectionism
dimensions, and positive and negative affectivity relate to worka-
holism beyond the Big Five.
Narcissism: Narcissistic individuals have a grandiose sense of
their own self-importance, and they often boast or exaggerate their
accomplishments (Leonard & Harvey, 2008). Since narcissistic indi-
viduals value and pursue power and self-importance, this may lead
to a preoccupation with work and succeeding at work, and working
to the exclusion of other life activities; however, because narcissis-
tic individuals think very highly of themselves, they are not likely
to be plagued by constant feelings of guilt, which is often a driving
force behind workaholic behavior. Although some researchers have
found narcissism to positively correlate with Extraversion, and
negatively correlate with Agreeableness and Neuroticism (Grazi-
ano & Tobin, 2001), other researchers have noted that narcissism
is not reflected well in the Big Five (Paulhus & Williams, 2002).
Therefore, we thought it was important to investigate the degree
to which narcissism is related to workaholism above and beyond
the Big Five.
Perfectionism: Many individuals define perfectionism as having
three dimensions: high standards (the degree to which one sets
high performance expectations for oneself), discrepancy (the per-
ceived gap between one’s performance expectations and self-eval-
uations of current performance), and order (one’s preference for
organization and order; Slaney, Rice, Mobley, Trippi, & Ashby,
2001). While having high standards and a preference for order
are largely adaptive qualities, having high discrepancy has been
shown to be maladaptive (Grzegorek, Slaney, Franze, & Rice,
2004). While having high standards may lead a person to go above
assigned role duties, having high discrepancy may cause an indi-
vidual to feel consumed by guilt and other thoughts about work-
ing. Therefore, perfectionism dimensions may relate to different
dimensions of workaholism.
To date, the relationship between perfectionism and the Big
Five is mixed. For example, high standards and order were found
to relate to Conscientiousness, while discrepancy related to Neu-
roticism (Hill, McIntire, & Bacharach, 1997; Rice, Ashby, & Slaney,
2007). However, the dimensions of perfectionism have been shown
to provide incremental validity over the Big Five in relation to con-
structs such as self-esteem and personality pathology (Rice et al.,
2007; Sherry, Hewitt, Flett, Lee-Baggley, & Hall, 2007). Thus, we
thought it was important to examine how perfectionism relates
to workaholism above and beyond the Big Five.
Positive and negative affect: Affective dispositions are stable over
time and across situations, and they can be classified into trait po-
sitive affect (PA) and trait negative affect (NA). PA is characterized
as a general tendency to be energetic, excited, and joyful, while NA
is characterized as a tendency to be anxious, afraid, and angry (Cro-
panzano, James, & Konovsky, 1993).
Researchers have asserted that PA and NA should differentially
predict real-world outcomes. For example, using meta-analytic
techniques, Thorensen, Kaplan, Barsky, de Chermont, and Warren
(2003) found that NA had stronger relationships with negatively-
valenced outcomes than PA. Individuals high in NA, who tend to feel
high levels of guilt and anxiety, may be more likely to constantly
worry about their work. In contrast, individuals high in PA, which
has been found to positively relate to job satisfaction and personal
accomplishment (Thorensen et al., 2003), may be more likely to go
above his or her assigned duties at work. Therefore, PA and NA
may be differentially related to workaholism dimensions.
PA and NA have often been shown to relate to Extraversion and
Neuroticism, respectively (e.g., McCrae & Costa, 1991), and some
researchers even treat PA and Extraversion, and NA and Neuroti-
cism, as equivalent constructs (e.g., Thorensen et al., 2003). How-
ever, the correlations between PA and Extraversion and between
NA and Neuroticism are typically around .40 (Levy, Cober, & Nor-
ris-Watts, 2003), which suggests that they are related, yet distinct
constructs. Furthermore, Judge and Larsen (2001) argue that PA
and NA are more proximal influences on job satisfaction than the
Big Five. Therefore, it appears there is merit to investigating the
relationships between PA and NA and workaholism, above and be-
yond the Big Five.
3. Method
3.1. Participants
The study consisted of 323 working students at a large urban
Midwestern university who worked more than 25 h per week
(M=36 h worked per week) and had worked in their current occu-
pation for an average of 4.23 years. The university was located in a
metropolitan urban area, and enrolled many older commuter stu-
dents as well as more traditional younger students. Participants
had a mean age of 24, were 51% Caucasian, 27% African American,
7% Arabic, 6% Asian, 4% Hispanic, and 5% ‘‘other.” The sample was
73% women, 57% worked full-time, 87% were not married, and
83% had no children. One case was found to be a multivariate out-
lier, and was excluded from the analyses, resulting in a final sam-
ple of 322.
3.2. Measures
Narcissism: Narcissism was measured using the revised 40-item
Narcissistic personality inventory (NPI; Raskin & Terry, 1988). This
M.A. Clark et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 786–791 787
Author's personal copy
inventory was comprised of forced choices between a non-narcis-
sistic response (coded 0; e.g., ‘‘I prefer to blend in with the crowd”)
and a narcissistic response (coded 1; e.g., ‘‘I like to be the center of
attention”). Items were summed, creating a total score ranging
from 0–40. Higher scores indicate higher levels of narcissism. Cron-
bach alphas for all measures in the present study are reported in
Table 1.
Workaholism: Workaholism was assessed using the 25-item
Work addiction risk test (WART; Robinson, 1999). A sample item
is, ‘‘I find myself continuing to work after my co-workers have
called it quits.” Responses ranged from 1 (never true) to 4 (always
true), with higher scores indicating higher levels of workaholism.
Responses on all items were summed, creating a total score rang-
ing from 25–100.
Researchers have observed that the items in the WART map on
well with many definitions of workaholism (Scott et al., 1997);
thus, it appears to tap into several aspects of workaholism. Flowers
and Robinson (2002) conducted a principal components analysis
on the WART, and found a five factor solution: Compulsive tenden-
cies, control, impaired communication and self-absorption, inabil-
ity to delegate, and self-worth. However, given that two of the
factors only contain one and two items, respectively, this indicates
the possibility of an over-factored solution. Thus, we reexamined
its factor structure using parallel analysis (Hayton, Allen, & Scarp-
ello, 2004), a more conservative factor retention approach, in order
to determine workaholism dimensions.
Perfectionism: The almost-perfect scale-revised (Slaney et al.,
2001) was used to assess perfectionism. This scale consists of 7
items measuring high standards, 12 items measuring discrepancy,
and 4 items measuring order. Responses ranged from 1 (strongly
disagree)to7(strongly agree), with higher scores on these subscales
indicating higher standards, greater levels of discrepancy, and
higher preference for order, respectively.
Positive and negative affect: The positive and negative affect
schedule (PANAS) was used to measure positive and negative
affectivity (Watson, Clark, & Tellegen, 1988). Sample NA adjective
descriptors include ‘‘nervous” and ‘‘angry,” and sample PA adjec-
tive descriptors include ‘‘excited” and ‘‘active.” Responses ranged
from 1 (very slightly or not at all)to5(extremely), with higher
scores indicating higher levels of PA and NA, respectively.
Big Five: The Big Five personality traits were assessed using a
50-item self-report survey from the international personality item
pool (Goldberg et al., 2006). Participants responded to phrases
illustrating the Big Five factor markers of Openness to Experience,
Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Conscientiousness.
Responses ranged from 1 (very inaccurate)to5(very accurate), with
higher scores indicating higher levels of each personality trait.
4. Results
Before proceeding to the regression analysis, parallel analysis
was used in an exploratory factor analysis to determine the struc-
ture of the WART. First, a principal components analysis (PCA) was
performed, using oblique rotation (direct oblimin with delta equal
to zero), and the Kaiser or mineigen greater than 1 criterion (K1)
rule (in which factors with eigenvalues greater than 1 are ob-
tained) was used to determine the number of factors. This ap-
proach yielded six factors, which explained a total of 57% of the
variance. However, because the K1 method has been shown to
overestimate the number of factors (Hayton et al., 2004), a parallel
analysis (Horn, 1965) was also performed. Parallel analysis has
been found to be more accurate than other, more commonly used,
factor retention methods (e.g., Zwick & Velicer, 1986; see also Hay-
ton et al., 2004, for a detailed description of the steps involved in
parallel analysis). Based on the results of the parallel analysis, only
Table 1
Means, standard deviations, reliabilities (on the diagonal), and intercorrelations among study variables.
M SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1. Extraversion 3.40 0.73 0.86 0.21
**
0.13
*
0.07 0.40
**
0.08 0.37
**
0.47
**
0.22
**
0.08 0.10 0.13
*
0.15
**
0.01 0.16
**
2. Agreeableness 4.00 0.59 0.80 0.33
**
0.01 0.48
**
0.16
**
0.41
**
0.11
*
0.47
**
0.18
**
0.17
**
0.01 0.02 0.21
**
0.19
**
3.Conscientiousness 3.67 0.61 0.80 0.03 0.37
**
0.22
**
0.37
**
0.05 0.49
**
0.24
**
0.72
**
0.02 0.09 0.14
*
0.15
**
4. Neuroticism 2.93 0.73 0.84 0.11
*
0.65
**
0.12
*
0.16
**
0.10 0.40
**
0.04 0.44
**
0.49
**
0.39
**
0.28
**
5. Openness 3.74 0.56 0.78 0.10 0.46
**
0.20
**
0.52
**
0.09 0.23
**
0.16
**
0.13
*
0.04 0.29
**
6. NA 2.22 0.73 0.89 0.17
**
0.11 0.11
*
0.47
**
0.10 0.41
**
0.42
**
0.45
**
.20
**
7. PA 3.71 0.66 0.89 0.28
**
0.48
**
0.24
**
0.29
**
0.05 0.01 0.13
*
0.22
**
8. Narcissism 18.33 6.44 0.81 0.12
*
0.02 0.04 0.24
**
0.28
**
0.19
**
0.15
**
9. High standards 41.08 6.57 0.86 0.06 0.50
**
0.17
**
0.10 0.01 0.30
**
10. Discrepancy 43.77 13.44 0.89 0.10 0.40
**
0.36
**
0.42
**
0.265
**
11. Order 21.40 4.64 0.84 0.07 0.00 0.01 0.16
**
12. WART overall 61.42 10.91 0.90 0.85
**
0.84
**
0.87
**
13. Impatience 2.55 0.53 0.80 0.61
**
0.58
**
14. Compulsion to
work
2.06 0.54 0.78 0.59
**
15. Polychronic
control
2.66 0.48 0.80
Note. N = 322.
*
p< .05.
**
p< .01.
788 M.A. Clark et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 786–791
Author's personal copy
three factors were retained. The three factor solution explained
43% of the variance. The first factor had 8 items with coefficients
greater than .40 (items 2–4, 10–12, 14, and 16), which represents
impatience (e.g., ‘‘I seem to be in a hurry and racing against the
clock.”). The second factor had 7 items with coefficients greater
than .40 (with the exception of item 1, which had a coefficient of
.388; items 1, 5–9, 15, 18, 20, and 21), which represents an internal
compulsion to work (e.g., ‘‘It is hard for me to relax when I’m not
working.”). The third factor had 10 items with coefficients greater
than .40 (with the exception of 1 item, which had a coefficient of
.39, which represents what we call polychronic control. We define
polychronic control as having a preference to juggle and be in con-
trol of many tasks at once (e.g., ‘‘I stay busy and keep many irons in
the fire.”; ‘‘I prefer to do most things myself rather than ask for
help.”). Because the three factors were highly correlated, we exam-
ined the relationship between personality variables and overall
workaholism as well as the three dimensions described above.
Descriptive statistics, reliability coefficients, and correlations
among study variables are presented in Table 1. Hierarchical
regression analysis was used to investigate how narcissism,
dimensions of perfectionism, and dispositional affect relate to both
overall workaholism as well as three dimensions of workaholism
(i.e., impatience, compulsion to work, and polychronic control)
above and beyond the Big Five (see Table 2). First, demographic
variables were entered in step 1 to serve as controls. The second
step included the Big Five personality variables. Narcissism, perfec-
tionism dimensions, PA and NA were entered in the third step
using forward entry to identify unique explained variance beyond
the Big Five. Consistent with previous findings (Burke et al., 2006)
the demographic variables did not account for a significant amount
of explained variance in any of the models (average R
2
= 0.015). The
Big Five added significantly to the prediction of workaholism in all
models (average
D
R
2
= 0.20,p< 0.001). At this step, Neuroticism
was positively related to overall workaholism in all models. In
addition, Conscientiousness was negatively related to impatience,
Agreeableness was negatively related to compulsion to work, and
Openness to Experience was positively related to polychronic
control.
The addition of the personality variables beyond the Big Five to
the model added significantly to the prediction of workaholism in
all models (average
D
R
2
= 0.10,p< 0.001). Narcissism was signifi-
cantly related to overall workaholism, as well as the impatience
and compulsion to work dimensions. The high standards dimen-
sion of perfectionism was only significantly related to overall
workaholism, but the discrepancy dimension of perfectionism
was a significant predictor in all models. NA was significantly re-
lated to overall workaholism, as well as the impatience and com-
pulsion to work dimensions, and PA was significantly related to
the polychronic control dimension. Interestingly, once the third
block of predictors was added to the model, the relationships be-
tween Conscientiousness and impatience, and between Agreeable-
ness and compulsion to work disappeared. However, Neuroticism
remained a significant predictor in all models, and Openness to
Experience remained a significant predictor of polychronic control.
5. Discussion
This paper heeds the call to examine how other personality
variables beyond the Big Five relate to workaholism (e.g., Burke
et al., 2006), and takes this one step further by examining how per-
sonality traits relate to different dimensions of workaholism. Over-
all, the present study indicates that although some of the Big Five
factors (in particular Neuroticism) are predictive of at least some
aspects of workaholism other personality traits such as narcisism,
NA, PA, and the perfectionism dimensions of high standards and
discrepancy are significantly related to workaholism above and be-
yond the Big Five personality factors. Thus, this study lends sup-
port to the assertion that it is important to look at personality
variables other than the Big Five (Hough & Oswald, 2008).
The present study also provides an examination of how differ-
ent personality variables differentially relate to different dimen-
sions of workaholism. For example, both NA and narcissism are
positively related to the workaholism dimensions of impatience
and compulsion to work, but are not related to the workaholism
dimension of polychronic control. Conversely, PA and Openness
to Experience are only related to the polychronic control dimen-
sion of workaholism. As both PA and Openness to Experience have
been known to relate to many positive aspects of organizational
behavior, these findings are particularly interesting, suggesting
that there may indeed be positive aspects of workaholism. Future
research should further examine these relationships, particularly
in terms of understanding the individual and organizational out-
Table 2
Hierarchical multiple regression with demographics, the Big Five, and additional personality variables predicting workaholism scores.
Variable Overall WART Impatience Compulsion to work Polychronic Control
Step 2 Step 3 Step 2 Step 3 Step 2 Step 3 Step 2 Step 3
Extraversion 0.07 0.03 0.10 0.04 0.02 0.02 0.06 0.04
Agreeableness 0.04 0.00 0.04 0.03 0.17
**
0.10 0.08 0.07
Conscientiousness 0.04 0.01 0.11 0.06 0.07 0.00 0.06 0.08
Neuroticism 0.43
***
0.18
**
0.47
***
0.28
***
0.40
***
0.14
*
0.26
***
0.17
**
Openness 0.11 0.06 0.09 0.07 0.02 0.01 0.17
*
0.13
*
NA 0.18
**
0.14
*
0.23
**
PA 0.18
**
Narcissism 0.17
**
0.21
***
0.17
**
High standards 0.13
*
Discrepancy 0.26
***
0.19
**
0.25
***
0.29
***
Order
Multiple R 0.47 0.58 0.52 0.59 0.47 0.57 0.40 0.49
R
2
0.22 0.34 0.27 0.34 0.22 0.32 0.16 0.24
Adjusted R
2
0.19 0.31 0.24 0.31 0.19 0.29 0.13 0.20
F 8.04
***
10.38
***
10.36
***
11.15
***
7.77
***
10.47
***
5.30
***
7.27
***
Note. N= 322. Due to space constraints only steps 2 and 3 of the regression models are included in the table. The first step (containing the control variables of marital status,
gender, children, age, years in occupation, and work status) was nonsignificant for all regression models. Control variables of age and number of years in present occupation
were heavily skewed, so a logarithmic transformation was performed prior to analysis. Standardized regression coefficients are reported.
*
p< 0.05.
**
p< 0.01.
***
p< 0.001.
M.A. Clark et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 48 (2010) 786–791 789
Author's personal copy
comes associated with the polychronic control dimension of
workaholism.
These findings also support investigating both NA/PA and Neu-
roticism/Extraversion (c.f., Thorensen et al., 2003). In all models
with the exception of polychronic control, both Neuroticism and
NA remained significant predictors in the final regression step. In
addition, PA provided a unique contribution above and beyond
Extraversion in relation to polychronic control. Thus, future re-
search should not presume that relationships between Neuroti-
cism and Extraversion in relation to workaholism would
necessarily hold true for NA and PA.
As far as we know this is the first study to examine the relation-
ship between narcissism and workaholism. We found that narcis-
sism was related to overall workaholism as well as the
impatience and compulsion to work dimensions. The high self-
importance and need for power of narcissists may lead to an exces-
sive focus on their work, an area where they can overtly showcase
their abilities, in contrast to other life domains (e.g., family) where
accomplishments may not be as evident. A recent meta-analysis on
the factors that motivate individuals to work long work hours
found that an individual’s organizational identity was related to
longer work hours (Ng & Feldman, 2008). Future research should
further examine the relationship between narcissism and worka-
holism. An interesting avenue of research could investigate what
motives may drive workaholic behavior (e.g., identity motives or
utilitarian motives; Rothbard & Edwards, 2003).
This study adds to the extant literature by examining how dif-
ferent perfectionism dimensions relate to workaholism dimen-
sions. Our results suggest that discrepancy, the perceived gap
between current and expected performance, may be a driving force
behind workaholic behaviors.
6. Limitations
One limitation of this study was the inability to address issues
of causality because all study variables were collected concur-
rently. Secondly, since all data were collected from a single source
and with self-report surveys, future research should consider using
different assessments of workaholism, such as observer ratings, to
minimize same-source bias. Additionally, because our sample con-
sisted mostly of women, there is the possibility that these relation-
ships may not hold across genders. Although using a student
sample may limit the generalizability of these findings, we believe
it is unlikely to be a major limitation because the sample was lim-
ited to individuals working greater than 25 h per week and the
average number of hours worked per week was close to 40 (the
traditional work week).
7. Conclusions
The key finding from this study is that narcissism, the discrep-
ancy and high standards dimensions of perfectionism, NA, and PA
are all positively related to at least some dimensions of workahol-
ism beyond the Big Five personality factors. Results suggest that
workaholism may have both positive and negative components.
This can have important implications for practitioners. For exam-
ple, reward systems and organizational initiatives could focus on
cultivating an organizational culture that rewards positive worka-
holic behaviors (e.g., multitasking) and discourages negative work-
aholic behaviors (e.g., excessive focus on work to the extent of
ignoring family). Furthermore, the more we know about the per-
sonality traits associated with positive versus negative workaholic
behaviors, the more equipped practitioners will be to select appro-
priate individuals for various roles within the organization. We
urge researchers to continue to investigate the relationship
between a broad range of personality variables and workaholism,
examine how personality traits may interact with situational, con-
textual, or demographic variables (e.g., organizational culture or
work characteristics), and investigate the relationship between
workaholism dimensions and both negative and positive
outcomes.
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