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The individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure posits that personality predisposes individuals to self-defeating behavior that, in turn, leads to self-management failure (Renn, Allen, Fedor, & Davis, 2005). To provide a partial test of the theory, a model is hypothesized that operationalized personality with neuroticism and conscientiousness of the Big Five personality dimensions; self-defeating behavior with inability to delay gratification, procrastination, and emotional self-absorption; and self-management with personal goal setting, monitoring, and operating. The model was tested using data collected from 286 working employees and structural equations analysis. Results supported nine of 11 theory-derived hypotheses. As hypothesized, high neuroticism was associated with improper personal goal setting, monitoring, and operating; and emotional self-absorption and procrastination accounted for the relationship between high neuroticism and ineffective self-management. In addition, low conscientiousness was associated with inferior self-management practices, and inability to delay gratification and procrastination partially explained the relationship between low conscientiousness and poor self-management. The findings provide new insight into how high neuroticism and low conscientiousness may contribute to self-management failure. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Empirical examination of the
individual-level personality-based
theory of self-management failure
ROBERT W. RENN
1
*, DAVID G. ALLEN
1
AND TOBIAS M. HUNING
2
1
Department of Management, Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of Memphis,
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
2
Department of Management, Abbott Turner College of Business and Computer Science,
Columbus State University, U.S.A.
Summary The individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure posits that person-
ality predisposes individuals to self-defeating behavior that, in turn, leads to self-management
failure (Renn, Allen, Fedor, & Davis, 2005). To provide a partial test of the theory, a model is
hypothesized that operationalized personality with neuroticism and conscientiousness of the
Big Five personality dimensions; self-defeating behavior with inability to delay gratification,
procrastination, and emotional self-absorption; and self-management with personal goal
setting, monitoring, and operating. The model was tested using data collected from 286
working employees and structural equations analysis. Results supported nine of 11 theory-
derived hypotheses. As hypothesized, high neuroticism was associated with improper personal
goal setting, monitoring, and operating; and emotional self-absorption and procrastination
accounted for the relationship between high neuroticism and ineffective self-management. In
addition, low conscientiousness was associated with inferior self-management practices, and
inability to delay gratification and procrastination partially explained the relationship between
low conscientiousness and poor self-management. The findings provide new insight into how
high neuroticism and low conscientiousness may contribute to self-management failure.
Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed. Copyright #2009 John
Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Introduction
Self-management is of great interest to organizational scholars and managers as organizations adopt
new organization designs that require self-directed work behavior (Diefendorff, Richard, & Gosserand,
2006; Thatcher & Zhu, 2006; Uhl-Bien & Graen, 1998). Self-management is a self-directed change
technique that enhances self-regulation by consciously performing and coordinating three practices:
(a) Personal goal setting, (b) monitoring behavior against personal goals, and (c) operating on oneself
and the environment to achieve personal goals (Frayne & Geringer, 2000; Manz, 1986). Self-
Journal of Organizational Behavior
J. Organiz. Behav. 32, 25–43 (2011)
Published online 22 October 2009 in Wiley Online Library
(wileyonlinelibrary.com) DOI: 10.1002/job.667
* Correspondence to: Robert W. Renn, Department of Management, Fogelman College of Business and Economics, University of
Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152, U.S.A. E-mail: rrenn@memphis.edu
Copyright #2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Received 23 May 2008
Revised 31 August 2009
Accepted 6 September 2009
management fails when individuals do not successfully perform one of the practices or coordinate the
three activities (cf., Baumeister, 2002; Kirschenbaum, 1987; Manz, 1986; Renn et al., 2005).
Organization scholars are providing answers to important theoretical and practical questions
concerning the self-management process, self-management training, self-managed teams, managerial
self-regulation, and self-leadership (Ashford & Tsui, 1991; Cohen, Chang, & Ledford, 1997; Frayne &
Geringer, 2000; Houghton, Bonham, Neck, & Singh, 2004; Manz & Sims, 1987; Mills, 1983; Stewart,
Carson, & Cardy, 1996). However, we are only beginning to understand self-management failure at
work (Kanfer & Heggestad, 1997; Neck & Houghton, 2006; Renn et al., 2005).
Although successful self-management has been found to enhance job satisfaction, attendance, self-
efficacy, job performance, learning, and career success (Frayne & Geringer, 2000; Kossek, Roberts,
Fisher, & Demarr, 1998; Frayne & Latham, 1987; Stewart et al., 1996), employees do not always self-
manage correctly and sometimes even engage in dysfunctional self-management (Baumeister & Scher,
1988; Frayne & Geringer, 2000; Karoly, 1993; Renn et al., 2005). Research indicates self-management
failure is common even among those who receive professional training and assistance (Baumeister,
2002; Kirschenbaum, 1987; Polivy & Herman, 2002). When employees self-manage improperly they
jeopardize achievement of the work outcomes for which they are self-managing (e.g., lower
absenteeism), and they endanger organization and work designs (e.g., self-managed teams; tele-
commuting) whose success depends on employees effectively planning, organizing, and controlling
their own work activities (Frayne & Geringer, 2000; Neck & Houghton, 2006). Although psychologists
have studied self-management failure with students in the laboratory and individuals under clinical care
and on diets, findings from studies based on these samples may not generalize to employees using self-
management in work settings (Baumeister et al., 1994). Thus, there is a need for organizational
scientists to investigate self-management failure in the workplace.
To guide organizational research on self-management failure, Renn et al. (2005) proposed an
individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure. The theory posits that
personality traits can predispose individuals to self-management failure, but are distal antecedents
that operate through direct effects on self-defeating behavior. Self-defeating behavior is deliberate or
unintentional acts that have counterproductive effects on oneself or one’s own projects (e.g.,
procrastination, inability to delay gratification) (Baumeister & Scher, 1988). The theory’s ordering of
constructs follows theories and research linking personality to self-regulatory skills (Chen, Gully,
Whiteman, & Kilcullen, 2000; James & Mazerolle, 2002; Kanfer & Heggestad, 1997). The proposed
theory complements and extends existing explanations of why self-management may fail by advancing
hypotheses that link multiple personality traits to specific self-defeating behaviors and that link
particular self-defeating behaviors to specific self-management practices. Existing theories do not
consider the role of personality in self-management failure, do not employ self-defeating behavior as
proximal antecedents of self-management failure, or do not differentiate among failure in personal goal
setting, monitoring, or operating (cf., Abramson, Seligman, & Teasdale, 1978; Bandura, 1991;
Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). However, the present theory has yet to be subject to empirical test.
The purpose of this study is to provide an initial test of key components and mechanisms of the
individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure. This study makes several
contributions. Firstly, this is the first empirical test of Renn et al.’s (2005) theory of self-management
failure. Thus, the study’s findings bear on the validity of the theory and extend conceptual knowledge of
self-management failure in the workplace. Secondly, we test whether personality traits influence self-
management failure through self-defeating behavior as proposed or more directly. This has potential to
extend knowledge about personality traits and work-related self-regulatory processes (Hurtz &
Donovan, 2000; Judge & Bono, 2001b; Kanfer & Heggestad, 1997). Thirdly, although studies have
assessed several of the single hypothesized relationships proposed here (for reviews see, Baumeister,
Heatherton, & Tice, 1994; Baumeister & Scher, 1988), we are unaware of any study that has examined
Copyright #2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. J. Organiz. Behav. 32, 25–43 (2011)
DOI: 10.1002/job
26 R. RENN ET AL.
them in the comprehensive holistic nomological network developed and tested in the present study.
Finally, we conduct our test in a field setting with 286 working employees using self-management in
their jobs. Most research on self-defeating behavior is based on laboratory studies with students (Renn
et al., 2005). Thus, results of the present study will address whether laboratory studies of self-defeating
behavior using student samples generalize to employees in work settings.
Model Development
Figure 1 depicts the hypothesized model of self-management failure. As can be seen, neuroticism is
hypothesized to be related to two self-defeating behaviors that, in turn, link neuroticism to three self-
management practices. Conscientiousness is hypothesized to be negatively related to two self-
defeating behaviors that, in turn, tie this personality factor to improper goal setting, monitoring, and/or
operating. According to the individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure,
personality traits such as neuroticism and conscientiousness are trait clusters of automatic thoughts,
feelings, and behaviors that operate through proximal and relatively more controlled self-defeating
behaviors to influence distal highly controlled self-management practices (Hoffman, Gschwendner,
Friese, Wiers, & Schmitt, 2008; Strack & Deutsch, 2004). We begin constructing the theoretical model
by linking neuroticism and conscientiousness to the self-defeating behaviors. Then we explain how
self-defeating behaviors can undermine the three self-management practices.
Personality and self-defeating behavior
Although elements of the Big Five model of personality and core self-evaluations are likely to be
associated with self-management failure via self-defeating behavior, the present model incorporates
neuroticism and conscientiousness because of their strong conceptual and empirical linkages with self-
defeating behavior and self-management (Judge & Bono, 2001a; Renn et al., 2005). Meta-analytic
reviews indicate that, of all the Big-Five dimensions, neuroticism, and conscientiousness have the
strongest associations with goal setting and goal striving, constructs similar to personal goal setting and
operating in self-management (Barrick & Mount, 1991; Judge & Illies, 2002). In addition, Gerhardt,
Figure 1. Hypothesized model
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DOI: 10.1002/job
SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 27
Rode, and Peterson (2007) found that neuroticism and conscientious were related to a global measure
of self-management. However, there is a need to better understand the processes by which these
personality dimensions relate to specific self-management practices (Judge & Bono, 2001b). For this
reason, the present study incorporates inability to delay gratification, procrastination, and emotional
self-absorption as self-defeating behaviors. These self-defeating behaviors were chosen because
studies and reviews strongly suggest that they may help explain why high neuroticism and low
conscientiousness could be related to improper performance of one or more of the three self-
management practices (Baumeister et al., 1994; Baumeister & Scher, 1988; Steel, 2007).
Neuroticism
This personality factor is an element of both the Big Five and core self-evaluation taxonomies, and
consists of characteristics such as anxiety, depression, self-consciousness, and impulsiveness (Costa &
McCrae, 1992; Judge & Bono, 2001a). We expect neuroticism to be related primarily to inability to
delay gratification and emotional self-absorption. Baumeister and Scher (1988) found that negative
emotional states associated with high neuroticism were related to all three self-defeating behaviors;
however, a number of studies indicate that neuroticism is unrelated to observed procrastination, and
that it adds little unique variance over conscientiousness in the prediction of this self-defeating
behavior (Lee, Kelly, & Edwards, 2006; Steel, 2007; Steel, Brothen, & Wambach, 2001).
Inability to delay gratification involves succumbing to impulses to enjoy immediate pleasurable
rewards in lieu of waiting for delayed and perhaps greater rewards (Mischel, 1974). Emotions like
anger, irritability, being fidgety, and aggressiveness can contribute to losing focus on rewards attached
to long-term pursuits (Funder, Block, & Block, 1983; Muraven & Baumeister, 2000). The inability to
focus attention on the benefits of achieving long-term pursuits can be a source of weakness for
individuals trying to delay gratification but who are tempted by immediate pleasures (Baumeister et al.,
1994). Because delaying gratification requires marshalling and directing conscious attention on long-
term rewards and over-riding automatic cognitive and behavioral reactions to enjoy immediate
pleasures, high neuroticism individuals who tend to be anxious, impulsive, and hostile may under-
regulate their conscious attention and behaviors and exhibit inability to delay gratification.
At the same time, high neuroticism may interfere with effectively regulating distracting negative
thoughts (Wallace & Newman, 1997). Emotional self-absorption involves excessive counterproductive
self-focus on aversive emotions like fear, anxiety, embarrassment, and disappointment (Renn et al.,
2005). Because high neuroticism individuals experience heightened negative affect, anxiety, and self-
consciousness and may not regulate these thoughts effectively, they may also be prone to dwell on these
thoughts and be emotionally self-absorbed.
H1: Neuroticism will be positively related to inability to delay gratification (H1a) and emotional
self-absorption (H1b).
Conscientiousness
Conscientiousness is associated with characteristics such as competence, order, dutifulness,
achievement striving, self-discipline, and deliberation (Costa & McCrae, 1992). We expect
low conscientiousness to contribute to inability to delay gratification and procrastination. Low
conscientiousness is associated with weak self-discipline, lack of orderliness, low deliberation, low
competence, and low reasonableness, all of which have been associated with an inability to delay
gratification (Baumeister, 2002; Funder et al., 1983). This disinclination toward self-discipline, order,
and deliberate planning appears to make it more difficult for low conscientiousness individuals to
successfully distract themselves from the pull of immediate rewards in favor of distal rewards (Mischel
& Ayduk, 2004). Low conscientiousness individuals also tend not to strive for excellence or
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28 R. RENN ET AL.
accomplishment, lack determination, are not self-directed, and have even been characterized as lazy,
careless, absent-minded, and not industrious (Costa & McCrae, 1992). Due to these propensities,
individuals low on conscientiousness may lack motivation to perform tasks and may avoid tasks
altogether, making them more likely to procrastinate. Procrastination involves voluntarily delaying
completing a task within a defined time period despite expecting to be worse off for the delay (Senecal,
Koestner, & Vallerand, 1995; Steel, 2007). Johnson and Bloom (1995) found that low conscientious
students procrastinated more on academic assignments than did their more conscientious counterparts,
and the Steel (2007) meta-analysis found a strong and negative correlation between conscientiousness
and procrastination.
H2: Conscientiousness will be negatively related to inability to delay gratification (H2a) and
procrastination (H2b).
Self-defeating behavior and self-management failure
Self-management is a normative technique developed in clinical psychology, and adapted to
organizational settings to enhance employees’ attainment of desired behaviors (Frayne & Latham,
1987). Self-regulation is an ongoing process used to overcome automatic behaviors and impulses. It is
conceptualized as a descriptive theory of how humans control impulses, habits and learned behaviors,
innate programming, and motivation (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). People self-regulate without
formal self-management techniques, but formal self-management techniques can enhance self-
regulation by crystallizing personal goals and promoting development of effective strategies for
achieving personal goals. When self-regulation fails, individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behavior are
driven by immediate internal and external stimuli (Baumeister et al., 1994). Self-regulation failure is
associated with a broad range of societal problems, such as crime, alcoholism, gambling, and domestic
violence (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996). Proper self-management can reduce self-regulation failure
by formalizing self-goal setting, self-monitoring, and operating on oneself and the environment to
reduce discrepancies between behavior and self-set goals. In clinical settings self-management is used
to assist individuals with self-directed change efforts (e.g., losing weight), and in organizational
settings self-management is used to improve work behaviors such as learning, attendance, and task
performance. (Frayne & Geringer, 2000).
Self-management begins with setting specific, challenging personal goals for behaviors that need to
be developed, maintained, or eliminated (Locke & Latham, 1990). It then requires periodically
monitoring target behaviors and comparing them with personal improvement goals. The comparison
process provides feedback that can be used for modifying behaviors that do not conform to personal
improvement goals. The operation phase typically involves changing personal thoughts, feelings, and/
or behaviors (e.g., engaging in constructive thought patterns) and/or making changes in the
environment (e.g., switching off a telephone to prevent interruptions) in an effort to facilitate goal
attainment (Manz & Sims, 1987). Successful self-management occurs when individuals properly
perform and coordinate the three practices.
Self-management fails when one or more of these practices are not successfully performed or
coordinated (cf., Baumeister, 2002; Kirschenbaum, 1987; Renn et al., 2005). For example, vague,
unattainable, or conflicting personal goals can undermine self-management (Locke & Latham, 1990).
Because self-management is a process requiring successful coordination of three practices, it can also
fail even when effective personal goals are established but individuals do not monitor their behaviors
against personal goals or do not take action to reduce discrepancies once they are identified
(Kirschenbaum, 1987). The individual-level personality based theory of self-management failure does
not hypothesize that self-defeating behaviors are perfect predictors of self-management failure. Self-
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SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 29
management may succeed even if individuals engage in self-defeating behavior; however, self-
management failure is more likely when individuals engage in self-destructive behaviors that interfere
with performance or coordination of the three self-management practices.
Inability to delay gratification
Inability to delay gratification is expected to be negatively related to personal goal setting. Individuals
whose personalities predispose them to succumbing to impulses to consume immediate rewards may
not establish effective self-management goals because they lack confidence in their ability to wait for
the distal rewards associated with deferred self-management goals (Bandura, 1997; Mischel & Ayduk,
2004). Inability to delay gratification may also be negatively related to operating. Delaying gratification
requires individuals to exercise self-control over pressing impulses to partake of proximal rewards
(Tice, Bratslavsky, & Baumeister, 2001). Individuals who are unable to delay gratification may not
have the willpower needed to successfully work toward even poorly constructed self-management
goals. Mental representations of deferred goals and rewards make it possible for individuals to
summons the willpower to delay gratification (Mischel & Ayduk, 2004). If individuals who are unable
to delay gratification do not set deferred personal goals or establish vague unchallenging deferred
personal goals, then these individuals likely do not have clear mental representations of personal goals
that are necessary for supporting the willpower needed to avoid succumbing to impulses to consume
immediate rewards/pleasures.
H3: Inability to delay gratification will be negatively related to personal goal setting (H3a) and
operating (H3b).
Procrastination
We expect procrastination to undermine all three self-management practices. Procrastination is
commonly associated with a failure to break large projects into manageable units, which suggests that
individuals who procrastinate may not set effective personal goals for completing subparts of large
long-term pursuits (Baumeister et al., 1994). Although some individuals can perform well after
procrastinating, studies indicate that procrastination is negatively related to performance, and
contributes to performance errors and failure to complete crucial tasks (Ferrari, 2001; Lay &
Schouwenburg, 1993; Steel, 2007; Steel et al., 2001; Tice & Baumeister, 1997). In addition, those who
procrastinate often feel overwhelmed by large projects and/or approaching deadlines. This can create
anxiety that, in turn, distracts individuals from monitoring behavior against personal goals and
operating on the self or the environment (Wolters, 2003). There is also evidence that procrastination can
lead to poor mood, emotional distress, and self-blame during the remaining time period an individual
has to complete the task, which may also hinder effective monitoring and operating (Steel, 2007).
H4: Procrastination will be negatively related to personal goal setting (H4a), monitoring (H4b), and
operating (H4c).
Emotional self-absorption
Emotional self-absorption involves excessive self-focus. To be sure, moderate amounts of self-focus
can enhance self-regulation by directing conscious attention toward inner states (Carver & Scheier,
2000). However, extreme self-focus can be counterproductive, especially when conscious attention is
fixed on negative expectancies or aversive emotions (Ingram, 1990). Excessive self-absorption with
emotional distress, past mistakes, and/or self-dissatisfaction can lead to behavioral dysfunction,
performance impairment, depression, and substance abuse (Pyszczynski, Greenberg, Hamilton, & Nix,
1991). This self-defeating behavior may affect monitoring as well as the likelihood of engaging in
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30 R. RENN ET AL.
procrastination. While monitoring behavior during self-management, individuals must periodically
direct conscious attention to the self and compare their present state with the desired standard (Carver
& Scheier, 2000). This facilitates identification of discrepancies between the two and feeds the operating
phase of self-management. However, individuals have limited attentional resources to allocate to
monitoring their behavior (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989). When individuals misallocate a disproportional
amount of limited attentional resources to other activities, such as emotional self-absorption, this may
interfere with making periodic behavior-goal comparisons and thus the quality of behavior monitoring
may decline. Misallocation of attentional resources may also contribute to procrastination. Studies
indicate that devoting too much attention to negative emotions and to managing emotional distress are
commonly associated with procrastination (Baumeister & Heatherton, 1996).
H5: Emotional self-absorption will be negatively related to monitoring (H5a) and positively related
to procrastination (H5b).
Alternative models
Consistent with Renn et al. (2005), our model posits that the influence of personality on self-
management failure is primarily through more direct effects on self-defeating behavior. However, Renn
et al. did not hypothesize that self-defeating behavior fully accounted for the relationship between
personality and self-management failure and suggested that plausible alternative arguments could be
made for personality also having direct effects on self-management failure. As noted, previous studies
indicate that neuroticism and conscientiousness are related to constructs similar to self-management
practices (e.g., Barrick et al., 1993; Gerhardt et al., 2007; Hurtz & Donovan, 2000; Judge & Illies,
2002), although none has tested the possibility that self-defeating behavior mediates these
relationships. Therefore, we compare our proposed model with several a priori alternative models
that include direct paths from neuroticism and conscientiousness to personal goals, monitoring, and
operating. In addition, Baumeister (1997) argued that self-regulation failure contributes to self-
defeating behavior. Consequently, we compare our model to an alternative structural model where self-
management, a technique for enhancing self-regulation, mediates the relationship between personality
and self-defeating behavior.
Method
Participants and procedures
Participants were 298 full-time counselors (62 per cent) and teachers (38 per cent) of a nonprofit agency
in the southeastern U.S.A. that provided child and family counseling, residential treatment and
education for adolescents, and adoption services. Sixty per cent of the participants were women. The
mean age of the sample was 30 years, and the mean job tenure was two years (SD ¼3.1 years). Seventy
percent of the participants held bachelor degrees, 17 per cent held graduate degrees, and 13 per cent
held at least associate or high school degrees. Participation was voluntary and no incentive was
provided for participation. The participants were using self-management in the performance of their
jobs. However, the present researchers did not train the participants in self-management. Rather the
participants learned self-management practices during a training period in the initial days of
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SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 31
employment. Consequently, the present study examines the relationship among personality, self-
defeating behavior, and self-management in progress.
Working with the organization’s director of performance improvement, the researchers scheduled
several large group meetings with participants over a four week period. All non-managerial employees
present for work on the day of the meetings were assembled in large rooms and told by a representative
of the organization that they had an opportunity to participate in the study. The researchers briefly
explained the study, notified the employees that their participation was voluntary, and told the
employees that no penalty would be imposed on those who chose not to participate. The researchers
distributed a survey instrument containing a cover letter and the measurement scales. We asked
employees to read the cover letter, which provided a brief background of the study, an endorsement by
the participating organization, and written assurance that their responses were confidential and for
research purposes only. The researchers verbally described the care that would be taken to protect the
confidentially of their responses. Of the 298 participants who received surveys, 286 (96 per cent)
provided fully completed surveys.
Measures
Personality
Neuroticism and conscientiousness were measured with the NEO Five-Factor Inventory (Costa &
McCrae, 1992). Neuroticism was measured as the sum of 12 items that represent four lower-level traits
of depression, anxiety, self-consciousness, and vulnerability (a¼0.80). Conscientiousness was
measured as the sum of 12 items that represent four lower-level traits of achievement striving, order,
self-discipline, and dutifulness (a¼0.84). Although neuroticism and conscientiousness encompass
lower-level traits, the analyses did not distinguish among the lower-level traits. Participants rated their
agreement with the 24 items with a 5-point Likert-type response scale (1 ¼‘‘Strongly disagree’’;
5¼‘‘Strongly agree’’).
Self-defeating behavior
Inability to delay gratification was measured as the mean of five items adapted from previous
studies (a¼0.85) (Funder & Block, 1989; Giner-Sorolla, 2001). See Table 1 for items. The items were
anchored to a five-point Likert-type response scale (1 ¼‘Strongly disagree’’; 5 ¼‘‘Strongly agree’’).
Procrastination was measured as the mean of five items adapted from form G of Lay’s procrastination
scale (a¼0.80) (Lay, 1986). Participants rated the items on a five-point Likert response scale
(1 ¼‘‘Describes me very well’’; 5 ¼‘Does not describe me at all’’). Emotional self-absorption was
measured as the mean of four-items adapted from the Rumination-Reflection Questionnaire (a¼0.80)
(Trapnell & Campbell, 1999). Participants rated the items on a five-point Likert-type response scale
(1 ¼‘‘Describes me very well’’; 5 ¼‘‘Does not describe me at all’’).
Self-management failure
Self-management failure was defined as ineffective performance or coordination of personal goal
setting, monitoring, or operating. Personal goal setting was measured as the mean of four items adapted
from the Revised Self-Leadership Questionnaire (a¼0.72) (Houghton & Neck, 2002). Refer Table 2
for items. Monitoring was measured as the mean of four items also adapted from the Revised Self-
Leadership Questionnaire (a¼0.70). Operating on self was measured as the mean of three items
adapted from the Brief Self-Report Scale of Self-Management Practices (a¼71) (Williams, Moore,
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32 R. RENN ET AL.
Pettibone, & Thomas, 1992). Participants rated the 11 items on a five-point Likert-type scale
(1 ¼‘‘Describes me very well’’; 5 ¼‘‘Does not describe me at all’’). Quality of self-management was
judged by the extent to which respondents reported that these three practices described their behavior.
Stronger agreement with the items represented more effective self-management.
Results
Confirmatory factor analyses
Before testing the hypotheses, two confirmatory factor analyses were performed with AMOS 7.0. First,
an eight-factor full measurement model was tested that freed the paths from each item to its respective
latent construct (Anderson & Gerbing, 1988). The full measurement model provided an acceptable fit
to the data: x
2
(436) ¼669.30; x
2
/df ¼1.54; NFI ¼0.84; TLI ¼0.92; CFI ¼0.94; RMSEA ¼0.043
(Hu & Bentler, 1999). Because measures of self-defeating behavior and self-management practices
were adapted or developed for the present study, the factor loadings and t-values for these items are
reported in Tables 1 and 2. As can be seen in Tables 1 and 2, all items had statistically significant
loadings on their specified factors (i.e., t-values >2.0). The item loading of one self-monitoring item
indicated that less than 25 per cent of the item variance was accounted for by its respective factor. Thus,
Table 1. Results of confirmatory factor analysis of self-defeating behavior measures
a
Items
Factors
123
Inability to delay gratification
I get more fulfillment from items I have to wait for. (R) 0.75
Things you have to wait for are the most worthwhile. (R) 0.88
A distant reward is usually more satisfying than an immediate one. (R) 0.68
The best things in life are those you have to wait for. (R) 0.79
The only way to get anything worthwhile is to save for it. (R) 0.54
Procrastination
I often find myself performing tasks I had intended to do days before. (R) 0.63
I generally delay on starting work I have to do. (R) 0.69
In preparing for some deadlines, I often waste time doing other things. (R) 0.84
I always seem to end up shopping for a birthday or Christmas gift at the last minute. (R) 0.62
When traveling, I usually have to rush in preparing to arrive at the airport or station on
time. (R)
0.60
Emotional self-absorption
My attention is often focused on aspects of myself I wish I’d stop thinking about. (R) 0.70
I always seem to be rehashing in my mind recent things I’ve said or done. (R) 0.70
Sometimes it’s hard for me to shut off thoughts about myself. (R) 0.79
I tend to ‘‘ruminate’’ or dwell over things that happened to me for a really long time
afterward. (R)
0.64
a
Item loadings are standardized maximum likelihood estimates. All loadings are significant beyond p<0.01. (R) ¼reverse-
scored.
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SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 33
it was excluded from the structural models’ analyses (Dillon & Goldstein, 1984). Second, a Harman’s
single-factor test for common-method variance was conducted (Podsakoff, Mackenzie, Lee, &
Podsakoff, 2003). The single-factor model, which freed the paths from all items to one latent construct,
produced poor fit indexes: x
2
(471) ¼3114.70; x
2
/df ¼6.6; NFI ¼0.25; TLI ¼0.19; CFI ¼0.27;
RMSEA ¼0.14.
Descriptive statistics and correlations
Table 3 depicts the means, standard deviations, and zero-order Pearson correlations among all
variables. Neuroticism is significantly correlated with emotional absorption but not with inability to
delay gratification. Conscientiousness is significantly correlated with inability to delay gratification and
procrastination. Inability to delay gratification is significantly correlated with goal setting but not
operating. Procrastination is significantly correlated with all three self-management practices.
Emotional self-absorption is significantly correlated with monitoring, operating, and procrastination.
The presence of several small non-significant correlations and the results of the Harman’s single-factor
test suggest that common method bias is not causing the measures to be artificially related to each other
(Spector, 2006).
Structural model estimation and hypotheses
The proposed model was subjected to structural equation analysis using AMOS 7.0. The disturbance
terms of the three latent self-management variables were allowed to covary in order to account for
noncausal associations among the practices due to common measurement method (Kline, 2005). The
hypothesized fully mediated model provided acceptable fit indexes: (x
2
[419] ¼621; x
2
/df ¼1.49;
NFI ¼0.85; TLI ¼0.94; CFI ¼0.95; RMSEA ¼0.04). All hypothesized paths were statistically
Table 2. Results of confirmatory factor analysis of self-management measures
a
Items
Factors
123
Personal goal setting
I set specific goals for myself at work. 0.87
I establish challenging goals for myself at work. 0.88
I clearly define goals for myself at work. 0.68
When possible I make my work goals measurable. 0.79
Monitoring
I monitor my progress on work goals. 0.87
I evaluate my daily activities as they relate to my work goals. 0.82
My day is too unpredictable to keep up with my work goals. (R) 0.43
b
I usually am aware of how well I’m doing on my work goals. 0.61
Operating
I translate my work goals into action. 0.82
I follow through with achieving my work goals. 0.79
When it comes to my work goals, action speaks louder than words. 0.56
a
Item loadings are standardized maximum likelihood estimates. All loadings are significant beyond p<0.01. (R) ¼reverse-
scored.
b
Item excluded from structural models analyses.
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34 R. RENN ET AL.
significant in the expected direction except the paths from neuroticism to inability to delay gratification
and from inability to delay gratification to operating.
Despite an acceptable fit of the hypothesized model, we compared this model via x
2
difference
tests with the series of a priori nested alternative models discussed earlier that each specified a
single direct path from a personality construct to a self-management practice. The first alternative
model freed only the path from neuroticism to personal goal setting. Successive alternative models
freed one path at a time between neuroticism and conscientiousness and each of the self-management
practices. Three of the additional paths did not significantly improve model fit: From neuroticism
to monitoring, from conscientiousness to personal goal setting, and from conscientiousness to
monitoring. Three of the additional paths did significantly improve model fit: From neuroticism to
personal goal setting, from neuroticism to operating, and from conscientiousness to operating.
However, when we estimated the revised model that incorporated all three of these additional paths,
the only statistically significant parameter estimate was the direct path from conscientiousness to
operating. These results indicate that the paths from neuroticism to personal goal setting and
operating do not improve model fit when the direct effect of conscientiousness on operating is
controlled (Pedhazur, 1997).
The alternative model that included the direct path from conscientiousness to operating produced
acceptable fit indexes: (x
2
[418] ¼603; x
2
/df ¼1.44; NFI ¼0.86; TLI ¼0.94; CFI ¼0.95;
RMSEA ¼0.03). A x
2
difference test indicated that this model provided a statistically significant
better fit to the data than the fully mediated model: Dx
2
(1, N¼286) ¼18, p<0.01. The parameter
estimates for this model indicated that conscientiousness was significantly positively related to
operating. All other paths remained the same in terms of significance and direction, and practically
identical in terms of parameter magnitude except the path from procrastination to operating became
smaller (from 0.43 to 0.23) when the direct path from conscientiousness to operating was
included. Therefore, we retained the model that included the direct path from conscientiousness to
operating as the final model and depicted this model’s statistically significant parameter estimates in
Figure 2.
Personality and self-defeating behavior
As can be seen in Figure 2, neuroticism is significantly positively related to emotional self-absorption
(0.74) supporting H1b. However, it was not significantly related to inability to delay gratification
(0.17, p<0.08), thus H1a is not supported. Conscientiousness is significantly negatively related to
inability to delay gratification (0.28) and to procrastination (0.58), supporting H2a,b. These
results provide support for the notion that high neuroticism and low conscientiousness are associated
Table 3. Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations for all variables
Variable M SD 12345678
1. Neuroticism 29.39 5.59
2. Conscientiousness 41.95 4.27 0.46
3. Inability to delay 3.49 0.90 0.01 0.13
4. Procrastination 2.42 0.83 0.45 0.56 0.10
5. Emotional absorption 3.49 0.89 0.61 0.33 0.02 0.45
6. Personal goal setting 2.12 0.79 0.06 0.29 0.13 0.22 0.11
7. Monitoring 2.33 0.67 0.19 0.46 0.12 0.36 0.16 0.55
8. Operating 1.96 0.61 0.34 0.56 0.05 0.41 0.31 0.59 0.66
Note: Correlations above 0.11 are significant at the 0.05 level; those above 0.15 are significant at the 0.01 level. N¼286.
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SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 35
with self-defeating behavior, except for the association between neuroticism and inability to delay
gratification.
Self-defeating behavior and self-management practices
Inability to delay gratification is significantly negatively related to personal goal setting (0.16) but not
statistically significantly related to operating (0.08, p<0.13). These results provide support for H3a but
not for H3b. Procrastination is significantly negatively related to personal goal setting (0.35),
monitoring (0.52), and operating (0.23), supporting H4a–c. Emotional self-absorption is
significantly negatively related to monitoring (0.17) and significantly positively related to
procrastination (0.34), supporting H5a,b. These results provide general support for the notion that self-
defeating behavior is associated with improper self-management.
We examined the estimates of direct and indirect effects of neuroticism and conscientiousness on the
three self-management practices. As can be seen in Table 4, neuroticism had indirect effects only on
goal setting and operating. Conscientiousness had indirect effects on goal setting and monitoring, and
direct and indirect effects on operating. Sobel tests indicated that all indirect effects were statistically
significant at or beyond p<0.05 except the indirect effect of neuroticism on personal goal setting via
inability to delay gratification, which had a t-value ¼1.43, p<0.152.
We estimated two additional structural models to further examine the relationships among
neuroticism and conscientiousness, self-defeating behavior, and self-management. The first, described
under a priori alternative models, examined the mediating role of self-management practices between
neuroticism and conscientiousness and self-defeating behavior. In this alternative model the freed
structural paths were identical to those specified in the final model except the three self-management
Table 4. Total, direct, and indirect effects of conscientiousness and neuroticism on self-management practices
Goal setting Monitoring Operating
T.E. D.E. I.E. T.E. D.E. I.E. T.E. D.E. I.E.
1. Conscientiousness 0.26 0.00 0.26 0.32 0.00 0.32 0.39 0.29 0.10
2. Neuroticism 0.05 0.00 0.05 0.03 0.00 0.03 0.13 0.00 0.13
Note: T. E., total effects; D. E., direct effects; I. E., indirect effect.
Figure 2. Path estimates of final model.
Note: All standardized maximum likelihood path estimates are significant at or above p<0.05 except the estimate
from neuroticism to inability to delay gratification ( p<0.10). Dashed line used to indicate the non-hypothesized
direct path from conscientiousness to operating
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DOI: 10.1002/job
36 R. RENN ET AL.
practices mediated the relationship between neuroticism and conscientiousness and self-defeating
behaviors. This model did not fit the data as well as the final model: (x
2
[418] ¼742; x
2
/df ¼1.78;
NFI ¼0.82; TLI ¼0.91; CFI ¼0.91; RMSEA ¼0.06).
The other alternative model freed additional non-hypothesized paths between the three self-
defeating behaviors and all three self-management practices.
1
For example, the paths between inability
to delay gratification and monitoring in addition to the hypothesized paths between inability to delay
gratification and goal setting and operating were estimated. The two additional non-hypothesized paths
between emotional self-absorption and goal setting and operating were also freed. A x
2
difference test
indicated that this model did not fit the data as well as the final model Dx
2
(2, N¼286) ¼16, p>0.05.
Thus, the final model fit the data better than both alternative structural models. Combined, these results
indicate that neuroticism’s relationship with the self-management practices appears to be fully
accounted for by two self-defeating behaviors. On the other hand, the relationship between
conscientiousness and the self-management practices appears to be partially accounted for by self-
defeating behaviors, as this personality construct is also directly related to operating.
Discussion
Self-management failure in the workplace is an important and relatively unexplored phenomenon. To
promote organizational research on the phenomenon, Renn et al. (2005) proposed the individual-level
personality-based theory of self-management failure. The present field study, based on data collected
from 286 employees with ample opportunity to self-manage in a work context, is the first partial test of
the theory. Results supported nine of 11 theory-derived hypotheses. As hypothesized, high neuroticism
positively related to improper personal goal setting, monitoring, and operating; and emotional self-
absorption and procrastination accounted for these relationships. Low conscientiousness was
associated with ineffective performance of all three self-management practices; and inability to delay
gratification and procrastination partially accounted for these relationships. These findings suggest that
high neuroticism and low conscientiousness may be associated with self-management failure and that
inability to delay gratification, procrastination, and emotional self-absorption may aid understanding of
why the two personality dimensions relate to improper self-management. The present study appears to
provide encouraging initial support for the theory and broadens conceptual knowledge of self-
management failure at work.
The study provides insight into the relationship among neuroticism, conscientiousness, and improper
self-management in a work setting. First, high neuroticism was indirectly related to self-management
failure. Results indicate that emotional self-absorption and procrastination appear to explain why high
neuroticism contributes to poor performance of all three self-management practices. With respect to
monitoring, the results are consistent with the contention that high neuroticism employees may not
effectively monitor their behavior because excessive self-concern diverts limited attentional resources
away from periodically comparing their behavior to personal work goals (Kanfer & Ackerman, 1989).
Research indicates that poor monitoring of behavior against personal goals is an antecedent of self-
management failure in clinical settings (Kirschenbaum, 1987). The results also indicate that emotional
self-absorption combines with procrastination to further understanding of why high neuroticism
employees appear not to effectively self-manage at work. Specifically, it seems that highly anxious,
vulnerable, and depressed employees may be prone to excessive self-focus that not only distracts them
1
Suggested by a reviewer.
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DOI: 10.1002/job
SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 37
from monitoring their behavior but also contributes to procrastination, a self-defeating behavior that
negatively related to all three self-management practices.
Second, low conscientiousness related indirectly and directly to poor performance of all three self-
management practices. Regarding indirect associations, the results indicate that inability to delay
gratification and procrastination fully account for the relationship between low conscientiousness and
personal goal setting and monitoring and partially account for the relationship between low
conscientiousness and operating. Results for the intervening role of inability to delay gratification
are consistent with our reasoning that weak self-discipline and careless deliberation indicative of low
conscientiousness may contribute to the inability to delay gratification, and that individuals whose
personalities predispose them to succumbing to impulses to consume immediate rewards may not
establish effective self-management goals. It is logical to postulate that low conscientiousness
employees may not establish specific challenging self-management goals because they lack confidence
in their ability to wait for the distal rewards associated with deferred self-management goals (Bandura,
1997; Mischel & Ayduk, 2004).
The finding for procrastination suggests that low conscientiousness individuals may improperly self-
manage due to delaying performance of all three self-management practices. Previous studies suggest
that putting off personal goal setting, monitoring, and operating until the last minute ought to
undermine the quality of these self-management practices (Baumeister et al., 1994; Steel, 2007). It is
important for us to note that the explanatory role of self-defeating behavior in the relationship between
low conscientiousness and high neuroticism and self-management failure requires further investigation
before any firm conclusions should be drawn because the present results could be unique to our sample,
organizational context, and the tasks employees performed. Low conscientiousness also directly
related to ineffective operating in addition to its indirect association with this self-management
practice. We speculate that, due to their low achievement striving, individuals who score at the low end
of this personality dimension may not only procrastinate on operating but may also lack the fortitude
needed to follow through on this self-management practice even when they finally begin it.
Theoretical implications
The primary theoretical significance of this study is its bearing on the proposed theory of self-
management failure. Self-management failure appears to be common in clinical settings, and our data
indicated that approximately 33 per cent of the respondent employees reported self-management
failure at work. The individual-level personality-based theory provides an understanding of this
phenomenon that complements existing explanations by incorporating multiple personality dimensions
(e.g., Big-Five, self-esteem, locus of control, generalized self-efficacy) and self-defeating
behaviors and by linking them to separate self-management practices of personal goal setting,
monitoring and operating. The theory facilitates fine-grained analysis of how certain personality traits
may contribute to self-management failure that is not provided by existing theories. The theory can
guide organization scholars in selecting and studying other personality traits and self-defeating
behaviors that may be related to improper self-management. For example, the theory proposes that low
self-esteem may be associated with flawed self-assessment that, in turn, leads to dysfunctional personal
goals (Ashford, 1989; Renn et al., 2005).
The present findings are relevant for theorizing about personality traits in the workplace. The
correlation analysis indicated that neuroticism was positively and significantly related to
procrastination (r¼0.45, p<0.01). However, this bivariate relationship vanished when conscientious-
ness was controlled in the structural equation analysis, suggesting that conscientiousness is a superior
predictor of procrastination than neuroticism (Steel, 2007). Further, our results indicated that
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38 R. RENN ET AL.
neuroticism had an indirect relationship with procrastination via emotional self-absorption. This
highlights the need for personality researchers to include multiple theoretically relevant traits in
empirical studies in order to untangle and clarify the complicated relationship between personality
traits and work-related behaviors (Witt, Burke, Barrick, & Mount, 2002). Our findings may also help
further understanding of the negative relationship between neuroticism and performance-related
criteria (Hurtz & Donovan, 2000; Judge & Bono, 2001b). Our results allow us to speculate that self-
defeating behavior and poor self-management may help explain neuroticism’s negative relationship
with performance criteria (Judge & Illies, 2002).
Limitations and future research
Because of its cross-sectional design, our study does not permit causal interpretations of the obvious
dynamic relationship that exists among personality, self-defeating behavior, and self-management
failure. Consequently, we were careful not to advance firm conclusions regarding the mediating role of
self-defeating behavior between personality and self-management failure. Such conclusions must
await future studies that permit analysis of the causal ordering of these constructs. We obtained all
measures from surveys and the same source, which makes common method bias a concern. However,
the results of the Harman’s single-factor test and analysis of the bivariate correlations both indicated
that common-method variance did not appear to undermine the present results (Spector, 2006).
Nevertheless, we encourage researchers to use other sources (e.g., supervisors) to collect measures of
the theories constructs in future studies, especially of self-defeating behavior, which respondents may
tend to underreport.
The individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure does not include
situational factors that may affect self-management in the workplace (Mischel, 1973). Theoreticians
have long proposed that social and structural features of the organizational context can affect self-
management (Manz, 1986; Mills, 1983). For instance, Mills (1983) hypothesizes that organizational
structure establishes a normative system of rules for expected behaviors that can enhance or depress
self-management. Tsui and Ashford’s (1994) adaptive self-regulation model proposes that supervisors,
peers, work design, and performance and reward systems may affect self-management. More recently,
Neck and Manz (2007) suggest that altering the organizational context by removing negative cues (e.g.,
turning off the audible alert for incoming emails) and increasing positive cues (e.g., spending more time
with admirable potential mentors) can enhance self-management. All of these models recognize that
self-management does not occur in a vacuum and that incorporating organizational context into
research is essential for advancing self-management theory and practice. Our initial test of the present
theory did not assess the social and structural features of organizations that may affect self-defeating
behavior and self-management. However, we encourage researchers to do so in futures studies.
Practical implications
Personality is the relatively stable set of psychological characteristics that determine how individuals
interact with the environment. In contrast, self-defeating behavior and self-management practices are
relatively less engrained individual differences that may be amenable to change through training
(Frayne & Geringer, 2000). Our results suggest that managers ought to be able to intervene in the self-
management failure process by educating employees about self-defeating behavior like procrastination
and by providing training that targets weaknesses in personal goal setting, monitoring, and operating
(Roberts, 1995; Stewart et al., 1996).
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SELF-MANAGEMENT FAILURE 39
Conclusion
Self-management failure appears to be a common phenomenon that may threaten employee
performance, especially in work designs grounded in worker independence. In an effort to assist
organization scholars in investigating this interesting and little understood phenomenon, we first
offered an individual-level personality-based theory of self-management failure. The partial test of a
model derived from this theory was encouraging, and we hope this motivates other scholars to use the
proposed theory to guide future research into why individuals do not always properly self-manage at
work.
Author biographies
Robert Renn (Ph.D., Georgia State University) is an Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior
at the Fogelman College of Business and Economics of the University of Memphis. His current
research focuses on self-defeating behavior and, more specifically, on antecedents of self-defeating
behavior and how such behavior undermines self-leadership and personal success. He teaches
organizational behavior in the undergraduate, MBA, and Ph.D. programs and recently developed
and now teaches self-leadership courses in the MBA and EMBA programs.
David Allen (Ph.D., Georgia State University) is an Associate Professor of Management in the
Fogelman College of Business and Economics, and First Tennessee Professor at the University of
Memphis. His primary research interests include the flow of people into and out of organizations (e.g.,
retention/turnover, recruitment). His research on these topics has been published in Academy of
Management Journal, Journal of Applied Psychology, Journal of Management, Journal of Organiz-
ational Behavior, Organizational Research Methods, Personnel Psychology, and other outlets, and he
serves on the editorial review boards for Journal of Management and Human Resource Management
Review.
Tobias M. Huning (Ph.D., University of Memphis) is an Assistant Professor of Management at the D.
Abbott Turner College of Business and Computer Science at Columbus State University. His primary
research interests include self-defeating work behavior, self-management, employee recruitment and
turnover. He has presented his work at the Academy of Management, Midwest Academy of Manage-
ment, Southwest Academy of Management, The North American Management Society for Industrial
and Organizational Psychology, and the Institute of Behavioral and Applied Management.
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... Self-management at workplace is about "planning, organizing and controlling [the employee's] own work activities" (Renn et al., 2011). Self-management practices are useful in enhancing the behavior that is desirable for the employees at workplace, and controlling the behavior that is undesirable and which may arise from impulses, innate habits and behavior learned due to upbringing. ...
... Thus, the employees own need or will to perform self-management is not enough; the support of the organization is needed in order to do that. Successful self-management can be very beneficial for organizations, as it can "enhance job satisfaction, attendance, self-efficacy, job performance, learning and career success", as well as "improve work behaviors such as learning, attendance and task performance" (Renn et al., 2011). Thus, introducing selfmanagement practices to workplaces can resolve many issues that organizations face nowadays. ...
... Self-management practices are of a great interest for organizations as they can provide a competitive advantage for them (Uhl-Bien & Graen, 1998). Self-management can cut costs by reducing the need for strong involvement of the supervisor, self-managing employees are more productive thus increasing the overall productivity of the company (Renn et al., 2011) and the organization can transform from a rigid, management-down structure to a flexible and adaptable organization because it trusts its employees to make valid suggestions and decisions. Selfmanagement is suited well for contemporary markets "because of its emphasis on employee commitment rather than on control-oriented approaches to management" (Uhl-Bien & Graen, 1998). ...
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Self-management practices are useful in enhancing the behavior that is desirable for the employees at workplace, and controlling the behavior that is undesirable and which may arise from impulses, innate habits and behavior learned due to upbringing. Self-management differentiates from management relying on strong supervisor involvement because it is conducted without the immediate presence of external control. Successful self-management can be very beneficial for organizations, as it can enhance job satisfaction, attendance, self-efficacy, job performance, learning and career success, as well as improve work behaviors such as learning, attendance and task performance. For employees, self-management at workplace means that they are responsible for determining approaches to task execution as well as monitoring and managing their own behaviors. This paper examines the impact of self-management competencies on employee effectiveness. It is conceptual in nature and thus adopts a desk research approach by reviewing extant literature. Keywords: Self-Management, Employee Effectiveness, Self-Regulation, Self-Leadership, Self-Awareness
... Personality General self-esteem and self-efficacy (e.g., confidence in the ability to run a business, manage a project, or cook a high-quality dish) are damaged by failure, but with other positive attributes and support from others, the actor will cope better with the emotional and other outcomes of failure (Bohns & Flynn, 2013;Renn et al., 2011). Those higher in negative affectivity (Kaplan et al., 2009;Sears et al., 2016) are prone to more intense negative emotions and moods. ...
... Positive affectivity and dispositional optimism, in contrast, may lead to different perceptions of instances of failure and more muted positive emotions. Renn et al. (2011) found that self-management failure was related to high neuroticism and lower conscientiousness. People high in perfectionism (Edwards & Ashkanasy, 2018) and those inclined to negative affect are likely to cope poorly when they confront failure. ...
... While looking for common threads of emotional reactions to failure, the unique context facing each actor cannot be ignored. Context includes individual differences (Renn et al., 2011), social mores (Wijaya & Heugens, 2018), cultural attitudes to job and venture failure (Singh et al., 2015), organizational and institutional attitudes to failure and emotional experience (Creed et al., 2014;Edwards & Ashkanasy, 2018;Gill & Burrow, 2018;Voronov & Vince, 2012), and the material and reputational consequences for the individuals concerned (Singh et al., 2015;Wiesenfeld et al., 2008). Context is also relevant to organizational crises triggered by pandemics (Donnan, 2020;Sargent, 2020;Stiglitz, 2020), economic malaise (Tourish & Hargie, 2012), and political (in)activity Sargent (2020). ...
... This study proposed the mediating role of self-management, reflecting the skills of people in self-observation that was developed and adapted to the organizational environment to improve the realization of the expected behaviors of employees (Frayne and Latham, 1987). The self-management of employees at the workplace refers to how employees can control their behavior without supervision (Breevaart et al., 2014), and it is a self-directed change technique that can enhance self-regulation through purposeful implementation (Renn et al., 2011). As the future work self represents the expectations of a person for work in the future, this may create a difference between the current self and the ideal self (Strauss et al., 2012). ...
... As a self-directed change technique, self-management strengthens self-regulation by purposefully implementing and coordinating personal goal setting, monitoring, and operation (Renn et al., 2011). Personal goal setting refers to setting goals to enhance desired behaviors (Frayne and Geringer, 2000). ...
... Monitoring means that the behavior of the target is regularly monitored and compared with individual improvement goals (Renn et al., 2011). Finally, individuals operate in their roles according to the dual situation of self and environment (Frayne and Geringer, 2000;Renn et al., 2011). ...
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... Employee procrastination was measured with five items adapted from form G of Lay's procrastination instrument [78] using a six-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (Does not describe me at all) to 6 (Describes me very well). These items were derived from Renn et al.'s instrument for self-defeating behavior [79]. An example item is "In preparing for some deadlines, I often waste time doing other things". ...
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... This effect directly follows from shortening the Delay variable in TMT (Steel and König, 2006;Steel and Weinhardt, 2018). For example, Renn et al. (2011) as well as Gröpel and Steel (2008) confirmed the negative relationship that procrastination has with goal setting, organizing and other forms of self-management. As a result, organized arbitrators are anticipated to have less Decision Time than those whose arbitration practice is more chaotic. ...
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We investigated the causes and impact of procrastination on “slippery deadlines,” where the due date is ill-defined and can be autonomously extended, using the unique applied setting of grievance arbitration across two studies. In Study One, using 3 years of observed performance data derived from Canadian arbitration cases and a survey of leading arbitrators, we examined the effect of individual differences, self-regulatory skills, workloads and task characteristics on time delay. Observed delay here is a critical criterion, where justice is emphasized to be swift and sure. Multilevel Modeling established trait procrastination as a substantive predictor of observed delay, equivalent to the environmental contributors of expediting the arbitration procedure or grievance complexity. Also, despite substantive negative consequence of delay for both arbitrators and their clients, arbitrators who scored one standard deviation above the mean in procrastination took approximately 83 days to write their decisions compared to the 26 days for arbitrators one standard deviation below the mean. In Study Two, we conducted a replication and extension survey with a much larger group of American arbitrators. Consistent with Temporal Motivation Theory (TMT), trait procrastination was largely explained by expectancy, value, and sensitivity to time related traits and skills, which together accounted for majority of the variance in trait procrastination, leaving little left for other explanations. For example, perfectionism connection to procrastination appears to be distal, being largely mediated by each of TMT’s core variables. Finally, procrastination was largely synonymous with a deadline pacing style, indicating that observed delay can be used as a proxy for procrastination as long as little or no prior work was done (e.g., a u-shaped pacing style is not synonymous). In all, our results indicate that procrastination is rampant in the workplace and has seriously detrimental effects.
... Neurotizmus je osobnostná črta, ktorá sa zaoberá individuálnymi rozdielmi v prispôsobovaní sa a v stabilite emócií (Zhao & Seibert, 2006). Jedinci s vysokou úrovňou neurotizmu zvyčajne zažívajú zvýšené negatívne vplyvy, úzkosť a nesmelosť (Renn, Allen & Huning, 2011). Osoby s vysokou úrovňou neurotizmus sa zvyčajne nestávajú prirodzenými vodcami kvôli svojej neschopnosti prispôsobiť svoje emócie. ...
... Like other habitual behavior, selfdefeating habitual behavior is repetitive and automatically triggered by cues from the work context. Renn et al. (2018) argued that organizational research on self-defeating behavior largely relied on dispositional approaches (Renn et al., 2011). Our study that focuses on day-to-day fluctuations of habitual behavior and examines day-specific predictors of these fluctuations overcomes this dispositional perspective and promises insights into more malleable proximal factors that help individuals to refrain from habitual self-defeating behaviors at work. ...
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Although habits are a well-researched topic within psychology, habits enacted at the workplace received limited attention in the organizational literature. In this article we examine habits that employees show at the workplace. Because workplace habits are not always functional for performance or affective outcomes, and because employees themselves may regard specific habits as undesirable, it is important to identify ways of how employees can abandon such unwanted habits. We report findings from a daily-survey study (N = 145 persons) in which we examined if self-regulatory processes predict disengagement from undesirable habits and engagement in more desirable alternative behaviors. Multilevel path analysis showed that day-specific implementation intentions and day-specific vigilant monitoring were negatively related to day-specific habitual behavior and positively related to day-specific alternative behaviors, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Analysis of follow-up data (N = 126 persons) showed that change in habit strength was stable over a 2-month period, suggesting that implementation intentions, vigilant monitoring, and the associated enactment of alternative behavior indeed may help to disengage from unwanted habits, particularly with respect to task-related habits and when consistency in vigilant monitoring is high. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... Furthermore, those low in conscientiousness tend to approach their work and concern for others in a less trustworthy manner (Moon, 2001). Furthermore, extant research has shown that they tend to procrastinate and have weaker self-discipline when it comes to fulfilling work responsibilities (Renn, Allen, & Huning, 2011;Steel, 2007). In challenging situations, Mawritz, Dust, and Resick (2014a) found that high levels of supervisor conscientiousness weakened the positive relationship between hostile work environments and abusive supervision. ...
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Research on emotional exhaustion demonstrates its consistent effect on workplace performance. In an effort to extend the literature regarding the relationship between emotional exhaustion and workplace performance, we draw on conservation of resource (COR) theory to explain and establish the relationship between supervisor emotional exhaustion and goal-focused leader behavior (i.e., a critical aspect of job performance for supervisors). Goal-focused leader behavior entails helping employees by facilitating performance via strategically using policies and practices to effectively communicate organizational goals and align employees’ efforts with these goals. We also integrate bottom-line mentality (BLM) theorizing to explain why a relationship exists between supervisor emotional exhaustion and supervisor BLM as it represents a problematic and dysfunctional mentality. Specifically, we propose supervisor BLM mediates the relationship between supervisor emotional exhaustion and goal-focused leader behavior. We also examine the moderating influence of supervisor conscientiousness on this mediated relationship. We examine these relationships in a multi-source field study and find support for our proposed moderated mediation model. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
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Using activation theory, this study explores the possibility of an inverted U-shaped association between abusive supervision and subordinates’ performance in India, characterized by a hierarchical culture. Our first study examined the role of subordinates' conscientiousness as a moderator in this curvilinear relationship. Hierarchical regression analysis results illustrate that subordinates’ conscientiousness moderates the curvilinear effects such that these effects remained when conscientiousness was high but were rendered insignificant when conscientiousness was low. We conducted a second study to investigate the driver of these curvilinear effects. We found that subordinates’ attentiveness partially mediates the curvilinear effects of abusive supervision on job performance. Across both studies, multi-source data was collected from full-time employees and their immediate supervisors across different time points. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
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A recent review of the literature on the role of self-focused attention in psychological dysfunction (R. E. Ingram, 1990) is critically examined. This article (1) reexamines the evidence relevant to Ingram's proposal that self-awareness is a nonspecific factor involved in virtually all forms of psychopathology and argues that this conclusion is not warranted by the existing evidence; (2) takes issue with his premise that the fact that self-awareness is associated with a variety of psychological dysfunctions poses a conceptual dilemma; (3) corrects several important inaccuracies and mischaracterizations in his presentation of C. S. Carver and M. F. Scheier's (1981) cybernetic control theory and T. Pyszczynski and J. Greenberg's (1987) self-regulatory perseveration theory; and (4) critiques the "self-absorption" model that he proposed as an alternative to extant theories and concludes that this conceptualization does not add to the understanding of either self-awareness processes or psychopathology.
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Do self-control situations pit controlled reason against impulsive emotion, or do some emotions support the controlled choice? A pilot study of self-control attitudes found ambivalence between hedonic affect associated with short-term perspectives and self-conscious affect associated with the long term. In Study 1, negative self-conscious affect accompanied higher self-control among delayed-cost dilemmas ("guilty pleasures") but not delayed-benefit dilemmas ("grim necessities"). Study 2 showed that hedonic affect was more accessible than was self-conscious affect, but this difference was less among high self-control dilemmas. In Study 3. unobtrusively primed self-conscious emotion words caused dieters to eat less if the emotions were negative, more if positive. Hedonic positive and negative emotion words had the opposite effect. Self-conscious emotional associations, then, can support self-control if brought to mind before the chance to act.